House lawmakers ask for answers on cooked ISIS intel allegations

Thirty-four Republican representatives are asking Defense Secretary Ash Carter for more information on allegations that intelligence on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was altered to make the fight seem like it was going better than it is.

The latest request is on top of ongoing investigations by the Pentagon’s inspector general, the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services committees and the House Oversight and Government Reform and Intelligence committees.

The 34 representatives are specifically concerned about how the cooked intelligence allegations relate to the United States’s foundering training program to equip Syrian rebels to take on ISIS.

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“With these issues in mind, we find reports of senior-level Defense Department staff altering intelligence documents in Syria especially troubling,” they wrote in a letter to Carter this week. “As you have stated, the intelligence-gathering process should remain non-partisan, and senior officials should not alter or disturb the impartiality of the process.”

The multiple investigations stem from allegations, first reported by The New York Times, that senior officials at U.S. Central Command (Centcom) changed analysts’ intelligence reports to paint a rosy picture of the fight against ISIS.

Officials have said Centcom’s reports played a small role in helping senior policymakers come to decisions.

The representatives’ letter also tied in reports that only a few U.S.-trained rebels remain in Syria.

Centcom has said nine of the original class of U.S.-trained rebels remain, while approximately 70 more re-entered Syria last week.

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“Despite Secretary [of State John] Kerry’s efforts to blame training program managers for the shortcomings of this initiative, its failure serves as a larger reflection of this administration’s inability to implement sound foreign policy in Syria or provide true and accurate information to the American people,” the representatives wrote.

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