Sources close to these analysts told The Daily Beast that they were actively targeted by military leadership for not delivering a glowing report on U.S. progress in the war against the Islamic State, The Daily Beast reports.
It appears the military has had enough of analysts complaining to the media about their bosses manipulating intelligence reports. More than 50 anonymous CENTCOM analysts have previously voiced concerns about reports being fiddled with to show absurdly successful outcomes against ISIS. Now, military officials are ready to seek out these analysts and remove them from their positions.
Apparently, the great sin of the two senior analysts is that they neither trusted rebel commitment to U.S. strategic objectives, nor trusted their abilities to carry out the objectives.
One official told The Daily Beast of a culture of fear within CENTCOM. Analysts want at all costs to avoid losing their jobs in the ensuing witch hunt.
Meanwhile, officials are publicly blasting reports of intelligence manipulation. Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has told Congress reports on manipulation are absurdly overblown.
“The 40 percent — and I saw this number distorted to 400 [people] — is absolutely gross distorting of the challenges that they face down at CENTCOM,” Stewart said, according to Military.com. “It undermines the great workforce that we have down there at CENTCOM, who every single day are giving their best judgment to that commander about how activities and actions are going on in the CENTCOM [area of responsibility].”
Congress is trying to get to the bottom of the issue but finding it hard to get their hands on documents. Additionally, congressional staff members have had to interview analysts in front of their superiors.
So far, the evidence has come firmly on the side of analysts more skeptical of U.S. efforts to mobilize a moderate rebel opposition in Syria. The Pentagon’s $500 million train and equip program only netted about four or five fighters.
Officials quickly suspended the program after serious public embarrassment, but now the Obama administration wants to restart and tweak key components of the project.