I am a retired United States Marine Corps Reserve Colonel. I have served in Iraq, briefly in Afghanistan, and in numerous contingency operations throughout my career. I held one of the highest security clearances one can have in the military.
With the reports coming out of the United States Central Command and the Department of Defense that intelligence estimates were altered concerning ISIS is mind-boggling at best.
President Obama has promised to launch an investigation into these alleged reports. An investigation from the Executive Branch is unsound, unwise, and inappropriate.
No one group in the United States military would deliberately alter any intelligence estimate without direct coercion from senior officials. Should someone be directed by the White House to alter an assessment, a less than honorable person, feeling pressure from the White House, may bow to such pressure. Bowing to such pressure is extremely unlikely, however, for the vast majority of military personnel regardless of their political affiliation.
It is next to impossible that someone would have altered such reports without direct intervention from the White House or an emissary of the President.
The system of intelligence collection to include human and signal intelligence is so diverse that any altered report coming out of one collection effort would be contradicted by another. The system is redundant and is designed to be such to prevent just this sort of thing from occurring.
In the movie the "Bridge of Spies" the complexities of intelligence and counterintelligence efforts were juxtaposed throughout the movie and illustrated how difficult it would be to manufacture intelligence. Systems are designed to identify and isolate inconsistencies.
The story manufactured by the White House concerning their alleged outrage over the potentially altered intelligence estimates is laughable. There are just too many other agencies that would have contradicted estimates coming out of one major combatant command – the United States Central Command. Agency analysts at the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and other intelligence gathering activities would have contradicted such allegedly doctored intelligence coming out of the United States Central Command.
One of the major assertions that must be investigated is whether the White House directly influenced these reports. Since such a possibility exists, it is entirely inappropriate that the Executive Branch be involved in any investigation.
This breach is so potentially serious that a special prosecutor should be appointed by the legislative and the judicial branches of government.
A special prosecutor with appropriate funding and authority from the United States Supreme Court and the United States Congress to subpoena witnesses and information is essential. Time is of the essence.
Doctored or allegedly doctored intelligence estimates have potentially influenced our nation’s strategic direction relative to ISIS which has potentially put our nation at grave risk.
Such an investigation must determine whether there was a doctoring of the intelligence estimates, who ordered the doctoring if it was done, what the correct intelligence estimate should have been, and if any intelligence collection assets have been compromised because of the alleged incident. This is serious!
The seriousness of these reports is so great that it can only be described as treason.
The United States Constitution is very specific as it relates to treason. In Article 3, Section 3, the United States Constitution states:
"Section. 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted."
Additionally, in Article 2, Section 4, the United States Constitution states:
Section. 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Any perception that there would not be sufficient time left in President Obama’s term to warrant such an investigation is disingenuous at best. The very fabric of our nation is at stake and demands a completely independent review.
The Department of Justice has already demonstrated that it is incapable of such an independent review with its bias the IRS case as well as the irresponsible comments about Ferguson which triggered hostile actions against police.
Only through a coordinated effort by the Legislative and Judicial branches of our government will justice prevail. This matter is too important to be left to the people who have allegedly perpetrated this crime to investigate.
Be it the classified documents on Hillary Clinton’s personal email account or the doctoring of intelligence estimates, this Administration may have put the lives the citizens of our entire nation as well as our military at grave risk.
Only though an independent investigation will the sanctity and purity of the nation that was founded in freedom in 1776 be preserved. Those who have spilled their blood to defend our freedoms deserve no less.
Col. Frank Ryan, CPA, USMCR (Ret) and served in Iraq and briefly in Afghanistan and specializes in corporate restructuring and lectures on ethics for the state CPA societies. He has served on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at [email protected] and twitter at @fryan1951.