19:24 GMT +314 October 2019
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    ISIL fighters parade through Mosul, Iraq in 2014. File photo

    Rebels Without a Clue: US Intelligence Doctored to Reflect Spin on ISIL

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    The factual analyses on ISIL and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being improperly changed by senior officials to stick to a public narrative that the US is winning the war, according to the complaint sent to the Defense Department inspector general.

    Following the news that all 54 "moderate" Syrian rebels the Pentagon had spent $42 million training were captured, killed, or defected to ISIL as soon as they were deployed, 50 intelligence analysts with US CENTCOM have formally complained that their reports on ISIL and al Qaeda’s Syrian branch had been distorted in accordance with US officials' intent to depict the extremist groups as weaker than they are.

    According to the complaint, which was sent to the Defense Department inspector general, the factual analyses on ISIL and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being improperly changed by senior officials to stick to a public narrative that the US is winning the war, The Daily Beast reported.

    Lately, the Obama administration has tended to paint the situation in Syria and Iraq in an optimistic manner despite the fact that the extremist groups have continued to seize key territory, like the cities of Mosul and Fallujah.

    "No, I don’t think we’re losing," President Obama said in May.

    The intelligence professionals claim that their superiors, the director of intelligence and his deputy in CENTCOM among them, manipulated their analyses to be coherent with the Obama administration's public story. There were incidents when key elements were cut from the report, and reports that were considered too pessimistic in their appraisal of the war were simply sent back.

    Fighters from Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front drive in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. (File)
    © AFP 2019 / AMC / FADI AL-HALABI
    Attempts to resolve the problem internally only resulted in forced retirements. One person familiar with the contents of the formal complaint described the approach set by officials supervising CENTCOM’s reports as "Stalinist".

    To some extent, the analysts were prompted to file a complaint by recalling intelligence reports from 2002-2003 which were also distorted by superiors and stated that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, when in fact it did not.

    "They were frustrated because they didn’t do the right thing then when they had suppressed their concerns about the falsification of reports on Iraq’s weapons program, the defense official said.

    Following the complaints, the Pentagon’s inspector general announced his decision to investigate the issue.

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    Tags:
    US Department of Defense (DoD), Daesh, falsification, false report, intelligence, CENTCOM, Barack Obama, United States
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