WASHINGTON (CBSDC)– Over 50 U.S. Central Command intelligence agents say they believe their reports on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have been altered to portray the war against terrorism is more successful than it is, according to the Daily Beast and CBS News.
Several intelligence analysts have complained to the Pentagon regarding their concerns. Two senior analysts filed a report in July after internal complaints were ignored for months, according to The Daily Beast report. Some who complained of the allegations were reportedly pressured to retire, while others left. Fifty other officials support the formal claims asking to look into the matter.
Since the report was filed, the inspector general has opened an investigation to further examine whether intelligence reports are being manipulated. Some of the data in question had made it’s way to the president. The most alarming complaint is that senior officials have been editing the reports to better align with the Obama administration’s goal of a successful war on ISIS. Analysts say some of their conclusions were altered because key pieces of intelligence were removed from the reports.
“The cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command,” one defense official told The Daily Beast.
Officials note that reports of this nature are ultimately taken into consideration by military leadership and key advisers.
“The Intelligence Community routinely provides a wide range of subjective assessments related to the current security environment. These products and the analysis that they present are absolutely vital to our efforts, particularly given the incredibly complex nature of the multi-front fights that are ongoing now in Iraq and Syria,” CENTCOM spokesman Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder told the Daily Beast, noting he couldn’t comment on this particular case.
CBS News Senior National Security Contributor Michael Morell, the former deputy director of the CIA, says if the claims are true that “somebody needs to lose their job over it.”
“One of the central tenets, one of the key aspects of the policy-making process in the United States, is that analysts get to say what they think without any interference, without anybody changing it, so this is a very, very serious charge,” he said on “CBS This Morning” Thursday. “I think it needs to be fully investigated.”