DOD’s Inspector General Investigating Administration Propaganda Again

In the last few weeks, there have been several reports that senior intelligence officials were skewing the intelligence on how (un)successful the military campaign against ISIS has been. “Officials at United States Central Command – the military headquarters overseeing the American bombing campaign and other efforts against the Islamic State – were improperly reworking the conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama, the government officials said,” the New York Times was the first to report.

Patrick Eddington – himself a former CIA whistleblower – put that allegation into historical context, reminding how intelligence agencies have focused on good news going back to the Vietnam War and repeating in the lead-up to the Iraq War.

While the history lesson is worthwhile by itself, Eddington makes another important point. He notes that Department of Defense’s Inspector General, which is investigating the claims, can’t be trusted to carry out such an investigation. “The allegations reported by the Times and the Daily Beast are too serious a matter to be left to the DOD IG, particularly given the DOD IG’s recent track record in dealing with high-profile whistleblower complaints.” Eddington focuses on the treatment that Thomas Drake and other NSA whistleblowers experienced when they alerted DOD’s IG to an ineffective boondoggle designed to make SAIC rich, and argues the Intelligence Community and Source Protection Office should conduct the investigation, particularly since other intelligence agencies may also be politicizing intelligence about Syria.

But there’s an even more important example why DOD’s IG should not be investigating this allegation: as became clear during the investigation into leaks about the Osama bin Laden raid to the makers of Zero Dark Thirty, DOD’s IG may not issue reports on senior DOD officials and will not on people who work in other agencies (as Leon Panetta did when he disclosed classified information). “Due to ‘a longstanding Department policy,’ … referrals of alleged misconduct by senior officials would have to be removed before [the Zero Dark Thirty report] could be published,” Senator Chuck Grassley learned when investigating whistleblower complaints of that investigation.

That’s a problem given that reports blame “senior officials” for the politicization of this intelligence.

DOD’s policy of suppressing information on top officials may only pertain to leaks and not all misconduct. Indeed, DOD’s IG has referred a number of generals for misconduct in recent years.

Yet given how closely this issue – spinning happy stories about our operations in Syria – relates to the prior example – spinning the most positive stories about the Osama bin Laden killing – there’s good reason to worry that DOD IG won’t implicate any senior officials even if they are politicizing the intelligence on Syria.

Investigative journalist Marcy Wheeler writes the “Right to Know” column for ExposeFacts. She is best known for providing in-depth analysis of legal documents related to “war on terrorism” programs and civil liberties. Wheeler blogs at and publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy. Wheeler won the 2009 Hillman Award for blog.

Reprinted from Expose Facts.

4 thoughts on “DOD’s Inspector General Investigating Administration Propaganda Again”

  1. How is DoDIG allowed to do this oversight? It spans the IC community so really needs to be at higher level or joint. BUT DoDIG is under review and accused of manipulating its very own reports. ZeroDarkThirty, USMC Financial statement, Post audit review, etc. huge appearance issue if they did this. Are they looking for new ways to alter reports? Maybe they will hand out coins to those they find did the best at squelching analysis results. The IG office and General Counsel over step their roles and dictate report findings and tone. And if they dont, then the Deputy IGs sit on hard hitting proposed results. Senator Grassley used to grade IG reports and last i knew it was debatable if they passed! Let DoDIG get the doughnuts for those that do solid work but that is as far as they should go. I suppose they could do the work in their AI shop who does ghost phantom work on officials. On rate occassion a report is issued that mirrors an actual IG report but not done by the professional IG staff. But tjey soend a few million dollars for contractors to make their reports look like supermarket tabloids and tweet their lack of results…

  2. IG Schmitz was run out of the IG when he sat on investigations and reports that impacted senior officials so this is 10 plus years of DoDIG leadership covering up! Noe IG leadership has to approve any project start and report issued. So technical experts cant do their jobs unless IG leadership and iverhped staff around them approve. That is not the “supervision” laid out in the IG Act of relationship between IG and head of Audit. This is political censorship

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