- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Intelligence analysts warned the nation’s top spy that their reports about the Islamic State had been tampered by their bosses to reflect a more positive outlook on the campaign against the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.

The latest evidence of intelligence tampering are separate from similar complaints lodged by analysts at U.S. Central Command last year. The Defense Department’s inspector general is now investigating “whether there was any falsification, distortion, delay, suppression, or improper modification of intelligence information” by senior officials at CENTCOM.

The second set of accusations was made to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It shows that intelligence officials were aware of potential problems with the integrity of information on the Islamic State, some of which made its way to President Obama, The Daily Beast reported.

Analysts believe their reports were altered to support the Obama administration’s public statements that the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State was making progress.

They made their claims to the director’s office in response to written surveys sent by its Analytic Integrity and Standards Group last year as part of an assessment of the intelligence community, U.S. officials told The Daily Beast.

In the surveys, the analysts accused their superiors of editing or rejecting reports that cast doubt on the success of the U.S.-led coalition’s campaigns. They also accused CENTCOM intelligence officials of attempting to delete emails and other reports that provided evidence of intelligence manipulations, an unidentified source told The Daily Beast.

It is not clear whether the survey responses were reviewed by national intelligence officials, but they were included in a larger report that was completed in December.

The office chose not to investigate the claims on its own because of the ongoing Defense Department investigation, officials told The Daily Beast.

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper in September said he had no knowledge that his agency’s reports had been manipulated.

“It is an almost sacred writ … in the intelligence profession never to politicize intelligence. I don’t engage in it. I never have, and I don’t condone it when it’s identified,” Mr. Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence oversees all intelligence agencies — military and civilian — and is ultimately responsible for ensuring that intelligence reports are not affected by political influence and bias.

 

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