House Joint Task Force releases statement on Inspector General CENTCOM report

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, former House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, and Joint Task Force leaders Rep. Brad Wenstrup and Rep. Ken Calvert issued the following statement on February 1 in response to the release of the Department of Defense Inspector General report on allegations of the manipulation of intelligence at Central Command.

We appreciate the work of the Inspector General and the effort that was put into this investigation and report.

The report confirms there were numerous problems within the Central Command and that there was an understandable and “widespread perception that CCJ2 senior intelligence leaders were distorting intelligence to present a more positive view of the success of the ISF and a more negative view of the success of ISIIL.” The IG was “struck by the inadequate efforts” by CENTCOM leadership to address these issues, and also found several important procedural shortcomings and a challenging command climate that hindered many analysts’ work.

The Inspector General’s findings echo many of the findings of the Joint Task Force we empaneled last year to examine these issues.  Although the two inquiries were conducted independently, they involved interviews of many of the same individuals and reviewed some of the same material.

We commend the whistleblowers who came forward, through proper channels, to identify the problems. The Joint Task Force’s and Inspector General’s investigations are a direct result of their complaints and should signal to employees throughout the Intelligence Community that appropriate and responsive mechanisms exist to bring concerns forward.

Because the Inspector General’s findings reinforce in several important respects the Joint Task Force’s findings, our committees will carefully consider the 29 recommendations proffered by the Inspector General.  Our committees will monitor and assess their implementation, and we look forward to hearing from analysts within CENTCOM and other Combatant Commands to ensure these issues get resolved quickly. Furthermore, the Committees take whistleblower protections seriously and will closely monitor this situation to ensure whistleblowers are not subject to any retaliation.

Source: HPSCI