Report: Obama Officials Pushed False Narrative on ISIS Through Politicized Intel

ISIS Karam Al-MasriAFPGetty Images
Karam Al-Masri/AFP/Getty Images

The intelligence products that were initially provided by Defense Department intelligence analysts–who claim that their reports were significantly altered by Obama administration officials to provide favorable analysis related to the U.S.-led coalition’s operations against ISIS to U.S. Central Command, have now been revealed to the public, by way of a Daily Beast report on their findings.

The analysts worried most prominently that simply killing major Islamic State terror officials would not do much to change the dynamics and the momentum of the jihadist group’s rise. But their worries never made it up the chain-of-command, as they claim that their reports were consistently quashed by higher-ups.

Analysts were sometimes “bullied” into presenting the aforementioned false narrative and forced to harbor obvious biases that could degrade the quality of their work, the report states. They were told to write–even though they personally disagreed in their objective analysis–that killing top-level ISIS commanders would be enough to ensure the jihadi outfit’s destruction, officials familiar with the politically-driven situation said.

“There was the reality on the ground but it was not as rosy as [the leadership] wanted it to be,” an unnamed defense official told The Daily Beast. “The challenge was assessing whether the glass was half empty, not half full.”

And particularly when it seemed that the battle against ISIS was stalling, or even moving backwards in progress, the analysts were continually urged to report that the Middle East engagement was becoming a success.

Two officials familiar with the situation told the media outlet that favorable analysis on the war against ISIS would easily get through to the decision-makers in D.C., while negative conclusions would end in an onslaught of criticism from their bosses.

Specifically, there were notable cases in which U.S. strikes against ISIS-held facilities were overhyped in concluding the actual damage inflicted in the operation, the report states. The narrative that ISIS was losing financial capacity and becoming less capable of carrying out terror strikes was simply not true, some analysts said.

Another unnamed advisor added that CENTCOM officials “did not like the reports on the impact [of the airstrikes] because they didn’t believe it.”

The Army’s head of intelligence, Major General Steven Grove, was frequently brought up in analysts’ complaints about the chain-of-command, the report said.

By sounding the alarm, some analysts worried that their whistleblower tactics may result in their intelligence products being received with even less credibility than before, the report concluded.


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