US Congressmen Mike Pompeo Says CENTCOM Senior Leaders Manipulated Intelligence, Issues Official Report

Republican House Representative Mike Pompeo has released a preliminary Joint Task Force report suggesting that “Central Command’s most senior intelligence leaders manipulated the command’s intelligence products to downplay the threat from ISIS.”

The “unclassified” report is called Initial Findings of the U.S. House of Representative Joint Task Force on U.S Central command Intelligence Analysis [PDF].

Mike Pompeo told The Blaze that the Obama administration was “manipulating the data and cooking the books.”

The congressman issued a press release.

WICHITA, KS – Congressman Mike Pompeo (KS-04) commented on today’s report from a congressional joint task force investigating allegations of intelligence manipulation at U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) regarding the fight against ISIS. This report comes after a several months investigation by the task force, which was comprised of Congressman Pompeo, Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA).

“After months of investigation, this much is very clear: from the middle of 2014 to the middle of 2015, U.S. Central Command’s most senior intelligence leaders manipulated the command’s intelligence products to downplay the threat from ISIS in Iraq. The result: consumers of those intelligence products were provided a consistently ‘rosy’ view of U.S. operational success against ISIS. That may well have resulted in putting American troops at risk as policymakers relied on this intelligence when formulating policy and allocating resources for the fight.

“The cultural breakdown in Central Command’s intelligence process resulted from an administration-wide understanding that bad news from Iraq and Syria was not welcomed. Claims that ISIS was the ‘JV team’ and that al-Qaeda was ‘on the run’ were both a result—and a cause—of the politicization of intelligence at CENTCOM. This intelligence manipulation provided space for both ISIS and al-Qaeda to grow and it put America at risk.

“Intelligence products always contain some level of uncertainty. But during this period, nearly every error was in one direction: downplaying the threat from radical Islamic terror consistent with the administration’s narrative that this threat was not significant. I urge the Department of Defense Inspector General to hold accountable the intelligence leaders that failed our service members fighting our wars on the ground.”

There does not appear to be any smoking gun in the interim report. The most damaging information was that “senior intelligence staff, violated regulations, tradecraft standards, and professional ethics by modifying intelligence assessments to present an unduly positive outlook.” There were claims that “changes only appeared to be made in a more optimistic direction.” The report relied upon surveys and interviews, with none of the participants named. Mike Pompeo and the Joint Task Force became “troubled” by these complaints.

In the onerous 15-page report, despite colorful adjectives, there was a single concrete example of this “softening” of intelligence:

In February 2015, the Director of the DIA stated that “defeats of the Iraqi Security Forces and the collapse of multiple army divisions highlight large-scale institutional deficiencies” and in March 2015 the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency stated that “ISIL is well-armed and well-financed. Its fighters are disciplined, committed, and battle hardened…[and ISIL] will not be rolled back overnight.”

Maybe the final report will reveal something outrageous. Or maybe this press release will join the long list of similar items in his partisan campaign against Democrats. Time will tell.