Three House panels to investigate whether ISIS intelligence was cooked

Three House committees will jointly investigate allegations U.S. Central Command altered intelligence reports, their chairmen announced Friday.

“Today, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Appropriations Committee established a Joint Task Force to investigate allegations that senior U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) officials manipulated intelligence products,” Reps. David Nunes (R-Calif.), Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney FrelinghuysenNJ House candidate takes dig at Trump's Charlottesville response in campaign ad House passes .2T government funding package for 2018 House approves Harvey aid as debt wrangling begins MORE (R-N.J.) said in a joint statement.

Analysts at Centcom have alleged that senior officials altered their reports to paint a rosier picture of the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The Pentagon’s inspector general is already conducting an investigation into the allegations.

Magazine Foreign Policy reported last month that the task force would be formed.

In their statement, Nunes, Thornberry and Frelinghuysen said the task force would look into the specific allegations, as well as whether there are “systemic problems across the intelligence enterprise in CENTCOM or any other pertinent intelligence organizations.”

Reps. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) will lead the investigation.

“Any accusation of intelligence being altered to fit a political narrative must be fully investigated and those responsible held accountable,” Pompeo said in a written statement. “This matters both to those who gather the intelligence, often at great risk to their personal safety, and to the policymakers who use this intelligence to make what are often life threatening decisions.”

In an interview on Fox News, Thornberry said the issue was too important to wait to investigate until after the inspector general.

“Now there's an inspector-general investigation — we don't want to mess that up — but at the same time we're not going to wait until they conclude,” he told Fox’s Bret Baier. “This is a very serious matter that we have an obligation to get into.”

Democrats are participating, too, he said in the interview. 

“They are participating in the investigation,” he said. “Their staff had been involved in the discussions we have had with a variety of folks from Centcom and elsewhere. So again we want to be careful and do it right, but it's important.”

The task force expects to have preliminary results early next year, according to the chairmen’s statement.