ISIS Coverup: US Centcom Accused Of Lying To President, Congress, Public About Airstrikes, Ground Fight

Tyler Durden's picture

“...there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it as many times as it takes for the naive, largely aloof American public to catch on: the quote excerpted above is the smoking gun when it comes to Washington’s ISIS “strategy.” 

Note that no tin foil hats or conspiracy theories are needed. The passage shown above is from a 2012 declassified Pentagon report on the situation in Syria (you can read it in full here). What it says is that US intelligence was well aware of the possibility that Sunni extremists working to destabilize the Assad government might move to establish a proto-state in eastern Syria based around orthodox, ultra-conservative, Sunni Islam. It also says “the supporting powers to the opposition” (i.e. the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey) would be delighted with such an outcome as it would “isolate” Assad on the way to dealing a strategic death blow to Iran’s Shiite crescent (i.e. Tehran’s regional ambitions). That’s the only possible interpretation of the quote shown above and it’s completely consistent with the information contained in a leaked diplomatic cable sent in 2006 by acting Deputy Chief of Mission in Syria William Roebuck which contained the following “advice” on how to go about destabilizing the Assad government: 

PLAY ON SUNNI FEARS OF IRANIAN INFLUENCE:  There are fears in Syria that the Iranians are active in both Shia proselytizing and conversion of, mostly poor, Sunnis.  Though often exaggerated, such fears reflect an element of the Sunni community in Syria that is increasingly upset by and focused on the spread of Iranian influence in their country through activities ranging from mosque construction to business. Both the local Egyptian and Saudi missions here, (as well as prominent Syrian Sunni religious leaders), are giving increasing attention to the matter and we should coordinate more closely with their governments on ways to better publicize and focus regional attention on the issue. 

Importantly, you don’t have to believe alien corpses are stored at Roswell to grasp what’s going on here. That is, the declassified documents and leaked diplomatic cables clearly indicate that the US planned to play on the Sunni/Shiite divide in Syria and subsequently acquiesced to the establishment of a hardline, Salafist dominion because the CIA and The Pentagon knew that such an outcome was the worst nightmare for the government in Damascus and also for Shiite Iran, whose link to Hezbollah would be cut and whose influence in Iraq would be in jeopardy if a Saudi-backed, Sunni militant group could somehow manage to take and hold large swaths of territory. 

That’s it. That’s the whole ISIS story in a nutshell. There’s no need to speculate on whether the creepy guy lurking in the background of the photos John McCain took with Syrian fighters was in fact Bakr al-Baghdadi. There’s no need to suggest that CIA operatives are on the ground assisting ISIS as we speak or that the US is paradropping weapons to Islamic State in Iraq. And there’s no need to ask whether the US government directly trained and armed ISIS once it became clear who the group was and what they intended to do. That’s not to say that some or even all of those storylines aren’t compelling and/or worth pursuing. It’s just to say that you needn’t posit anything that even looks like it might be a conspiracy theory to understand that at the end of the day, the bottom line - the almost irrefutable truth - is that the US and its regional allies were all-in on the “use Sunni extremists to bring about regime change in Syria” strategy from the word “go”, and the direct result of that strategy is ISIS. 

Where things get really interesting is when we start to consider how America’s strategy towards ISIS shifted once it became clear that, i) they are the most effective force when it comes to fostering instability in Syria, and ii) they are a brutal bunch and could very well end up becoming an international terror organization. 

For Russia’s part, Putin, Lavrov, and Maria Zarakhova contend that the US is deliberately pursuing a policy designed not to destroy the group, but merely to contain it. In short, Moscow says the US is effectively attempting to preserve Islamic State’s ability to operate within Syria and Iraq while simultaneously attempting to keep Frankenstein from escaping the lab, so to speak. Iran takes it a step further than that, but we’ll leave that aside for now. 

America’s newfound zeal for attacking ISIS oil trucks seems to validate this assessment. As we noted earlier this week, it isn’t clear why it took so long for the US to bomb Islamic State oil convoys given that crude is the group’s main source of revenue, but one explanation is that the US didn’t want to cut off Islamic State’s funding, because without money, the group couldn’t fight Assad. Now that the Russians have essentially called Washington out, the US has little choice but to go along with bombing runs against illegal crude shipments because Moscow is going to do it anyway. 

Well don’t look now, but The New York Times is out claiming that according to current and former officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, US Central Command may have been involved in a year long effort to obscure the fact that America’s strategy to combat ISIS simply was not effective (it's actually a follow up to a previous piece which you can read here). Here’s more:

When Islamic State fighters overran a string of Iraqi cities last year, analysts at United States Central Command wrote classified assessments for military intelligence officials and policy makers that documented the humiliating retreat of the Iraqi Army. But before the assessments were final, former intelligence officials said, the analysts’ superiors made significant changes.


In the revised documents, the Iraqi Army had not retreated at all. The soldiers had simply “redeployed.”


Such changes are at the heart of an expanding internal Pentagon investigation of Centcom, as Central Command is known, where analysts say that supervisors revised conclusions to mask some of the American military’s failures in training Iraqi troops and beating back the Islamic State. The analysts say supervisors were particularly eager to paint a more optimistic picture of America’s role in the conflict than was warranted.


In recent weeks, the Pentagon inspector general seized a large trove of emails and documents from military servers as it examines the claims, and has added more investigators to the inquiry.


The exact content of those documents is unclear and may not become public because so much of the information is classified. But military officials have told Congress that some of those emails and documents may have been deleted before they had to be turned over to investigators, according to a senior congressional official, who requested anonymity to speak about the ongoing inquiry. Current and former officials have separately made similar claims, on condition of anonymity, to The New York Times. 


The insurrection inside Centcom is an important chapter in the story of how the United States responded to the growing threat from the Islamic State. This past summer, a group of Centcom analysts took concerns about their superiors to the inspector general, saying they had evidence that senior officials had changed intelligence assessments to overstate the progress of American airstrikes against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

Now why, you might ask, would "senior officials" at Centcom be determined to "overstate the progress of American airstrikes against ISIS"? Were they all scared for their jobs? Were they embarrassed that the group's rise "caught them off guard?" We certainly doubt it, given the bevy of leaked documents which pretty clearly indicate that both The Pentagon and CIA were well aware of what was going on years before the fall of Mosul put the group on the map.

The more likely explanation is that Centcom, probably in conjunction with other intelligence officials, wanted to avoid a scenario whereby The White House and Congress would press for a more aggressive, more conventional military campaign against the group. Not only would that have meant stepped up airstrikes and the possibility that Islamic State's capabilities could be degraded in Syria, but it could also have resulted in a scaling back of the CIA's covert efforts to overthrow Assad. In short, it looks as though the military, in conjunction with the CIA might have been intentionally keeping the President and lawmakers in the dark. As The Times puts it, "at the least, the prospect that senior officials intentionally skewed intelligence conclusions has raised questions about how much Mr. Obama, Congress and the public can believe the military’s assessments." 

For his part, Representative Devin Nunes of California, the Republican chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is concerned and is now "planning to send a letter to the inspector general on Monday asking if emails and documents relevant to the investigation have indeed been deleted" and if so, Nunes wants to know if investigators might be able to retrieve them from Centcom servers.

Amusingly, the Pentagon is pulling a Janet Yellen by citing the ongoing internal investigation (which conveniently is taking longer than expected) on the way to denying Nunes' committee an opportunity to interview officials, including the two most senior intelligence officers at Centcom, Maj. Gen. Steven Grove and his civilian deputy, Gregory Ryckman.

In September, The Guardian suggested that the tendency for Centcom to provide upbeat assessments of the fight against ISIS may have been influenced by James Clapper, the director of national intelligence. Clapper "is said to talk nearly every day with Grove – 'which is highly, highly unusual', according to a former intelligence official," The Guardian reported, adding that "such a situation could place inherent pressure on a subordinate." The "subordinate" in this situation would be Grove. Here's a bit more: 

But one former intelligence official said Clapper “has to be careful of the Cheney effect, going over to the CIA and how does that affect people” – a reference to pressure felt by CIA analysts before the 2003 Iraq invasion to portray Saddam Hussein as posing a more dire threat than he actually did, following then Vice-President Dick Cheney’s direct interaction with far more junior analysts and officials.


“He can be manipulative,” a former senior defense official said of Clapper. For Clapper as a senior US intelligence officer with access to assessments across the 16 US intelligence agencies to query Grove, the Central Command intelligence chief, the ex-official said, “something’s wrong”.


Clapper’s calls, knowledgeable sources speaking on condition of anonymity said, placed Grove in a difficult bureaucratic position: between the nominal leader of the entire US intelligence apparatus and his lower-level analysts, several of whom consider the year-long war against Isis to be in dire straits.

So you decide. Is this the administration pressuring Centcom into telling Obama what he wants to hear, or is this Centcom deliberately obscuring the situation on the ground in order to pursue an agenda being pushed by intelligence officials hell bent on bringing about regime change in Syria even it means keeping ISIS operational? 

Hopefully, we'll get something in the way of answers over the next six or so months, but we're not holding our breath.

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Looney's picture

You didn’t falsify that report. ;-)


FireBrander's picture

Q: Does Trump want a Muslim registry?

A: Who cares; the NSA already has one...on us all.


FireBrander's picture

> The USA does NOT strike known "ISIS Stronghold" Raqqa. Nor do they strike oil caravans that are a source of ISIS funding.

> Russia asks for a list of the "Moderate Groups" (and their locations) the USA is backing (in the fight against ISIS) to avoid blowing up the "Good Guys".

> USA refuses..Somewhat understandable.

> Russia begins leveling Raqqa and destroying the oil to cash machine of ISIS.

> The USA COMPLAINS! Kerry rushes off to the UN calling for a "Cease Fire".

I don't know about you, but I have to conclude that ISIS IS BACKED BY THE USA!

Notice how Obama said "ISIS must be destroyed"...then change the narrative to "ISIS is contained" the goal is not "Destruction" is "containment"...CONTAIN THEM IN SYRIA to facilitate the USA's DESIRE for an "Assad Regime Change"!


johngaltfla's picture

I call bullshit. VJ and Brennan ordered the bull crap strike reports so as to provide the sheeple with some stranger perverse false sense of security.

ebworthen's picture

Do you trust your mechanic?  The more bombs, flights, missions - the more munitions, parts, and money they make.

Deathrips's picture

Today is the 52nd anniversary of the JFK assasination.


This speech titled "The President and the Press". Its funny John must be a psychic because, what he warned about is what we have today.




manofthenorth's picture

Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers 2.0

Some shit just will not change until blood is shed I suppose.

These are the "good 'ol days"

Give thanks you pirates.

Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

Yeah, it looks like the cia is about ready to throw the pentagram under the bus... again... You could tell the cia was getting desperate when one of the former spook directors blamed Snowden for the Paris attacks the other day.

Paveway IV's picture

The CIA is sort of a parallel Deep-State lackey. They are not the Deep State, they just take orders like everyone else. When they won't obey, we create another parallel intel agency: the Defense Intelligence Agency to provide congress and the president the suitable lies. If not them, then they'll make up another 'intelligence agency' for their spew.

Every CENTCOM commander and general officer on their staff for the last three decades should be stripped of rank and court-martialed for treason. After they serve life in a military prison for that, we should ship their tratiorous corpses to the Hague to be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Their names should be erased from history, and their remains should be unceremoniously dumped in the desert in Israel, where they can rest eternally with the masters they served. 

Billy the Poet's picture

In short, it looks as though the military, in conjunction with the CIA might have been intentionally keeping the President and lawmakers in the dark.


This is just like George Tenet throwing himself on his sword over WMD to protect the Bush administration. Yeah, Bush and Obama are puppets but they knew what they were being ask to do in both Iraq and Syria an they did it.

Tao 4 the Show's picture

I once heard Tenet speak after he was out of the CIA. Amazing. I never before or since heard someone give such an impassioned speech for nearly an hour and say absolutely nothing. Really hilarious. I think the passion came from all the things he wanted to say that were redacted by his forever bosses.

macholatte's picture


False Flag

Blaming the MIC (but not naming any individual) for lying to Barry is the only way to save Barry’s ass. It’s the “culture” of lying at the top. The press can’t blame itself and can’t blame anyone in the White House because that would be blaming the Center for American Progress for creating the mess and being the cess pool that it is. Claiming that Barry is clueless, which he is NOT, because he was misled by the CIA is the answer.  Barry is a victim. Saving Barry’s ass is what this is all about. The Country be damned.

"at the least, the prospect that senior officials intentionally skewed intelligence conclusions has raised questions about how much Mr. Obama, Congress and the public can believe the military’s assessments."

What are the names?  Give me the names!!

Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.

John F. Kennedy

Handful of Dust's picture
US scraps its $500million programme to train 'moderate' Syrian rebels after producing fewer than 80 soldiers, most of whom were either shot or ran away


Not one person was demoted after this. It bee becuz wee exceptional!

Urban Roman's picture

It's the Dulles bro's brains in pickle jars calling the shots. They've been kept alive with battery acid and ground-up fetus parts from Planned Parenthood all these years. They keep 'em right next to the freezer with bin Laden in the basement at the CIA... ... ... ...

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) macholatte Nov 22, 2015 4:33 PM

"US Centcom Accused Of Lying To President, Congress, Public..."

Did they say "If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor?"  How about "your premiums will go DOWN $2500/year," when they went up by a LOT more than that?  Those kind of outright lies?

macholatte's picture


If you like your Jihadi you can keep your Jihidi.


Joe Davola's picture

2012 - who was Sec. of State then, and what emails from then have fallen in the bit bucket

gladius17's picture
gladius17 (not verified) macholatte Nov 22, 2015 9:45 PM

"Note that no tin foil hats or conspiracy theories are needed."

Right. That's the entire purpose of this relevation: to distract attention away from the fact that CIA et al have been purposely arming and training ISIS aka the Syrian rebels, while pretending to attack them. The truth is coming out so they throw out this red herring. A limited hangout.

"Wait citizens, not so fast in believing all those whack crazy conspiracy theories! It turns out to be just yet another case of government incompetence! It's an isolated problem and we assure you the persons responsible will be punished. Obama is just as mad as you when he heard it on the news. Now after you're done with your obligatory 15 minutes of outrage and indignation, get back on that fucking hampster wheel. Uncle Sam wants dat money."

jeff montanye's picture

like trump's limited hangout on 9-11: bush and cheney and rumsfeld, et. al. knew an attack was probably coming and let it happen so they could rally public support to fight saddam and the global terrorist network. unstated but implied: kind of like fdr and pearl harbor: you know, for the greater good.

in some ways not that different morally from the real 9-11, largely or entirely an inside job of the mossad, the cia, probably organized crime (starting to sound like our recent anniversary) and larry silverstein (but i repeat myself). however viewed through the "peoples'" eyes, much less icky and damning (i.e. not the kind of thing that would actually get the u.s.-based perps in a courtroom). 

NoDebt's picture

If Obama really wanted to know what was going on there are multiple ways he could have triangluated in on the truth.  He never pursued them.  He was fed what he wanted to hear and since it lined up with his deluded version of reality he saw no reason to look further into the matter.  Military/CIA needed to lie, Obama wanted to be lied to.  A match made in hell.

Obama has no problem ignoring or disagreeing with the military/intel communities on any number of issues (most recently the importation of refugees from this same crisis), but on the matter of the war that caused it... nothing.  Just goes along with the company line.

Oldwood's picture

Intelligence reports are created for the same reason economic reports and analysis are, for PUBLIC consumption, or simply to give cover...plausible deniability. "He was lied to"...."how could he have known?", while everyone here knows what up and has known since virtually the beginning.

It is absolute bullshit to think Obama didn't know what was going on unless he is far dumber than even we give him credit.

xavi1951's picture

I would venture to guess that he is dumber than we give him credit for.


The buck stops somewhere else.

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

~"Is this the administration pressuring Centcom into telling Obama what he wants to hear, or is this Centcom deliberately obscuring the situation on the ground in order to pursue an agenda being pushed by intelligence officials hell bent on bringing about regime change in Syria even it means keeping ISIS operational?"~

Obama INTENTIONALLY misses 75% of his Intelligence briefings. He's already given the CIA and the Pentagon carte blanche. He DOESN'T care about all that shit. He's busy "fundamentally changing" America. That's all he cares about is taking down his perception of "white Amerika". All else, especially if it coincides with plan A, is just fine.

Four chan's picture

hes either golfing or fomenting black treason against america. 

Anonymous User's picture
Anonymous User (not verified) Four chan Nov 23, 2015 3:21 AM

I guess his training for this, for when those suthern republicans will get tired of being stepped on:

jeff montanye's picture

if by black you mean negro or african especially, you are wrong, imo.  obama's treason is of the rainbow variety and, by its nature, draws an overabundance of the ashcannazis.

Calmyourself's picture

All about saving bamsters ass exactlly... He never gave orders to destroy Daesh and if he had they were countermanded minutes after being given by one of his lackeys most likely jarrett.   The fix is in and the pentagram is being thown under the bus, big deal he fired every General worth a shit anyway...  He is going to gut that place before he leaves office and leave the deep state of his choosing in control..

jeff montanye's picture

he does not control the deep state.

conscious being's picture

Macolatte - "What are the names? Give me the names!!"

Some names are in the article - Centcom General Stephen Grove, his civillian deputy(?) Gregory Ryckman, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence.

Funny how a general has a civillian deputy these days. Is this like the political oficer in the old USSR?

YHC-FTSE's picture

+1000 That last paragraph is worthy of applause.

palmereldritch's picture

Here is some helpful and required reading for any potential US President before he or she resides in the Oval Office:

cornflakesdisease's picture

Just remember, the CIA was originally located in New York; to be close to the folks they work for on wall St.

Demdere's picture

I agree, the CIA and entire intelligence world is taking some hits on this.  In days of yore, govs would have fallen.

Tao 4 the Show's picture

This is somewhat interesting:

"at the least, the prospect that senior officials intentionally skewed intelligence conclusions has raised questions about how much Mr. Obama, Congress and the public can believe the military’s assessments."

It is clearly damage control, and if the NYT is pumping out damage control, it means the guys behind the scenes feel a need for it. Net-net, this is one of those rare moments when we get a fairly clear status report.

trader1's picture

how do you know this is not softening you up for the truth?

FixItAgainTony's picture

For example, that the final version MUST be that a low ranking, reserve military intelligence officer falsified a critical report or that his Excel spreadsheet bombed the same village 500 times.  Much like spinning Abu Ghraib's torture operations on 2 hapless, shithead E4s and demoting the facility CO or Iran/Contra on gofer Ollie North.  Standard op is to assemble a narrative with adequate plausible deniability piecemeal, knowing that the authorities will never seek a timely accounting for the record due to a high likelihood of revealing the truth of extralegal and misaligned agendas before all can be blamed on (always publicly acceptable) low level incompetence.

Nassim's picture

Here is the proof that the Americans and their friends - Ukraine and Qatar - are delivering high-powered air defence systems to ISIS

Qatar and Ukraine come to deliver Pechora-2D to ISIS


Billy the Poet's picture

This speech titled "The President and the Press". Its funny John must be a psychic because, what he warned about is what we have today.


In this speech JFK is not revealing that secret societies run America as is popularly believed. A review of the entire speech rather than just a few paragraphs makes this clear. Kennedy referred to the Soviet block as a conspiracy which could only be combated if the US media were more compliant in reporting according to US government dictates. He repeatedly says that he's talking about the "Cold War," which was a political, diplomatic and proxy battle between the US and Russia.


The speech begins with an amusing anecdote about Karl Marx:


"If only this capitalistic New York newspaper had treated him more kindly; if only Marx had remained a foreign correspondent, history might have been different. And I hope all publishers will bear this lesson in mind the next time they receive a poverty-stricken appeal for a small increase in the expense account from an obscure newspaper man."


At the time the US was involved in the Cold War with Russia. Russia was seen as being ahead in the space race and military development. Part of the reason was that while US rockets exploding on the launch pad were freely reported Russian failures were not and so they looked to be superior. Kennedy specifically mentions the Cold War in the text of the speech.


"Today no war has been declared--and however fierce the struggle may be, it may never be declared in the traditional fashion. Our way of life is under attack. Those who make themselves our enemy are advancing around the globe. The survival of our friends is in danger. And yet no war has been declared, no borders have been crossed by marching troops, no missiles have been fired...

It requires a change in outlook, a change in tactics, a change in missions--by the government, by the people, by every businessman or labor leader, and by every newspaper. For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed.  It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match."


JFK then asks the press to censor its reports on US government activities. He is calling for more secrecy, not less .


But I do ask every publisher, every editor, and every newsman in the nation to reexamine his own standards, and to recognize the nature of our country's peril. In time of war, the government and the press have customarily joined in an effort based largely on self-discipline, to prevent unauthorized disclosures to the enemy. In time of "clear and present danger," the courts have held that even the privileged rights of the First Amendment must yield to the public's need for national security...

For the facts of the matter are that this nation's foes have openly boasted of acquiring through our newspapers information they would otherwise hire agents to acquire through theft, bribery or espionage; that details of this nation's covert preparations to counter the enemy's covert operations have been available to every newspaper reader, friend and foe alike; that the size, the strength, the location and the nature of our forces and weapons, and our plans and strategy for their use, have all been pinpointed in the press and other news media to a degree sufficient to satisfy any foreign power; and that, in at least in one case, the publication of details concerning a secret mechanism whereby satellites were followed required its alteration at the expense of considerable time and money....

Every newspaper now asks itself, with respect to every story: "Is it news?" All I suggest is that you add the question: "Is it in the interest of the national security?" And I hope that every group in America--unions and businessmen and public officials at every level-- will ask the same question of their endeavors, and subject their actions to the same exacting tests...

Perhaps there will be no recommendations. Perhaps there is no answer to the dilemma faced by a free and open society in a cold and secret war. In times of peace, any discussion of this subject, and any action that results, are both painful and without precedent. But this is a time of peace and peril which knows no precedent in history."

Deathrips's picture


Thanks for the elaboration Billy.

Yes! They all work for the printing press.

Although I havent looked much into Kennedy, he did get nailgunned. Was it Exectuve order 11110 on silver, mob debt, real patriot killed off a marxist?




Billy the Poet's picture

You're welcome. I knew you'd be open to an expanded examination of the contents of that speech.

jeff montanye's picture

truly useful.

that speech was a couple weeks after the bay of pigs in april of '61.  if he didn't subsequently change his take on these topics i wonder why it was felt he needed assassinating. 

supposedly he "naively" believed the diem brothers didn't need assassinating either, that busy november in '63. 

obama, still naive after all these years.

Otrader's picture

He did go up vs the FED and I also think the other motive was that Kennedy opposed Israel's (i.e. the Zionist Mafia's) plans to develop nuclear weapons at its (their) Dimona facility in the Negev Desert. Naturally, an official version of events was concocted, denying any Israeli involvement, and claiming that Oswald, the patsy, was a "lone assassin".

jeff montanye's picture

listening to george h w bush choke laugh while he congratulates gerald ford's corpse for helping in the plot is instructive, imo.

Bay of Pigs's picture


Here is the entire speech. Given on April 27th, 1961, ten days after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.

Bob's picture

Very different in emphasis from the cleverly edited version linked above.  Kennedy is shown as a secrecy freak and, much like our gub today wrt to the WOT, expected the Press to protect "National Security" in the good ol' Cold War. 

Mother fucker is just as slick as Obama. 

jeff montanye's picture

well he did have that problem in dallas so perhaps just a hair less slick (or more, shall we say, more naive).