House panel finds US military compelled intel analysts to downplay ISIS threat – report

© Lucy Pemony
US military officials pressured lower-level analysts to downplay threats from Islamic State and Al-Qaeda in an intelligence report, a House Republican task force has found, sources told the Daily Beast.

Three “officials familiar with the task force’s findings” have told the Beast that the nearly 10-page report is going to confirm last year’s complaints by dozens of intelligence analysts that their reports were changed by CENTCOM higher-ups. 

The accusations prompted the Pentagon’s inspector-general to launch a probe into an alleged cover-up of the US military’s failures in order to paint a more optimistic picture than was warranted by the facts on the ground.

However, the report that is expected to be released next week contains no evidence that senior Obama administration officials ordered the findings on Islamic State and Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria to be altered, the Beast said.

“The investigation is ongoing but the report substantiates the claims,” one of the unnamed House Republican task force officials told the news outlet.

Another official has added that the probe might remain open even after the report on the allegations is revealed.

The Daily Beast has stressed that despite the findings, the House committee is not capable of directly punishing officials behind the alleged actions, but US Central Command (CENTCOM) may still face consequences from lawmakers.

CENTCOM officials have refused to comment on the Daily Beast’s findings, saying that they have yet to receive the House panel’s findings.

At the same time, there is also a separate report currently in the works. The Department of Defense Inspector-General is conducting a probe into the claims and is expected to release its findings some time this fall, the Daily Beast also reported.

However, it says, there are concerns that it would not be as detailed as the expected report by the House Republican Task Force, because the head of CENTCOM’s intelligence directorate, Maj. Gen. Steven Grove, and his civilian deputy, Gregory Ryckman, had deleted emails and files from computer systems before the inspector general could examine them.

Since the allegations were made, Grove has been relocated from CENTCOM’s intelligence directorate to the Pentagon, where he is currently sits as director of the Army Quadrennial Defense Review Office.