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Cooking the Intelligence on ISIS

Arthur Herman

The Daily Beast has a story that should stir Republicans to confront Obama on his failed ISIS policy, at last.

The Beast (no conservative Koch brothers mouthpiece) is reporting that some 50 intelligence analysts working at the military’s Central Command claim their reports on ISIS are being doctored to fit the Obama party line that we’re winning the fight against ISIS, when we’re not.

Two of the more senior analysts in fact have filed complaints with the Pentagon’s Inspector General’s office. “Stalinist” is reportedly the way one of them characterized the censorship that’s used to paint as rosy a picture of the fight against ISIS as possible. “The complaints allege that that in some cases key elements of intelligence reports were removed,” the report says, “resulting in a document that didn’t accurately capture the analysts’ conclusions,” which largely contradict the administration’s contention that we’ve got ISIS on the run.

“The accusations suggest that a large number of people tracking the inner workings of the terror group think that their reports are manipulated to fit a public narrative,” the story concludes.

Is anyone really surprised by this? Remember all the complaints Democrats made about how the Bush administration manipulated intelligence in order to get us into war with Iraq over non-existent WMD’s?

Official investigation after investigation showed they didn’t, but the false claim that “Bush lied and people died’ still haunts the memory of that war–and the sacrifice Americans made fighting and dying in it.

Now we know why Democrats were so insistent somebody had to be cooking the intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s WMD’s. It’s because that’s what they would have done themselves to fit their policy line.

And, the Daily Beast suggests, that’s what they’re doing now, so they can avoid having to make the kind of military commitment we need, in order to eradicate the ISIS plague once and for all.

Of course, we don’t know if these analysts aren’t all just disgruntled employees looking for some attention; but 50 of them? Certainly the fact that the case has come to the attention of the IG means someone in the Pentagon is taking it very seriously.

So here’s what Congress needs to do.

It needs to call for an immediate investigation of whether the Obama administration has manipulated and cherry-picked intelligence regarding ISIS in order to cover up a failed policy in Iraq and Syria, and to avoid having to take responsibility for allowing ISIS—Obama’s “junior varsity” terrorists—to take root and grow into the most serious threat to stability in the Middle East since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

It needs to set up a joint select committee with subpoena powers to start that investigation, as well as to review the administration’s handling of the ISIS problem going back to 2012.

Finally, it needs to remind the American people that deliberately distorting intelligence reports to fit a pre-conceived policy, whether it’s by political appointees or career officials, poses a real danger to national security, as well as providing aid and comfort to our enemies.

It’s what Democrats said the Bush administration did, when it didn’t. Now it should be their turn in the hot seat.

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