Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo from Kansas is leading the charge against CENTCOM in the latest development that they were altering reports from the ground in Iraq and Syria to paint a “rosier picture” of the progress in the war on ISIS. Rep. Pompeo is one of a handful of leaders in the congressional task force that was developed in 2014 to investigate the matter after 50 ground analysts filed a whistleblower complaint, saying that their reports of what was happening on the ground was being manipulated before going public.
The Kansas Congressman has been making media appearances to speak out about the importance of this latest development and the implications it has on national security.
During a Fox News interview with Abby Huntsman, Rep. Pompeo said the his task force has been working on this investigation for a long time and is sure everything in the report is accurate. What they found in the investigation made it very clear that senior analysts were providing data up to “the very top of the intelligence community inside of CENTCOM and they were changing that data.”
He continued to say that they were taking the data and “politicizing it, manipulating it, and making it look like America was being more successful against ISIS than we really were.”
When asked why the administration would want to “paint a rosier picture” Rep. Pompeo said, “the culture inside this administration is that bad news doesn’t sell well.” He continued that, “they wanted to tell a story that ISIS was the JV, that we had Al-Qaeda on the run.”
He also explained the internal political side of it stating that, “everyone in the Administration understood that the story you wanted to tell to your leaders if you wanted to get promoted, if you wanted to be successful, was one of success.”
Rep. Pompeo continued by referring to the fact manipulation and said that “these are the kinds of things that get people killed.”
During an interview with CBS News, Rep. Pompeo confirmed that the fault of the manipulation comes from the higher ups, stating that “this information from talented career professionals inside the analytic arm at CENTCOM did their job and accurately depicted what was going on on the ground, but when it got to very senior levels, that information was changed.”
Rep. Pompeo also posted an official statement concerning CENTCOM on his government website.
“The cultural breakdown in Central Command’s intelligence process resulted from an administration-wide understanding that bad news from Iraq and Syria was not welcomed. Claims that ISIS was the ‘JV team’ and that al-Qaeda was ‘on the run’ were both a result—and a cause—of the politicization of intelligence at CENTCOM.” Rep. Pompeo continued that, “this intelligence manipulation provided space for both ISIS and al-Qaeda to grow and it put America at risk.”
“Intelligence products always contain some level of uncertainty” Rep. Pompeo said, “but during this period, nearly every error was in one direction: downplaying the threat from radical Islamic terror consistent with the administration’s narrative that this threat was not significant.”
Rep. Pompeo finishes the statement by urging “the Department of Defense Inspector General to hold accountable the intelligence leaders that failed our service members fighting our wars on the ground.”