U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) has provided a more “positive depiction” of the fight against Daesh than realities on the ground in 2014 and 2015, an initial congressional report said Thursday.
A congressional Joint Task Force (JTF) described CENTCOM’s analysis of the U.S. efforts to train Iraqi forces and combat Daesh in Iraq and Syria from mid-2014 until mid-2015 as “manipulating” and causing “persistent problems” with personnel, including “leadership deficiencies” that “resulted in widespread dissatisfaction among CENTCOM analysts who felt their superiors were distorting their products,” the initial report’s press release said.
Central Command’s senior leaders were more involved in the routine edits of assessments of intelligence that contributed to hampering “the pace of output and led to delays in the review and production of many intelligence products,” the report said.
“Analysts were waiting in line for a substantial period of time for senior leadership feedback before products were able to be released,”it added.
CENTCOM is the central command based in Florida, which runs the U.S. military operations in the Middle East.
According to the 15-page report, the JTF investigation remains ongoing. The Department of Defense Inspector General has also started a separate investigation over the case, the report adds.
One of the leaders of the task force, congressman Mike Pompeo, said in the report that the manipulation of CENTCOM’s intelligence products downplayed the threat from Daesh in Iraq, which may have resulted in putting U.S. troops at risk in the region.
Another leader of the JTF, congressman Brad Wenstrup, said in the report that it was not possible for U.S.-led forces to win the war against Daesh with “incomplete intelligence”.
The tasks force consists of the Chairmen of the House Armed Services Committee, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the subcommittee on Defense of the House Appropriations Committee.
The task force is led by Republican congressmen Ken Calvert, Mike Pompeo and Brad Wenstrup.