A senior analyst in the US Central Command’s (CENTCOM) Joint Intelligence Office (J2) accused her superiors of reassigning her to a different position on trumped up charges after she spoke up against doctored intelligence reports in the organization.
Carolyn Stewart had previously accused her superiors of changing reports on the Islamic State to fit the official White House line that the war against the self-proclaimed Caliphate is being won, according to The Daily Beast.
Officially, Stewart was transferred for cursing.
Last Wednesday, she brought her case before a Department of Defense appeals court against her civilian superior, Gregory Ryckman. The court attempted to determine whether Stewart’s swearing, which allegedly took place on two occasions, created a “hostile work environment” and therefore merited the transfer.
The Daily Beast’s senior national security correspondent Nancy Youssef writes “if cursing were really a fireable offense in the military, every soldier, sailor, Marine, and Defense Department civilian would have to be sent home.”
Ryckman and his military superior Major-General Steven Grove were accused by other analysts of tampering with intelligence reports in order to spin the war as positive and of pressuring analysts to suppress negative news and report positive news.
A leading Iraq analyst identified as Gregory Hooker filed a complaint against his superiors in September 2015, as reported by The New York Times.
His superior, William Rizzio had a meeting with Grove and Ryckman in which he reportedly supported claims made by Hooker and others. Following the meeting he was temporarily reassigned. Witnesses to the meeting told The New York Times he was punished for siding with the analysts.
More than 50 intelligence analysts working for CENTCOM signed on to support Hooker’s complaint. “Many described a climate in which analysts felt they could not give a candid assessment of the situation in Iraq and Syria” The Daily Beast reported. “Some felt it was a product of commanders protecting their career advancement by putting the best spin on the war.”
The Pentagon’s inspector general is currently conducting an investigation into those claims, which is due to be released soon.