April 10 (Bloomberg) -- A U.S. military organization charged with countering improvised bombs engaged in improper intelligence collection on the side, the Pentagon’s inspector general found.
The watchdog office’s investigation substantiated a hotline complaint that the unit “illegally or inappropriately collected info about U.S. persons,” David Small, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s counter-bomb agency, said in an e-mailed statement after the inspector general’s office disclosed online that it had issued a classified report.
The Counter-IED Operations/Intelligence Integration Center committed the violations in 2011 and 2012. The unit was created in 2006 to help commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan collect and analyze information about insurgents’ use of improvised explosive devices, the main killer of U.S. troops in both countries.
The improper intelligence-gathering involved “technicalities of policy and process” that “were corrected as soon as recognized,” Small said, and many of the recommendations made by the inspector general to avert a repeat have been implemented.
The center has produced more than 10,000 products supporting soldiers while working with a network of 30 governments and intelligence agencies, according to the website of the Pentagon’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.
The inspector general today disclosed no details aside from posting on its website the report’s title: “Investigation of a Hotline Allegation of a Questionable Intelligence Activity Concerning the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) Counter-IED Operations/Intelligence Integration Center (COIC).”
Bridget Serchak, a spokeswoman for the inspector general, confirmed that the report was the same one mentioned last month in briefing charts provided to reporters as an introduction to the Office of Intelligence and Special Program Assessments, which conducted the review.
Citing the report’s classification, Serchak provided no other details and suggested that a reporter file a Freedom of Information Act request.
The report is the second time since 2011 that the inspector general has substantiated allegations of unauthorized defense intelligence activities, according to a brief synopsis in the office’s semi-annual report to Congress that was issued in September 2011.
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