Mil­i­tary may have skewed IS anal­y­sis: re­port

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

The U.S. De­fense Depart­ment is in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether mil­i­tary of­fi­cials have im­prop­erly rewrit­ten in­tel­li­gence assess­ments to give a more op­ti­mistic view of the U. S.- led cam­paign against the Is­lamic State group in Iraq, the New York Times re­ported Wed­nes­day.

The in­spec­tor gen­eral probe be­gan af­ter at least one civil­ian an­a­lyst at the De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency said he had ev­i­dence that U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand of­fi­cials were re­work­ing in­tel­li­gence re­port con­clu­sions pre­pared for U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and other pol­i­cy­mak­ers.

Un­named gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials de­tailed the claim to the Times, though it was un­clear when the re­ports were changed and who was re­spon­si­ble.

Un­der a di­rec­tive by the Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence, which over­sees the 17 U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies, an­a­lyt­i­cal assess­ments “must not be dis­torted” by a par­tic­u­lar au­di­ence, agenda or pol­icy view.

U.S. of­fi­cials told the Times that com­plaints had been made to the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity’s in­spec­tor gen­eral, and that the De­fense De­part­ments’s in­spec­tor gen­eral then took up the mat­ter.

If the assess­ments were in­deed skewed, it could help ex­plain why public de­scrip­tions of progress against the mil­i­tants has var­ied.

Since the U. S.- led bomb­ing cam­paign of the Is­lamic State be­gan in Iraq a year ago, and sub­se­quently in Syria, Iraqi se­cu­rity forces have re­taken some ter­ri­tory pre­vi­ously seized by the group but not ma­jor cities like Mo­sul and Ra­madi.

But U. S. in­tel­li­gence

agen- cies have re­cently found that the group has been lit­tle weak­ened by the as­sault just as it ex­panded into North Africa and Cen­tral Asia, the Times said.

Last month, Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion spe­cial en­voy re­tired gen­eral John Allen said “ISIS is los­ing,” us­ing an acro­nym by which the group is known.

De­fense Sec­re­tary Ash­ton Carter agreed last week that the war was “dif­fi­cult” and will take “some time,” though he in­sisted he was “con­fi­dent that we will suc­ceed in de­feat­ing IS and that we have the right strat­egy.”

Syria’s con­flict be­gan with anti-gov­ern­ment demon­stra­tions in March 2011.

But af­ter a bloody crack­down by the rul­ing regime, it spi­raled into a multi-front civil war that has left more than 240,000 peo­ple dead.

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