• Cooking the Books: The Danger of Bad Intel on Islamic State

    August 27, 2015

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Embassy/State, Iraq

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    Are American analysts skewing intelligence reporting and assessments to provide a rosier outlook of U.S. progress against Islamic State?

    At least one civilian Defense Intelligence Agency analyst says so, and has convinced the Pentagon’s Inspector General to look into it. The analyst says he had evidence officials at United States Central Command, overseeing the American campaign against Islamic State, were improperly rewriting conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama.

    While legitimate differences of opinion are common in intel reporting, to be of value those differences must be presented to policy makers, and played off one another in an intellectually vigorous check-and-balance fashion. There is a wide gap between that, and what it appears the Inspector General is now looking at.

    Cooking the intel to match policy makers’ expectations has a sordid history in the annals of American warfare. Analysis during the Vietnam War pushed forward a steady but false narrative of victory. In the run-up to Iraq War 2.0, State Department analysis claiming Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction was buried in favor of obvious falsehoods.

    Jokes about the oxymoron of “military intelligence” aside, bad intel leads to bad decisions. Bad intel created purposefully suggests a war that is being lost, with the people in charge loathe to admit it.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      quote”The analyst says he had evidence officials at United States Central Command, overseeing the American campaign against Islamic State, were improperly rewriting conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama.”unquote

      “AHH! Your new clothes look wonderful your Highness!!” Says the Minister of Truth while trying not to fall to the ground in gut splitting laughter.

      quote”Jokes about the oxymoron of “military intelligence” aside, bad intel leads to bad decisions. Bad intel created purposefully suggests a war that is being lost, with the people in charge loathe to admit it.”unquote

      WHAT?? The US military ..the most powerful fighting force the world has seen in history…lose a war? Against a ragtag bunch of stone age morons? Naw..tell me it ain’t so…impossible. ..

      bartender, call my bookie and tell him I wanna double down. And turn on teh TV.. the White House says we’re kicking the Vietcongs ass….er…wait wait..Chronkite’s coming on right now…first broadcast since going to Nam himself….and this is his last broadcast..

      Mr. WALTER CRONKITE (Anchorman): I wrote a three-minute closing for the program, which seemingly, without reluctance, our stern and uncompromisingly fair news president Dick Salant approved.

      (Soundbite of TV program, “CBS Evening News”)

      Mr. CRONKITE: (Reading) Tonight, back in more familiar surroundings in New York, we’d like to sum up our findings in Vietnam, an analysis that must be speculative, personal, subjective. Who won and who lost in the great Tet Offensive against the cities? I’m not sure. The Vietcong did not win by a knockout but neither did we.

      Then, with as much restraint as I could, I turned to our own leaders whose idea of negotiation seemed frozen in memories of General McArthur’s encounter with the Japanese aboard the Battleship Missouri.

      We’ve been too often disappointed by the optimism of the American leaders…”unquote

      (me) naw..really? Disappointed? I guess they missed the 100k strong protest outside the WhiteHouse..(rolling eyes)

      (Soundbite of TV program, “CBS Evening News”)

      (Reading) Both in Vietnam and Washington to have faith any longer in the silver linings they find in the darkest clouds. For it seems now more certain than ever, that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate. To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past.

      To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, if unsatisfactory conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy’s intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations.

      But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could. “unquote

      (me) Honorable? umm.. hasn’t anyone heard of My Lai?

      Parting words from the late Walter Cronkite. On February 27th, 1968 during a CBS News Special Report, Cronkite did something that changed America’s perception of the Vietnam War. He told the truth.

      bartender…make that triple down.

      08/27/15 9:12 AM | Comment Link

    • jim hruska said...


      Calling US efforts against ISIS as a campaign is an overstatement and kindness to US leadership.
      It’s not policy and it’s not a campaign to implement same.
      It’s only applied violence with out any clear objective of a military nature.
      Whats the end game? Does it just smell of napalm in the morning?
      What does our killing achieve? How is our violence more legit than theirs?
      Our violence is as illegal as is theirs.
      jim hruska

      08/27/15 9:13 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      ps..quote”Are American analysts skewing intelligence reporting and assessments to provide a rosier outlook of U.S. progress against Islamic State?”unquote

      same ole lies…different war. And the DFCOTP eats it up. Too bad Chronkite isn’t reporting today.

      08/27/15 9:22 AM | Comment Link

    • RICH BAUER said...


      Trump: The government is run by idiots.

      He didn’t mention the idiots who vote for them.

      The rest of the world realized long ago the lying sack of shit US intelligence is. Just cut-and-psste ISIS for Vietnam.

      08/27/15 9:48 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Maybe the military guys presenting the day’s drone kill list to Obama were running short of candidates and felt they had to open up the vista for more possibilities. Maybe.

      08/27/15 10:05 AM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      It’s ALL al Sham! Because it bears repeating: The definition of ISIS : US (CIA & Company). For confirmation, ask Poppy proteges CLINTON!! The Despicable She will DENY It; which of course, is actual validation!!! Happy Friday Night Follies.

      08/27/15 11:25 AM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      This is some “war”.

      We have ISIS driving around the desert in truck convoys and setting up training compounds the size of small towns, which magically cannot be spotted by our super-duper satellites that can read a license plate from outer space. We cannot find ISIS forces to bomb them. Our media has been able, however, to run photos of them driving their trucks, swimming in pools behind luxury homes, and training in their camps. I guess there are gaps in the cloak of invisibility. Although the ISIS dudes all seem to look like Jake Gyllenhall, so maybe these photos are suspect.

      When we want to arm a “moderate group” to help them fight ISIS, we drop armament from airplanes, inevitably and with regrets, exactly where ISIS can pick them up and use the weapons themselves. “Mistakes,” as they say, “were made”. The “moderate group” then disappears without explanation, joins forces with ISIS, morphs into a new group, or is discovered to never have existed in the first place; nonetheless, Congress keeps approving large sums of money to fund them. Perhaps the moderate groups have invisibility cloaks, too.

      ISIS can bring in large oil trucks to carry millions of gallons of siphoned oil onto the black market and can carry out these time-consuming operations and drive the trucks away completely unhindered. These trucks and oil operations are also invisible to US satellites and impervious to US intel. Several EU countries buy this oil from ISIS while Turkey abets the selling of the oil, creating profits for ISIS. These countries are not suffering sanctions for “aiding and abetting the enemy”. Likewise, ISIS has set up a huge banking operation, although no-one has ever even tried to explain how exactly this bank works and how it is able to move funds around the international banking community without the funds simply being seized at some point along the way.

      ISIS seems strangely prone to blowing up sacred Islamic sites and stealing Muslim artifacts to sell on the antiquities market rather than considering these things as holy to their religion. Some wounded ISIS fighters receive medical treatment in Israel. These might be regarded as a peculiar sets of circumstances for the most fundamentalist of Islamic groups.

      UK soldiers dress up as ISIS fighters and drive around in trucks with ISIS flags flying to “fool ISIS”. I’m sure they are fooling someone. In any case, they aren’t in any danger of being accidently shot by the “coalition of the willing”, since trucks flying the ISIS flag are apparently invisible, as mentioned above. No-one ponders the obvious question: how do we know all the ISIS guys aren’t actually coalition soldiers and mercenaries playing dress-up?

      ISIS moves into Libya, taking Sirte, after the Libyan forces there mysteriously disappear, leaving the city without protection. This happens everywhere they go. It’s all a conundrum to the generals in charge.

      al Qaeda is now our friend, helping us fight ISIS. Conversely, ISIS sprang from al Qaeda. Con-conversely, ISIS sprang from disgruntled Iraqi Sunnis or from out-of-nowhere, they are either the JV or the varsity team, Saudi Arabia maybe hates them but bombs someone else, al-Assad of Syria has to be illegally removed from office or assassinated regardless – or perhaps because of – his attempts to fight ISIS, ISIS is the Big Kahuna but the US is drone-bombing the fuck out of 8 or 10 or 12 other countries and killing only non-ISIS “terrorists”, Putin is Hitler, and it’s all Iran’s fault.

      Everyone hates ISIS and is really sad that they are wrecking the Middle East, but no-one wants to take in the refugees from the area or even sees them as victims. The “coalition of the willing” wants, instead, to bomb the ME further and kill the refugees at the borders of the countries they seek to enter. Certainly, the creation of millions of refugees due to the US and NATO countries “war on terror” is not begetting a conversation about what the hell we think we have done and are doing in the ME all these years. ISIS, in the meantime, is still invisible (see above) and reportedly growing in numbers and audacity. Reportedly. We and the coalition countries have x number of troops fighting ISIS, and no-one asks how many mercenaries are being paid with our tax dollars to fight them. No-one asks if ISIS may be mercenaries themselves.

      It is Obama’s belief that authorization for this “war” is granted by the AUMF covering the war on whomever hit the US on 9/11, although no-one is contending that ISIS took down the Twin Towers. In any case, the argument, such as it was, is apparently over. I gather Obama won. See, likewise, the mention of the numerous other countries we are drone-bombing absent authorization or declared war above.

      “The Pentagon has spent nearly $4 billion fighting Islamic State across Syria and Iraq since operations began a year ago, according to statistics released this week. The average daily cost of the campaign is $9.9 million, or $6,785 a minute.
      A colossal $3.7 billion in expenses have been racked up since the campaign began on August 8, 2014 up to August 15 of this year. […]”


      There’s your “war” explained right there. After all, someone is on the other side of the deal. Someone is making a huge pile of jack off the bombs, planes and equipment that the Pentagon is buying. And that’s just the “war” on ISIS. The “war on terrorism” is a cool trillion a year operation. Let’s call these, collectively, the War of Crystal Blue Persuasion. And the people actually promulgating this war aren’t losing dink.

      08/28/15 8:35 AM | Comment Link

    • As Obama's War In Iraq And Syria Rumbles On, Are Intel Books Getting Cooked? said...


      […] And writing at his We Meant Well blog on Thursday, former U.S. diplomat Peter Van Buren, who served in Iraq in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion ordered by President Bush, said the “cooking” of the intelligence books, no matter what the purpose or the politics, is never a good strategy. He writes: […]

      09/15/15 9:01 AM | Comment Link

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