A Department of Defense Inspector General report has found several “weaknesses and flaws” in the military’s intelligence reporting on the Middle East, specifically the Islamic State.
The Pentagon released an unclassified version of its investigation into U.S. Central Command’s intelligence processes Wednesday. The investigation was a response to internal accusations which claimed senior leaders within the command where distorting intelligence reports to portray the Obama administration’s fight against ISIS in a more positive light.
Investigators confirmed that numerous problems existed within the command and that there was an understandable “widespread perception that CCJ2 senior intelligence leaders were distorting intelligence to present a more positive view of the success of the ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) and a more negative view of the success of ISIL (ISIS).” CCJ2 is the acronym which refers to a combat command’s intelligence division.
During the investigation, the IG discovered “several specific weaknesses and flaws in the CCJ2 management processes for creating intelligence products.” Officials believe these problems contributed to the perceptions. Investigators identified “ineffective communication and guidance, lack of adequate feedback, ambiguity and uncertainty” about policies and the “ambiguous status of DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) analysts assigned to USCENTCOM” impaired effectiveness, efficiency and morale within the analyst community.
Despite the process problems, the investigation did not find “systematic or intentional distortion of intelligence” by CENTCOM leadership. That said, the IG did claim that intelligence reports and products regarding Operation Inherent Resolve “could have, should have, been better, and further improvements can be made.”
A congressional task force also investigating the allegations against CENTCOM praised the work of the Pentagon IG, noting it reaffirmed some of the task force’s own findings.
“The Inspector General’s findings echo many of the findings of the Joint Task Force we empaneled last year to examine these issues,” said the Task Force in a statement Wednesday. “Although the two inquiries were conducted independently, they involved interviews of many of the same individuals and reviewed some of the same material.”
The Task Force noted that it will “carefully consider” 29 recommendations made by the IG to help alleviate the problem and will check in with analysts from CENTCOM in the future to ensure the recommendations have been properly implemented.
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