Ten Most Troubling Finds Inside House Probe of Pentagon’s ‘Distorted’ Intel on Islamic State

islamic-state-executions-640x480Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, Aug. 13, 2016:

TEL AVIV – A damning investigation by House Republicans released on Wednesday has found that the intelligence arm of the U.S. Military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) routinely produced intelligence that “distorted, suppressed, or substantially altered” the results of the campaign against the Islamic State.

Breitbart Jerusalem reviewed the House report and herein presents the ten most troubling finds, in no particular order.

1 – Top CENTCOM leaders modified intelligence assessments to present an “unduly positive” assessment of combating the Islamic State and training the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).

The complaint alleges that senior leaders within the CENTCOM Intelligence Directorate and JIC, including the Director of Intelligence and other senior intelligence staff, violated regulations, tradecraft standards, and professional ethics by modifying intelligence assessments to present an unduly positive outlook on CENTCOM efforts to train the ISF and combat ISIL.

Media outlets have also raised allegations of possible reprisals against individuals within the CENTCOM Intelligence Directorate. …

According to multiple interviewees, operational reporting was used as a justification to alter or “soften” an analytic product so it would cast U.S. efforts in a more positive light. No interview provided any instances where operational reporting was used as a justification to come to a more pessimistic conclusion. Additionally, numerous interviewees indicated that analytical products which conflicted with operational reporting were routinely subject to more stringent scrutiny than those that did not.

2 – Intelligence analysts declined to be interviewed, possibly out of fear of reprisals from CENTCOM leadership, while the interviews that did take place were under the watchful eyes of DOD officials.

Additionally, the Joint Task Force requested interviews with four more analysts whose positions provided them with visibility into the allegations. These analysts declined to be interviewed. Although they did not express their reasons for declining, the Joint Task Force is concerned that some of the analysts may have done so out of fear of potential reprisals for their testimony.

For example, as the Joint Task Force’s interviews were commencing, the Director of the DIA publicly characterized reports of the whistleblower’s allegations as exaggerations.

It must also be noted that, pursuant to longstanding arrangements between DOD and the Armed Services Committee, DOD insisted on having department officials present during Joint Task Force interviews.

3 – CENTCOM intel agents operated within a ‘toxic’ leadership environment.

The Republican lawmakers fingered CENTCOM leaders, and noted the intelligence process was cleaner under previous officials and Lloyd Austin III, who served as commander from 2013 to 2016. Dozens of analysts viewed the “subsequent leadership environment as toxic”:

Survey results provided to the Joint Task Force demonstrated that dozens of analysts viewed the subsequent leadership environment as toxic, with 40% of analysts responding that they had experienced an attempt to distort or suppress intelligence in the past year.

4 – General Austin’s claim to Congress that IS was in a “defensive crouch” did not reflect the data possessed at the time by CENTCOM senior leaders.

Although no interviewee remembered the process of preparing the specific press releases and congressional testimony highlighted here, interviewees described a process in which congressional testimony and public affairs statements did not necessarily reflect contemporaneous intelligence assessments. In particular, the Joint Task Force was dismayed to learn that Intelligence Directorate senior leaders seemed unfamiliar with General Austin’s statements to Congress that ISIL was in a “defensive crouch” and indicated this characterization did not reflect their best assessments at the time.

5 – CENTCOM established an intelligence “fusion center” for IS-related intel, but kept out analysts whose views conflicted with senior intelligence leaders.

In June 2014, with the ISIL threat apparent, CENTCOM established an intelligence “fusion center,” a specially equipped JIC facility staffed around-the-clock, to serve as a “focal point” for ISIL-related intelligence. Interviewees recalled only informal communications noting the center’s establishment, and some were also uncertain about the center’s organizational structure, responsibilities, and how it was determined which JIC analysts would participate. The establishment of the Intelligence Fusion Center also removed some analysts who had the most experience with respect to ISIL and Iraq, including those whose analytic views often conflicted with those of CENTCOM’s senior intelligence leaders, from the production of daily intelligence products. This impact was especially significant given the critical analytic tasks of the Intelligence Fusion Center at this time of paramount importance in the theater.

6 – Restrictions were implemented for analysts whose views dissented from the mainstream inside CENTCOM.

Public statements by CENTCOM representatives emphasized close collaboration with other elements of the IC, but many interviewees indicated that in late 2014, senior CENTCOM Intelligence Directorate leaders instructed analysts to cease all external coordination with other IC analysts. The authority to coordinate was restricted to senior officials only, including to leaders of the Fusion Center. Other special arrangements were also put into place to notify the Director of Intelligence in the event that analysts sought to formally “dissent” from analysis produced elsewhere. The restrictions on collaboration have since been partially rescinded.

7 – Analysis was minimized in favor of details from coalition forces while intelligence was skewed to be ‘optimistic.’

Furthermore, senior leaders also relied on details reported from coalition forces rather than more objective and better documented intelligence reporting. The Joint Task Force can find no justifiable reason why operational reporting was repeatedly used as a rationale to change the analytic product, particularly when the changes only appeared to be made in a more optimistic direction. By supplanting analytic tradecraft with unpublished and ad hoc operational reporting, Joint Intelligence Center (JIC) leadership circumvented important processes that are intended to protect the integrity of intelligence analysis.

8 – Shocking survey results showed analysts believed data was “distorted, suppressed, or substantially altered” by their supervisors.

The annual Analytic Objectivity and Process Survey, directed by the ODNI, was conducted from August through October 2015, and included responses from 125 analysts and managers within CENTCOM. The survey results were significantly worse than those of other IC agencies or COCOMs, and showed that a substantial number of CENTCOM respondents felt their supervisors distorted, suppressed, or substantially altered analytic products.

Over 50% of analysts responded that CENTCOM procedures, practices, processes, and organizational structures hampered objective analysis, and 40% responded that they had experienced an attempt to distort or suppress intelligence in the past year. Yet despite receiving these results in December 2015, CENTCOM and IC leaders did not take corrective actions to address many of the issues identified in the survey results.

9 – Even after whistleblower complaints and the “alarming” internal survey last year, the Pentagon took no steps to correct its allegedly distorted intelligence process.

The Joint Task Force is troubled that despite receiving the whistleblower complaint in May 2015 and receiving alarming survey results in December 2015, neither CENTCOM, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, nor the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) took any demonstrable steps to improve the analytic climate within CENTCOM. The survey results alone should have prompted CENTCOM and IC leaders to take corrective action without other inducements.

10 – Mirroring the Benghazi House Committee’s complaints against the State Department, the Joint Task Force here writes it “did not receive access to all the materials it requested” and details a process of denying information and records.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

With research by Joshua Klein.

DNC Speech: Hillary Clinton Deletes Foreign Policy Disasters as Secretary of State

Getty Images

Getty Images

Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, July 29, 2016:

PHILADELPHIA – Notoriously missing from Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech here at the Democratic National Convention was a list of any significant accomplishments from her time as Secretary of State.

The words “secretary of state” only appeared twice in her speech.

One of those times she stated, “I have to tell you, as your Secretary of State, I went to 112 countries, and when people hear those words – they hear America.”

Here, she seems to be brandishing her foreign travel as a signature achievement while she was one of the nation’s highest serving diplomats.

The second and final direct mention of her former State position came when she exclaimed, “As you know, I’m not one of those people. I’ve been your First Lady. Served 8 years as a Senator from the great State of New York. Then I represented all of you as Secretary of State.”

When she did briefly mention her record, Clinton mostly spoke in generalities and she seemed to be combining her time as  a Senator and Secretary of State.

She stated:

Look at my record.  I’ve worked across the aisle to pass laws and treaties and to launch new programs that help millions of people.  And if you give me the chance, that’s what I’ll do as President.

I’m proud that we put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot – now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel’s security.

I’m proud that we shaped a global climate agreement – now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves.

I’m proud to stand by our allies in NATO against any threat they face, including from Russia.

While she didn’t outline her role in the talks with Iran that led to the nuclear agreement with Tehran, Clinton did tangentially mention the Iran deal. “I’m proud that we put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot – now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel’s security.”

Absent from her DNC speech was Clinton’s central role in the U.S.-NATO intervention in Libya in 2011, a military campaign that directly resulted in the destabilization of that country and its subsequent descent into chaos. Islamic extremists have since taken over large swaths of Libya, and have used the country as a staging ground to attempt to infiltrate Europe.

Islamic terrorists infamously carried out deadly attacks on the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Clinton did not bring up her State Department’s role in denying security requests to the woefully unsecure U.S. facility.

Clinton further failed to mention her strong support for the so-called Arab Spring, including the toppling of the regime of Hosni Mubarak, a staunch U.S. ally, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s resultant rise to power there until a military coup in 2013.

Clinton referenced the threat of the Islamic State without explaining that the global jihadist group has taken up sanctuary in countries that were destabilized during her tenure as Secretary of State.

She stated:

I’ve laid out my strategy for defeating ISIS. We will strike their sanctuaries from the air, and support local forces taking them out on the ground. We will surge our intelligence so that we detect and prevent attacks before they happen. We will disrupt their efforts online to reach and radicalize young people in our country. It won’t be easy or quick, but make no mistake – we will prevail.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

EXCLUSIVE – Top Jihadist Claims Brussels, Paris Are Terror Rehearsals for ‘Big’ Attack Inside U.S.

afp_810175b0c23b8af46522989762e313048280849b-640x358Breitbart Jerusalem, March 26, 2016:

TEL AVIV – The deadly terrorist attacks in Brussels last week and in Paris last November are dress rehearsals for a coming “big” attack inside the United States, a leading Islamic State-allied militant claimed in an exclusive interview.

Abu al-Ayna al-Ansari, a Salafist movement senior official in the Gaza Strip, made the claim in a pre-recorded, hour-long interview to air in full on Sunday on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” the popular weekend talk radio program broadcast on New York’s AM 970 The Answer and NewsTalk 990 AM in Philadelphia.  Klein doubles as Breitbart’ssenior investigative reporter and Jerusalem bureau chief.

Ansari is a well-known Gazan Salafist jihadist allied with Islamic State ideology.  During the interview with Klein, Ansari seemed to be speaking as an actual IS member, repeatedly using the pronoun “we” when referring to IS and even seemingly making declarations on behalf of IS.

IS has been reluctant to officially declare its presence in Gaza for fear of a Hamas clampdown, but the group is known to be active in the coastal enclave and Ansari is a suspected IS leader.  IS-aligned militants have taken responsibility for recent rocket fire from Gaza aimed at Israel.

Klein asked Ansari whether IS maintains cells inside the U.S. and if the terrorist group is “planning anything in America.”

Ansari responded:

Aaron, the battle with America is a very long one, a very tough one, a very hard one. America has a black record with the mujahedeen, and this black record will not be purified but with blood, and lots of blood. Only blood will cleanse what America did to the mujahedeen. And I can confirm that our leadership made it very clear thatwhat happened in Paris, what happened in Brussels was only a small rehearsal before the big thing that will happen in America.

This is the commitment; this is the engagement of our leadership to the mujahedeen. I cannot give details and the truth is that I don’t know the small details – how many agents we have and where we have them. This depends on our leaders, the Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the general military commander, Abu Omar al-Shishani. They will decide when and where to strike in the United States.

But I can tell you that when we are in touch with our different components, with the leaders of the Islamic State.  They confirm, they make it very sure and very clear that it is only a question of time when there will be a strike in America.  And as I said before, what you saw in Paris, what you saw in Brussels will be only a small rehearsal in comparison with what will happen in the United States.

Ansari’s reference to senior Islamic State commander Abu Omar al-Shishani as alive and active comes after the Pentagon announced earlier this month that a U.S. airstrike on March 4 near al-Shaddadi, Syria targeted al-Shishani.  The Pentagon did not make an official statement about whether al-Shashani was killed in the strike, but it told reporters on background that he was “likely killed.”  IS has denied that Shishani was killed.

Also see:

LISTEN: Breitbart’s Klein Warns Shiite-Sunni Mega Confrontation ‘Coming’

Militant website via AP

Militant website via AP

Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, Jan. 28, 2016:

TEL AVIV – The Islamic State, Al-Qaida, and the Muslim Brotherhood are preparing for a major confrontation with Western-backed forces in Libya, Syria, and beyond, reported Breitbart Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein.

Speaking during his regular segment on John Batchelor’s popular nighttime radio program, Klein highlighted recent events that he said indicate a looming confrontation between Shiite and Sunni-armed forces.

Listen to Klein’s interview on Batchelor’s show here:

Klein pointed to a recent report at Breitbart Jerusalem indicting the Libyan branches of the Islamic State, Al-Qaida, and the Muslim Brotherhood are in discussions to complete a “mega merger” in the country.

Klein connected the merger prospects to a report claiming dozens of Russian, American, and British troops have been deployed to Libya ahead of an offensive there against the Islamic State.

Also, on Friday Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, urged decisive military action to halt the progress of IS in Libya, warning the global terrorist group was seeking to use the country as a regional headquarters and staging base.

And Klein discussed Breitbart Jerusalem reports of Iran arming regional terrorist organizations while competing for influence with the larger Saudi/Sunni axis.

Klein told Batchelor’s audience of the possible al-Qaida-Islamic State merger:

Aaron Klein audio

“They are reading the tea leaves. They are seeing the larger Sunni-Shiite divide, which has been escalating exponentially in recent weeks… They are seeing that there are no borders anymore.

There are no borders in Libya, there are no borders in Syria largely to speak of. The Turkish border is quite a mess. Yemen is in question.

So my analysis is that al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State and others are seeing some sort of coming confrontation, maybe not between the U.S. and Russia but between proxies backed by the Saudis on the one hand and backed by Iran on the other.

There is a lager confrontation that they understand is coming against them in Libya and then ultimately beyond in Yemen and in Syria.”

ANALYSIS: ISIS Chemical Weapons Threat To US, Europe ‘Very Real’

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, Nov. 20, 2015:

The threat of Islamic State radicals carrying out chemical attacks on Western targets is real and must be taken seriously by law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and across Europe.

The threat was red-flagged on Thursday in the form of an unusual warning from French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who said his country is at risk of chemical and biological terrorist attacks.

While presenting a bill to extend the state of emergency declared after last Friday’s jihadi rampage in Paris, Valls stated, “We know that there could also be a risk of chemical or biological weapons.”

His use of the words “we know” may be telling.

Does the French government have specific information regarding a terrorist plot to use nonconventional weapons? Did European interrogators extract such information from any of the suspects arrested in connection with the Paris attacks, including those nabbed during a raid yesterday in a Paris suburb?

That raid, which targeted 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind behind the attacks, was carried out after French authorities received “information from tapped phone calls, surveillance, and tipoffs,” the AP reported.   Did this intelligence collection effort yield information on a chemical or biological threat?

Valls’ not-so-veiled warning came as ISIS released a new propaganda video making threats against New York City, mixing images of Manhattan’s Times and Herald Squares with suicide bombers preparing to blow themselves up.

ISIS is known to possess the ability to manufacture chemical weapons and has already been accused of using them against civilians in Iraq and Syria.

In September, a U.S. official told the BBC that the American government is increasingly certain that ISIS extremists are making and using chemical weapons, including mustard gas. The official said ISIS has a cell dedicated to building these weapons and has already packed the powder form of mustard gas in traditional explosives.

That information was echoed by U.S. and Iraqi officials in comments made to the Associated Press on Thursday.  The officials confirmed ISIS is aggressively pursuing the development of chemical weapons.

Perhaps more alarming is the threat of Western ISIS fighters trained in the use of chemical weapons returning to Europe and the U.S. from Iraq and Syria.

In March, an Egyptian intelligence official told me the Egyptian government provided the US with information that indicated ISIS is attempting to purchase chemical materials such as chlorine gas that can be utilized in terrorist attacks.

Also in March, the Kurdistan Regional Security Council in Iraq claimed ISIS had deployed weaponized chlorine gas in recent attacks. Battlefield use of the deadly substance is banned by the international Chemical Weapons Convention.

The Kurdish claim was not independently verified. However, the BBC reported that the Iraqi government presented the news agency with “evidence” that ISIS fighters were using chlorine gas in roadside bomb attacks, with videos showing bomb disposal teams carrying out controlled explosions that sent orange smoke into the air, a sign that the gas was present.

In addition, a chemical weapons expert warned that ISIS militants returning to the West could deploy chemical weapons inside the US or Britain, perhaps against transportation infrastructure or at a sports stadium.

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former commanding officer at the Joint Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Regiment, warned, “It is very evident that ISIS are putting much time and effort into training its jihadis in the use of chlorine as a terror weapon and in particular in IEDs (improvised explosive devices).”

Writing at 2paragraphs.com, Bretton-Gordon continued, “Virtually every foreign jihadi who returns to the U.S. or U.K. will have been exposed to training of this sort and will have a reasonable idea on how to use chlorine and other toxic chemicals as a terror weapon.”

He noted that, in the U.K. at least, up to 90 tons of chlorine can be purchased without a license.

Bretton-Gordon, who advised British security forces in Baghdad earlier this year, told the London Daily Mirror that a chlorine gas attack in the U.K. was “highly likely.”

“This could happen on a train or tube or even at a big football match.”

ISIS Supporter To Breitbart: ‘We’re Coming For The U.S.’ – ‘We’ll Shake Your Existence’

nusra-front-black-flag-AP-640x480Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, Nov. 17, 2015:

Abu Al-Ayna al-Ansari, leader of an ISIS-aligned Salafi jihadist group in the Gaza Strip, said he believes ISIS will strike the home fronts of “all countries that participate in the anti-Islamic State coalition” in Syria and Iraq.

“The [Islamic] State will not leave these countries alone without them having to suffer from the blows of the Mujahideen in a way that will let them understand that their war is lost,” the terrorist said. “There is no way that ISIS territory remains under aerial bombardment without a violent retaliation deep in the capitals of those countries.”

Ansari addressed the possibility of attacks inside the U.S., saying, “Certainly the Mujahideen of the Islamic State will not hesitate to attack the head of the infidel states and the head of global terrorism – America – and all those who support the U.S. and back it in its crusade war against the Muslims in Syria and Iraq.”

Ansari further stated that “the Mujahideen of the Islamic state are waiting for every opportunity in order to carry out attacks in all countries of the crusader coalition.”

The gunman continued with a diatribe against “America and the Jewish enemy, as well as Russia and all the infidel Western countries that take part in the crusade against our brothers, the Mujahideen.”

He warned that these countries “must wait for more of our strikes that will shake their existence. Wars are dynamic and the battle will move soon to the depth of their homes, it will happen sooner or later.”

Al Ansari added that “the little drop of the Russian plane was the beginning and the blessed invasion of Paris will not be the end. … Our Mujahideen are scattered everywhere and will not hesitate to offer their lives for the sake of Allah.”

He was asked how ISIS can justify the indiscriminate killing of civilians in Paris, some of whom may have been Muslims.

Ansari sidestepped the question, asking, “Does France and America and their followers of the Cross alliance differentiate between civilians and armed Mujahideen when they bombard innocent civilians in Raqqa, in Aleppo and in Mosul?”

When Breitbart Jerusalem persisted, Ansari claimed that “dozens of civilians” are killed in “the daily raids of the crusader coalition and then you lie to the world by saying the raids target the headquarters and sites of the Islamic State.”

“The civilian victims and the areas targeted prove that it has nothing to do with the ISIS infrastructure,” he claimed.

Ansari went on to bash reports that Middle Eastern refugees may have participated in the Paris massacres. The passport of a Syrian refugee was found on or near the body of one of the suicide bombers, and Greece subsequently confirmed that it was used by a refugee registered on the island of Leros in early October. The same passport was used to cross the southern border of Serbia a few days later.

Nonetheless, Ansari said that “Such claims have nothing to do with reality and are not true. No refugee is among the brothers who carried out these blessed attack. … No refugee who wanted to come and live in France was chosen for this attack.

“Some political forces are trying to exploit the incident in a campaign against the refugees. Even before the Paris attack, those political forces were against the migrants for numerous reasons that are connected to the nature of their countries and to their general position on the migration phenomenon.”

Ansari failed to mention that ISIS documents released in February announced that the group was planning to use Libya as a “gateway” to smuggle refugees into Europe.

The ISIS material further raised the possibility of storming southern European cities to cause “pandemonium” or attempting to close international shipping lines in the Mediterranean Sea.

U.S. Warned By Ex-Mossad Chief: Time For Armed Guards At Cafes, Malls and Clubs

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Very excited to see the launch of Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau with Aaron Klein reporting. I have been following him at WND for a long time and his work is excellent. Now if only they would open a Canadian bureau with Ezra Levant and his band of Rebels?

Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, Nov. 17, 2015:

TEL AVIV, Israel – The U.S. and European countries should seriously consider adapting the Israeli model of combatting terrorism in order to fight an increasingly aggressive Islamic State, former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit told Breitbart Jerusalem.

These measures include deploying armed guards to protect soft targets like restaurants, shopping centers, and movie theaters.

“You have to strike the right balance between defense and offense,” posited Shavit, who led Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency from 1989 to 1996. “If you adopt only the defensive strategy, pretty soon you realize that your investments achieve a prohibitive level.”

Shavit argued that the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday need to be analyzed in the wider context of other purported ISIS assaults over the past week. These include the group’s claim that it downed a Russian airliner over Egypt, as well as a double suicide attack in Beirut on Thursday.

These three events, said Shavit, indicate a change in ISIS strategy. “Until recently, ISIS was involved in killing other Arabs and Muslims, but now they have made a strategic change in their strategy. They have decided to go after what they call the infidels, and kill not only Arabs and Muslims but also Europeans and others.”

“Being able to perpetrate all of these terrorist attacks within one week in territories very far from each other indicates a high level of capability and preparedness,” he said.

Shavit stated that the U.S. and Europe should utilize the Israeli model of fighting terrorism, which consists of three main elements:

  • Intelligence. “The more intelligence you have, the smaller the threat you will have to face,” said Shavit. “And because of that, any investment in improving intelligence is worthwhile and proves itself every time.”
  • Defense: “The Israeli strategy consists of guards at each and every mall, train station, and so on and so forth,” he said.
  • Offense: Take the war directly to ISIS strongholds, perhaps by aiding Kurdish and moderate Sunni Arab ground forces with airstrikes.“My advice, if asked, is to develop a comprehensive strategy consisting first and foremost of good intelligence and then the right balance between offensive and defensive measures,” said Shavit. He also criticized the Western powers for failing to adequately arm the Kurds.

“I want to point to the Kurds, whom I know in person,” he said. “They are the most courageous warriors in that part of the world and had the West, namely the U.S. and European countries, given them enough armored vehicles and tanks, the Kurds could have been the arm that fights ISIS directly on the ground with the cooperation of Western air forces. Together, they can do the work and achieve the aim I described to you.”