A Republican task force in the House released a report today wherein lawmakers found the manipulation of crucial military in an effort to paint an unrealistically optimistic picture of America’s fight against ISIS.
Intelligence generated by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) differed from the on-the-ground conclusions, according to task force member Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.)
"The facts on the ground didn't match what the intelligence was saying out of the United States Central Command," Pompeo said on CBS's “This Morning.”
"There's enormous evidence about how this information from talented career professionals inside the analytic arm at CENTCOM did their job and accurately depicted what was going on on the ground,” Pompeo said. “But when it got to very senior levels, that information was changed.”
The task force did not find evidence of orders to manipulate the intelligence coming from the White House, according to CBS.
Their findings do, however, appear to confirm reports about the politicization of military intelligence and could be detrimental to the Obama administration.
President Obama rose to office in large part because of his staunch opposition to the war in Iraq, which was built upon faulty intelligence about Saddam Hussein acquiring weapons of mass destruction. For his administration to have fallen into the same trap would be deeply embarrassing and could undermine its claims about the international fight against ISIS and other extremists.
The Obama administration has frequently heralded the military gains against ISIS in its self-proclaimed caliphate, even as the extremist group has expanded its operations around the globe.
Last year, numerous intelligence analysts allegedly complained that their assessments were either suppressed or doctored to make America’s efforts appear more effective. Those complaints made their way to the Pentagon’s inspector general who opened an investigation into the matter.
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Two former Drug Enforcement Administration employees were convicted of lying to the government about owning a New Jersey strip club during their top secret clearance application process.
After a two-week trial, a Federal District Court jury in Manhattan found the defendants, Glen Glover and David Polos, guilty on all counts, including omitting any mention of the club when filling out a federal form in 2011 that asked for a listing of all employment, including “full-time and part-time work, paid or unpaid.” They were also found guilty of conspiring to hide their connection with the club, the Twins Plus Go-Go Lounge in South Hackensack, New Jersey.
Polos, a former Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Glover, a DEA Information Technology Specialist, were running an exotic club where drug use was rampant and dancers — many of whom were illegal immigrants — engaged in sex acts with their clients, prosecutors said.
Polos also failed to disclose his intimate relationship with a Brazilian foreign national who worked as a dancer at the club after entering the United States illegally. Polos was thus convicted of an additional count of lying on the form by stating he did not have “close or continuing contact” with any foreign national.
Lawyers for the defendants both said they were surprised by the verdict, stating their intent to have it set aside.
“We respect the jury’s verdict, but we don’t think they committed any crime,” said Marc Mukasey, a lawyer for Mr. Polos.
Cathy Fleming, a lawyer for Mr. Glover, said she would renew a motion for a judgment of acquittal that she had made before the trial. If that did not succeed, she said, she would appeal.
Prosecutors said the defendants wanted to preserve the top-secret security clearance they had as DEA employees, which would most certainly have been revoked had their ownership of the club come up. Defense lawyers argued the two did not lie because they considered themselves mere investors in Twins Plus, not employees of the club, reports The New York Times.
Glover and Polos both worked regular managerial shifts at the Club in the months prior to and following their submission of the national security forms. They also hired, fired, and paid bartenders, dancers, and bouncers; supervised the Club’s renovation, advertised the Club in local periodicals; manned a back office available only to employees; remotely monitored video camera feed from the Club when not present; and generally tended to various Club-related matters. GLOVER and POLOS at times attended to Club matters during DEA work hours, according to a statement released by the Department of Justice.
Glover and Polos were arrested in May 2015. Glover faces up to 10 years in prison and has been placed on an indefinite suspension, while Polos retired shortly before he was arrested and faces up to 15 years in prison. A sentencing date has yet to be set.
Federal law enforcement agencies have lost nearly 1,000 guns since 2006. The Department of Homeland Security, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons lose countless guns, grenades, bullets, and other “expendables” every year to theft and poor inventory tracking.
Uzis, assault rifles, and grenade launchers are among the ever-growing list of missing firearms.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is investigating the severity of the problem and whether any progress has been made after the Justice Department Office of the Inspector General exposed these issues in multiple reports dating back to 2003, reports Federal News Radio.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said, "The loss of single firearm is cause for concern – the loss of what amounts to roughly five a month is unacceptable."
Department of Justice IG, Michael Horowitz, said after its most recent audit, the Bureau of Prisons (BoP) implemented three of the 14 recommendations listed in the report–roughly the amount of progress he expected.
Under the current inventory system, BoP does not have a way to track “expendables,” making it near impossible to decipher what was being used from what may have been stolen, Horowitz said.
Additionally, the inventory was improperly coded. Meadows said that bureau had coded $67,000 worth of inmate clothing and $15,000 of feminine hygiene products as body armor, and $113,000 of food coded as chemical weapons and equipment. Meanwhile, DHS had a firearm procurement code “for the cable dude.”
Thomas Kane, acting director of the bureau, said that a new inventory control system would be in place in early winter of 2017, and updates on the system would be available in spring.
Meanwhile, Jeff Orner, DHS’ chief readiness support officer, said most of the missing guns DHS were stolen out of cars. DHS loses 69 firearms per year on average, and 75 percent of those are to theft. In 2015, it reported 72 lost firearms, and 16 of those were recovered.
In response, DHS installed gun lockers in all official vehicles and mandated that if a gun was in a vehicle without the officer, it had to be in the locker, and the car had to be locked as well.
Orner said every incident is investigated, but they don’t always result in disciplinary action.
“The actions taken as a result of those losses depend on the nature of the incident,” Orner said. “Somebody who does not follow procedures and leaves a weapon on the seat of a car, that would mandate a disciplinary action. On the other hand, if you have for example a Coast Guard officer doing a boarding who is jostled and loses the weapon overboard, that’s an entirely different type of situation, although it’s still a lost weapon.”
This isn’t the first time federal officers have lost their government-issued firearms. In 2014, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed that ATF agents lose their guns all the time in bars, bathroom stalls, movie theaters, and hospitals. In one instance, an agent left his sidearm on top of the car (forgot it was still there) and drove off.
Over at the Bureau of Land Management, officials have lost eight firearms since 2005. One in the mail, while the other seven were stolen. Six of those were recovered. One was used in a shooting in San Francisco in 2015 after it had been stolen out of a personal vehicle four days prior.
BLM has 1,480 firearms, 1,048 of which are issued to officers, while rest are used for training and ceremonial purposes, or are inoperable. BLM issues four weapons to each of its officers: a primary semi-automatic handgun, a backup semi-automatic handgun, a shotgun and a semi-automatic rifle.
“We have got to know where these ammunition and weapons are going,” Rep. Jode Hice (R-Ga.) said. “We have got to get to the bottom of this. Americans should never fear the irresponsibility of our government agents who are incapable of keeping properly a weapon issued by our government.”