Sunday, November 22, 2015

Intelligence Lied About ISIS

The New York Times has a couple of articles this morning.

Pentagon Expands Inquiry Into Intelligence on ISIS Surge
State fighters overran a string of Iraqi cities last year, analysts at United States Central Command wrote classified assessments for military intelligence officials and policy makers that documented the humiliating retreat of the Iraqi Army. But before the assessments were final, former intelligence officials said, the analysts’ superiors made significant changes.

In the revised documents, the Iraqi Army had not retreated at all. The soldiers had simply “redeployed.”

Such changes are at the heart of an expanding internal Pentagon investigation of Centcom, as Central Command is known, where analysts say that supervisors revised conclusions to mask some of the American military’s failures in training Iraqi troops and beating back the Islamic State. The analysts say supervisors were particularly eager to paint a more optimistic picture of America’s role in the conflict than was warranted.
What the heck? Why would they do this?

Obama Says He Won’t Relent in Fight Against ISIS Amid Questions About Intelligence Reports
He rejected the use of the term “mastermind” to describe the man who authorities believe planned and helped execute the attacks in Paris on Nov. 13. He said the man “got his hands on some fairly conventional weapons, and sadly it turns out if you are willing to die, you can kill a lot of people.”

“The most powerful tool we have to fight ISIL is to say that we’re not afraid,” he said, “to not elevate it, to not somehow buy into their fantasy that they are doing something important.”

He called the group merely “a bunch of killers, with good social media.”
This is Obama, in Malaysia right now, at a press conference.

I like the first paragraph, and the third, but the second: that can't be the most powerful tool we have. Seriously? Was he channeling FDR here?

I recall that after 9/11, GWB ordered the FBI and CIA to stop fighting between themselves and figure out how to pull together. Apparently each had information they were shielding from the other because it was so important to score against the other side. And now these folks in military intelligence, not the analysts but their bosses, once again prioritizing something - personal power? - over forthright sharing of information where it needs to go. I don't know how it is that these folks take their eye off the ball and worry more about internal politics than they do their primary job of providing intelligence. Is it something about the personalities of the people who gravitate to these agencies? Do they think it's a game?

No comments:

Post a Comment