Monday, November 23, 2015

Centcom Investigation into Cooking Intelligence on ISIS has Potential to Bring Down the U.S. Warfare State

The cooking of intelligence coming out of Centcom has the potential to be a bombshell so huge it will destroy the current foundation of the perpetual warfare state, what used to be referred to as the Global War on Terror. Of course Obama is in full cover-up mode, as Michael Shear reports in "Obama Orders Inquiry Into Intelligence on ISIS":
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — President Obama said on Sunday that he had ordered his senior defense officials to find out whether intelligence reports had been altered to reflect a more optimistic assessment of the American military campaign against the Islamic State. 
Speaking at a news conference in Malaysia at the end of a 10-day overseas trip, Mr. Obama said he expected the Pentagon’s inspector general to investigate allegations that significant changes were made to reports from analysts at the United States Central Command, known as Centcom.
“I don’t know what we’ll discover with respect to what was going on in Centcom,” Mr. Obama said. “What I do know is my expectation — which is the highest fidelity to facts, data, the truth.”
Mr. Obama was responding to a report in The New York Times on Sunday that described the internal Pentagon investigation. Some analysts in the Defense Department say their supervisors revised their conclusions about some of the military’s failures before finalizing the reports.
In recent weeks, the Pentagon has expanded its investigation into the allegations and has seized a large trove of emails and documents as it examines the claims. The president said altering reports to make them more optimistic would be contrary to his wishes.
If the inspector general of the Department of Defense is already conducting an investigation, Obama's statement that he is ordering his senior people to get to the bottom of it is meaningless, hollow grandstanding.

What is obvious is that ISIS has been studiously ignored by the Obama administration from the outset. All one need do is go back and read the coverage from the days when ISIS took Mosul at the end of spring last year. The U.S. man in Baghdad at the time, Brett McGurt (elevated to a new position recently, Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL), spent more time hectoring Iraqi leader Nouri al-Maliki to relinquish power than he did dealing with the rise of the caliphate, an enormous launch pad for jihadist terrorist attacks on the West.

The cover story at the time was that al-Maliki had to go in order to build trust with Iraqi Sunni who supposedly were fueling the ISIS conflagration. So al-Maliki went and ISIS gobbled up even more territory.

It is a favorite canard of the West that the jihadist efflorescence in Iraq and Syria is homegrown. It is not. It is a foreign import that is attributable to many of the key members of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, a classic subterfuge where an enemy is created and supported in order to destabilize an area and then penetrate it with your superior military force.

As for the potential godhead bombshell that is the Pentagon inspector general's investigation, here is what Matt Apuzzo, Mark Mazzetti and Michael Schmidt had to say yesterday in "Pentagon Expands Inquiry Into Intelligence on ISIS Surge":
The attacks in Paris last week were a deadly demonstration that the Islamic State, once a group of militants focused on seizing territory in Iraq and Syria, has broadened its focus to attack the West. The electronic files seized in the Pentagon investigation tell the story of the group’s rise, as seen through the eyes of Centcom, which oversees military operations across the Middle East.
The exact content of those documents is unclear and may not become public because so much of the information is classified. But military officials have told Congress that some of those emails and documents may have been deleted before they had to be turned over to investigators, according to a senior congressional official, who requested anonymity to speak about the ongoing inquiry. Current and former officials have separately made similar claims, on condition of anonymity, to The New York Times. Although lawmakers are demanding answers about those claims, it is not clear that the inspector general has been able to verify them. A spokeswoman for the inspector general declined to comment.

Staff members at the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence are also poring over years of Centcom intelligence reports and comparing them to assessments from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and others. The committee is not just examining reports about Iraq, Syria and the Islamic State, but also about Afghanistan and other areas under Centcom’s purview. The insurrection inside Centcom is an important chapter in the story of how the United States responded to the growing threat from the Islamic State. This past summer, a group of Centcom analysts took concerns about their superiors to the inspector general, saying they had evidence that senior officials had changed intelligence assessments to overstate the progress of American airstrikes against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
That investigation was prompted by complaints this past summer from Centcom’s longtime Iraq experts, led by Gregory Hooker, the senior Iraq analyst. In some ways, the team’s criticisms mirror those of a decade ago, when Mr. Hooker wrote a research paper saying the Bush administration, over many analysts’ objections, advocated a small force in Iraq and spent little time planning for what would follow the invasion. 
Lawmakers originally said that the Centcom investigation would be completed in weeks. But Pentagon investigators have found the work painstaking and it could span months. In addition to determining whether changes were made to intelligence reports — and if so, who ordered them — the investigators, like the staff members of the House intelligence committee, are studying reports from other intelligence agencies produced at the time to determine what was actually occurring in Iraq and Syria when the reports were written.
The creation of multiple investigations in Congress, one in the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and one in the House Armed Services Committee, is not necessarily a good sign. It means that the issue of doctoring intelligence for war purposes will be obscured as the fog machinery of the duopoly is cranked into high gear.

What did those deleted emails say? Certainly investigators have the technology to retrieve them. The issue is whether they really want to. My guess is that there is some rather frank "sports talk" about how the Turks and the Saudis are running ISIS, and how the U.S. was lending a hand.

Why else purposely inflate the effectiveness of airstrikes against ISIS? The only benign explanation I can think of is that senior Pentagon brass didn't want their boss in the Oval Office to feel any heat to ratchet up a response to a formidable adversary.

But on closer inspection this excuse makes no sense, particularly after ISIS took Palmyra and Ramadi this past May, because eventually the "facts on the ground" will out and a reckoning must be had.

The only explanation that makes any sense is that the intelligence was rewritten because the objectives of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are the same as the U.S. and its main allies in the region -- to weaken Iran and the governments aligned with Iran. The U.S. wants to be seen as fighting effectively against Islamic terrorism, at the same time it is using Wahhabi jihadists to achieve its geopolitical goals. It is the classic Ring of Gyges scenario that spurs Socrates on his discourse about the Good in Plato's Republic, as well as much of the action in Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, the idea that the optimal position for a man is to have the reputation for moral rectitude but also to be equipped with a special ring that makes him invisible so he can steal and desecrate at will.

This is what the U.S. and its allies are trying to pull off, a Ring of Gyges scenario. Hopefully, enough truth will come out of the Centcom investigation that the invisible will be made visible. I am not too optimistic though. The Unites States is a warfare nation. Anything so big that it could threaten a nation's essence will be assiduously and ruthlessly crushed.


I am out of town for the holiday. Look for a post this Friday.

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