Richard Haas, an American diplomat and president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said on Monday there are serious implications if a recent New York Times report suggesting the Obama administration “cooked” intel on the Islamic State turns out to be true.
“I hope it’s not true. I hope it’s not true,” Haas said. “The principle requirement of intelligence analysts is to speak truth to power. It’s not to make them comfortable, it’s to make them smart and aware.”
He continued, “If it is true, it’d be very interesting to know exactly where the pressure is coming from because it’s corrosive. It means you can’t then trust what policy is based on. So it is truly, truly a bad thing if, again, it is true.”
More from the New York Times report:
The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials have skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress, according to several officials familiar with the inquiry.
The investigation began after at least one civilian Defense Intelligence Agency analyst told the authorities that he had evidence that 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.
Fuller details of the claims were not available, including when the assessments were said to have been altered and who at Central Command, or Centcom, the analyst said was responsible. The officials, speaking only on the condition of anonymity about classified matters, said that the recently opened investigation focused on whether military officials had changed the conclusions of draft intelligence assessments during a review process and then passed them on.
Haas also criticized the White House for downplaying the challenge of defeating the Islamic State in the face of the deadly Paris terrorist attacks.