Sources tell CBS that top officials at United States Central Command in Tampa, Florida routinely manipulated information and withheld reports that clashed with the Obama administration’s plan for defeating ISIS.
According to CBS, “critical assessments of the Iraqi Security Forces were regularly being altered by top intelligence brass” back in 2014.
“Words like ‘slow’ and ‘stalled’ were changed to ‘deliberate.’ Worlds like ‘flee’ and ‘retreat’ changed to ‘repositioned’ and ‘relocated,’ which had the effect of painting a rosier picture in final reports delivered” to CentCom Commander Gen. Lloyd Austin.
Austin would go on to brief President Obama on the efficacy of “training and equipping the ISF to stop the explosive growth of ISIS” in September 2014.
The Obama administration’s chief strategy for defeating ISIS relies heavily on the ISF to buttress U.S. led air strikes against caliphate targets. The program to train and equip the ISF cost the United States $1.2 billion.
The Department of Defense’s Inspector General opened an investigation into the ISF reports in 2015, but CBS’ sources claim that shortly after the investigation began, “three months of the original, un-edited assessments went missing from CentCom’s shared server.”
Austin denied ordering “any member of the CentCom staff to adjust intelligence products or delay their delivery,” in a statement to CBS news.
[dcquiz] He retired as CentCom commander in 2016.
The sources also told CBS that Major Gen. Steven Grove, CentCom’s director of intelligence, “blocked a negative assessment of Iraq’s military from the president’s daily brief.”
In February 2015, both the Defense Intelligence Agency and CentCom filed reports stating the ISF would not be able to retake the city of Mosul in Northern Iraq” until the end of the year, yet Grove “ordered the assessment be kept out of the president’s brief until his boss, Gen. Austin testified before Congress about the Iraqi’s progress, making the case for an additional $750 million for the program.”
Grove declined to comment on the allegations.