Earlier this summer, we learned the Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations that the intelligence on ISIS was manipulated. Analysts at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida, formally complained to the IG that analysis contradicting the Obama administration’s narrative on ISIS was routinely challenged, rewritten, or disregarded. The administration was eager to sell the story that the campaign against ISIS was going well; much of the intelligence made clear it wasn’t. That intelligence was buried, and the happy talk continued.

From 2011 through 2013, top Obama administration and intelligence officials downplayed and discarded intelligence to on al Qaeda and its activities. As President Obama sought to convince the American public that al Qadea was dying ” analysts at CENTCOM were quietly providing assessments showing the opposite was true. Briefings they received from the director of the Defense intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, included assessments that al Qaeda had doubled in strength over the preceding two years. A top DIA official was told directly to stop producing reports based on documents collected during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. And when a member of the House Intelligence Committee sought to investigate these allegations of manipulation, he was misled repeatedly

The systematic and willful effort to sell the American people a false narrative about the global jihadist movement and our efforts to defeat it. Access to the documents captured during the bin It Laden raid two years earlier. These officials were alarmed. What they were seeing in the files contradicted Obama administration claims about al Qaeda and its reach. In many cases, the documents were primary sources, received or authored by bin Laden himself.

But when Nunes arrived CENTCOM on Saturday morning, he was told the analysts were unavailable. Surprised and frustrated, Nunes threatened to hold a press conference in front of CENTCOM’s main gate to share publicly what he’d been told about the intelligence and to accuse CENTCOM of playing games. Maj. Scott Berrier the top intelligence officer at CENTCOM (the J2), apologized for any misunderstanding but told Nunes that the analysts who could brief him were unavailable.

“Informants came to me in late 2012 stating that they had information related to the bin Laden raid and the analysis of intelligence,” Nunes told The Weekly Standard last week. “I set up a time to travel down to CENTCOM and requested to meet with the analysts involved. When I arrived, it was on a Saturday, and I was not allowed to meet with them. It wasn’t until after I spent all day Saturday there with the J2 and leadership that I found out those analysts were actually in the building that day prepared to brief me”.

But sources inside CENTCOM support Nunes’s version of events. “The analysts had prepared a detailed briefing on several aspects of the documents,” says one intelligence official, adding that they had pulled an all-nighter to finish their preparations. The topics included: Iran’s relationship with AL Qaeda, bin Laden’s involvement in the day to-day operations of al-Qaeda, and his operations guidance to offshoots, such as Boko Haram. The administration had portrayed bin Laden as a lonely, relatively powerless figurehead of a deteriorating terror network. Many of the documents made clear that this depiction was inaccurate.

“When we showed things that were incongruent with the narrative , they were killed,” says one intelligence officer. The director of national intelligence had originally signed off on CENTCOM’s analytical team getting a copy of a server with the whole bin Laden collection, despite the fact that the 5 CIA retained “executive authority” over the documents. But the CENTCOM team found their access time-limited and. on occasion, restricted by subject matter when the team requested translators to help, those requests were slow walked and eventually denied. They were prohibited from turning their findings into finished products to be distributed throughout the intelligence community. The entire process came to an abrupt end after one of the leaders of the CENTCOM team was summoned to Washington and ordered, in a meeting with a senior DNI official, to stop the analysis of the bin Laden documents.

The Obama administration has repeatedly and systematically manipulated intelligence to further the president’s ideological and political objective of ending our wars. And we are less safe as a result.

source; weekly standard (9/2/2015), general scott berrier, stephen hayes


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