Pentagon Confirms Investigation of Possible Skewed Intelligence on ISIS

Allegations are that intel presented rosier view of terror fight.

September 15, 2015, 12:13 PM
PHOTO: ISIS militants parade through Sirte, Libya in photos released by the Islamic State on Feb. 18, 2015.
ISIS militants parade through Sirte, Libya in photos released by the Islamic State on Feb. 18, 2015.
Islamic State

— -- The Pentagon's Inspector General's Office has confirmed to ABC News that it is investigating allegations that U.S. Central Command's intelligence assessments of the progress of the war on ISIS was distorted to provide a more optimistic picture.

Bridget Serchak, a spokesperson for the Department of Defense's Inspector General, said in a statement.

"As has been previously reported, the Office of Inspector General Department of Defense has opened an investigation to address recent allegations concerning the processing of intelligence information by CENTCOM Intelligence Directorate."

"The investigation will address whether there was any falsification, distortion, delay, suppression, or improper modification of intelligence information; any deviations from appropriate process, procedures, or internal controls regarding the intelligence analysis; and personal accountability for any misconduct or failure to follow established processes."

Previously, Pentagon officials had declined to confirm an ongoing investigation since reports about the CENTCOM investigation first emerged three weeks ago. Last month, The New York Times reported that intelligence analysts alleged that draft intelligence assessments of the war on ISIS had been skewed by U.S. Central Command to present an optimistic view of the fight against ISIS.

Typically, the Pentagon does not confirm investigations being conducted by the Department of Defense's Inspector General.

Last week, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said the Pentagon was aware of news reports of an I.G. investigation though he would not confirm an ongoing investigation.

According to Cook, Defense Secretary Ash Carter "has made clear that he expects candid intelligence analysis to come his direction, for folks to call it like they see, and that's his expectation."

He noted that since reports emerged Carter had "directed the acting undersecretary for intelligence to consult with his leadership, with the combatant commands, to reinforce that message. Unvarnished, transparent intelligence is what this secretary expects on a daily basis."

He also characterized Carter's directive as "simply an effort to reinforce down the line what the secretary expects, and that's candid assessments of intelligence. And I think that's a message that he's communicated publicly."

Cook said Carter gets his intelligence from a variety of different intelligence sources which sometimes disagree over the same material. "That's a good thing," said Cook. " We want that tension as part of this process."

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