CENTCOM Did Not Distort Intelligence

Army Maj. Gen. Mark Quantock told members of Congress Tuesday that US Central Command did not falsify intelligence but is making changes to improve its professional standards and communication procedures as recommended in a DOD Inspector General report issued in January. The investigation was launched after CENTCOM intelligence team members complained that senior leadership was distorting intelligence to fit a falsely positive narrative in the war against ISIS. Testifying on a panel before the House Armed Services oversight and investigations subcommittee, Quantock, who is the director of intelligence for CENTCOM, said “we did not have an intelligence integrity issue,” but “we had communications, leadership, and training issues.” The IG report did not find evidence of intentional falsification or distortion of intelligence among CENTCOM leadership, but Quantock accepted the report’s finding of a “widespread perception” among analysts that leaders were altering intelligence. He said an “aggressive action plan” had already been implemented to address the report’s recommendations. Town hall meetings, weekly briefings, an ombudsman program, and senior leader “walkabouts” have yielded significant gains in climate surveys, where dissatisfaction has moved from 41 percent to 22 percent, which he said is below the combatant command average. Quantock also said CENTCOM has worked to reinforce common analytical standards and to clarify which organization particular analysts report to in the context of a joint operation.