Initial Findings Of The U.S. House Of Representatives Joint Task Force On U.S. Central Command Intelligence Analysis

Left unsaid or addressed is any White House pressure on the CENTCOM leadership to slant or change the intelligence assessments on the Islamic Statea.  This is a POTUS and White House that repeatedly downplayed the threat that ISIS posed to the U.S. and the West; with the POTUS describing ISIS as the ‘javee team.’  And of course this is a POTUS and White House that claim climate change as the greatest national security threat we face.  Having all that………
This is a scathing excerpt from the report:
 
(U) The leadership environment within CENTCOM and its Intelligence Directorate deteriorated significantly following the departure of General James Mattis and his senior
intelligence leaders. Survey results provided to the Joint Task Force demonstrated that dozens of analysts viewed the subsequent leadership environment as toxic, with 40% of analysts responding
that they had experienced an attempt to distort or suppress intelligence in the past year. While the Joint Task Force heard testimony that the environment slowly began to improve following the initiation of the DODIG investigation in mid-2015, many issues persisted until the arrival of General Joseph Votel and the new J2.
(U) Initial Findings of the U.S. House of Representatives
Joint Task Force on U.S. Central Command Intelligence Analysis
August 10, 2016
(U) Executive Summary 
(U) The Joint Task Force was created by the Chairmen of the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense to investigate the allegations of a whistleblower that intelligence produced by U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) had been manipulated to present an unduly positive outlook on CENTCOM efforts to train the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and combat the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Although investigations into the whistleblower’s allegations continue, the Joint Task Force has conducted sufficient investigation to reach certain interim conclusions. Those conclusions are contained in this report. However, the Joint Task Force awaits the completion of the ongoing Department of Defense Inspector General (DODIG) investigation into this matter.
(U) Based on its own investigation, the Joint Task Force has substantiated that structural and management changes made at the CENTCOM Intelligence Directorate starting in mid-2014 resulted in the production and dissemination of intelligence products that were inconsistent with the judgments of many senior, career analysts at CENTCOM. These products were consistently more optimistic regarding the conduct of U.S. military action than that of the senior analysts. Based on specific case studies evaluated by the Joint Task Force, during the time period evaluated by the Joint Task Force, CENTCOM produced intelligence that was also significantly more optimistic than that of other parts of the Intelligence Community (IC) and typically more optimistic than actual events warranted. Additionally, many CENTCOM press releases, public statements, and congressional testimonies were also significantly more positive than actual events.
(U) The leadership environment within CENTCOM and its Intelligence Directorate deteriorated significantly following the 2013 departure of Marine General James Mattis and his senior intelligence leaders. Survey results provided to the Joint Task Force demonstrated that dozens of analysts viewed the subsequent leadership environment as toxic, with 40% of analysts responding that they had experienced an attempt to distort or suppress intelligence in the past year. While the Joint Task Force heard testimony that the environment slowly began to improve following the initiation of the DODIG investigation in mid-2015, many issues persisted until the arrival of Army General Joseph Votel and the new head of CENTCOM’s intelligence directorate (also known as the J2).
(U) Starting in mid-2014, CENTCOM Intelligence Directorate leadership instituted various organizational and process changes that negatively affected the quality and timeliness of intelligence production. CENTCOM senior leaders claimed these changes were intended to improve analytic tradecraft and timeliness, but the changes ultimately were unsuccessful and had the opposite effect. Many of these changes in the review and coordination process have since been reversed.
(U) Furthermore, senior leaders also relied on details reported from coalition forces rather than more objective and better documented intelligence reporting. The Joint Task Force can find no justifiable reason why operational reporting was repeatedly used as a rationale to change the  analytic product, particularly when the changes only appeared to be made in a more optimistic direction. By supplanting analytic tradecraft with unpublished and ad hoc operational reporting, Joint Intelligence Center (JIC) leadership circumvented important processes that are intended to protect the integrity of intelligence analysis.
(U) Analytic integrity is crucial to good intelligence, and good intelligence is crucial to making informed policy judgments. To ensure analytic integrity going forward, the Joint Task Force makes the following recommendations and assessments:
 (U) The Joint Task Force is troubled that despite receiving the whistleblower complaint in May 2015 and receiving alarming survey results in December 2015, neither CENTCOM, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, nor the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) took any demonstrable steps to improve the analytic climate within CENTCOM. The survey results alone should have prompted CENTCOM and IC leaders to take corrective action without other inducements.
 (U) The new CENTCOM commander and Director of Intelligence should continue to address the significant deficiencies in the management of the CENTCOM Intelligence Directorate.
 (U) The CENTCOM Intelligence Directorate should formalize and document its processes and procedures including those governing the coordination and review of intelligence assessments, the inclusion of operational reporting in intelligence products, the operation of the CENTCOM Intelligence Fusion Center, and mechanisms to properly align public statements and congressional testimony with intelligence assessments.
 (U) CENTCOM should ensure that analytic best practices are institutionalized to ensure continuity through leadership transitions.
 (U) The DIA should take ownership of its role as leader of the Defense Intelligence Enterprise, and significantly increase its analytic oversight and review of intelligence products generated by the Combatant Command (COCOM) intelligence centers. In particular, DIA should reexamine its role in ensuring analytic integrity, and increase the scope and power of formal review mechanisms, such as the Analytic Ombudsman.
 (U) The statements by senior IC leadership to downplay the significance of the incidents at CENTCOM were an inappropriate response from individuals charged with leading the IC in preserving analytic integrity. 
 
 (U) The Joint Task Force did not receive access to all the materials it requested. The Joint Task Force expects the DODIG to review and assess further documents and internal e-mails, as well as the statements of many additional DOD employees, and to fully investigate any allegations of reprisals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *