President Obama made his way back to Washington, D.C., early this morning, facing a problem that has plagued some of his top military officials: an expanded investigation into intelligence reports that were possibly doctored to paint a rosy picture of Mideast conflict.
At issue is whether analysts at Central Command, which oversees U.S. Department of Defense operations in the Middle East, altered assessments of the campaign against ISIS to make it appear as though the United States and Western partners were making more progress than they really were, at least according to claims from a whistleblower assigned to Centcom.
The inquiry, which started in September, has grown to include congressional investigations, including the House Intelligence and Armed Services committees. The chairmen of both committees are also forming a task force in the "near future" to investigate allegations of intelligence manipulation, aides with both panels confirmed.
During a news conference in Malaysia Sunday, Obama vowed to "get to the bottom" of the issue.
"One of the things I insisted on the day I walked into the Oval Office was that I don’t want intelligence shaded by politics,” he told reporters at a news conference in Malaysia, wrapping up a nine-day East Asia trip. I don’t want it shaded by the desire to tell a feel-good story.”
The Pentagon inspector general in recent weeks has seized a large stash of emails and documents from military servers and has added more investigators to the inquiry, the New York Times reported Sunday.
Centcom commander Gen. Lloyd Austin told a Senate panel on Sept. 16 that he welcomed such inquiry, and added that he never ordered or suggested to anyone in the intelligence command that they should sweeten intelligence reports to reflect a more positive view of the United States' efforts in Iraq and Syria.
"Absolutely not," he said at the time.
ABC News’ Ben Siegel contributed to this report.