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Open Mike

Blogger Profile: Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. During his 27-year career at the CIA, he worked for nine CIA directors, several of them at close remove. Primarily a substantive analyst and briefer, he nonetheless served in all four of CIA's main directorates and, during one of his postings abroad, helped manage a large covert action project. In January 2003, he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Ray McGovern's Blogs

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Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

September 17th, 2012

Why the Mideast Exploded, Really

“Why Is the Arab world so easily offended?” asks the headline atop an article by Fouad Ajami, which the Washington Post published online last Friday to give perspective to the recent anti-American violence in Muslim capitals. While the Post described Ajami simply as a “senior fellow” at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

September 7th, 2012

Obama Ruling Shields Torturers

When Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu said last week that the ex-leaders of the U.S. and U.K. should be made to “answer for their actions” in attacking Iraq on the basis of lies, Western savants and pundits greeted the remarks from the retired archbishop of South Africa with an all-too-familiar knowing, ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

August 13th, 2012

Israel’s ‘Bomb Iran’ Timetable

More Washington insiders are coming to the conclusion that Israel’s leaders are planning to attack Iran before the U.S. election in November in the expectation that American forces will be drawn in. There is widespread recognition that, without U.S. military involvement, an Israeli attack would be highly risky and, at best, ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

August 1st, 2012

Romney Adds to Iran Tensions

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s strong pro-Israel statements over the weekend, including his endorsement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (a reversal of long-standing U.S. policy), increases the pressure on President Barack Obama to prove that he is an equally strong backer of Israel. The key question is whether Israeli Prime ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

July 23rd, 2012

Will Downing St. Memo Recur on Iran?

Written with Annie MachonRecent remarks by Sir John Sawers, who heads Britain’s MI6 (the Secret Intelligence Service that is Britain’s CIA counterpart), leave us wondering if Sawers is preparing to “fix” intelligence on Iran, as his immediate predecessor, Sir John Scarlett, did on Iraq. Scarlett’s pre-Iraq war role in creating ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

July 18th, 2012

Harassing the Whistleblowers

Controversy generated by recent reporting by Eric Lichtblau and Scott Shane of the New York Times about Food and Drug Administration spying on its doctors and scientists focuses on the blatant invasions of privacy, with Sen. Charles Grassley, R- Iowa, complaining of “Gestapo” tactics. But what about us? What about the ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

July 10th, 2012

The Mystery of Arafat’s Death

We may never know with complete certainty whether the still unexplained health crisis that suddenly did in Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was due to natural or unnatural causes. But the recent discovery of polonium on Arafat’s clothing, added to a considerable body of circumstantial evidence, has increased an already widespread suspicion ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

June 30th, 2012

How Iran Might See the Threats

In CIA jargon, “Aardwolf” is a label for a special genre of intelligence report from field stations abroad to headquarters in Washington. An Aardwolf conveys the Chief of Station’s formal assessment regarding the direction events are taking in his or her country of assignment – and frequently the news is bad. ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

June 25th, 2012

Asylum for Julian Assange -- Former Awardee for Integrity

(for Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence) Holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London seeking political asylum sits Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, who has been responsible for spreading more truth around than any single journalist in recent memory. This, basically, is why he has been labeled all ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

June 21st, 2012

Julian Assange’s Artful Dodge

Barring a CIA drone strike on the Ecuadorian embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s sudden appeal for asylum there may spare him a prison stay in Sweden or possibly the United States. Assange’s freedom now depends largely on Ecuadorian President Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado, a new breed of independent-minded ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

June 5th, 2012

Sorting Out the Facts about Iran

On the issue of Iran’s “nuclear ambitions” you hear one thing on Monday, a different thing on Tuesday. “It’s a puzzlement!” to quote Yul Brunner’s famous line in The King and I. But in this case, the confusion is hardly insignificant. In a speech on March 4 to the American Israel ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

May 30th, 2012

The Moral Challenge of ‘Kill Lists’

In an extraordinary article in Tuesday’s New York Times, “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” authors Jo Becker and Scott Shane throw macabre light on the consigliere-cum-priestly role that counterterrorist adviser John Brennan provides President Barack Obama. At the outset, Becker and Shane note that, ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

April 16th, 2012

Iran’s Phantom Menace

Last Thursday, I took part in a panel discussion on “Targeting Iran: Sanctions and War” at California State University, Fresno. The panel discussion took place against the backdrop of all-too-familiar warnings to Iran that it has one “last chance” to stop doing what the CIA and pretty much all serious ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

April 6th, 2012

Render to Caesar, Extraordinarily

Some of us pause on Good Friday to mark the torture and death of a high-value detainee rendered, extraordinarily, to Roman occupiers. Although the charges against Jesus of Nazareth were trumped up, the Romans decided to err on the safe side by going to the “dark side.” They applied enhanced ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

April 2nd, 2012

In Protest of John Brennan's Speech

After learning that U.S. national security official John Brennan would address Jesuit-run Fordham’s graduating class, I protested in this letter to the Fordham Ram. Dear Editor: I write to express shock and sadness that Fordham’s trustees would think it consonant with Jesuit values to have Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan give ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

February 27th, 2012

CNN Silences War-Skeptical Soldier

When CNN interviews a U.S. Army corporal preparing for his third deployment to Afghanistan, should TV viewers be permitted to hear him out on a front-burner issue like Iran’s alleged threat to Israel? For those who might think so, watch what happens when 28-year-old Cpl. Jesse Thorsen touches a neuralgic ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

February 7th, 2012

Obama’s Super-Bowl Fumble on Iran

Before President Barack Obama’s interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, aired before the Super Bowl on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu probably hoped that, if Obama discussed Iran, he would give him the strong backing that Israeli leaders crave, freeing them to lash out at Iran — militarily, if they ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

February 1st, 2012

Divining the Truth about Iran

Watching top U.S. intelligence officials present the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” before the Senate Intelligence Committee, I found myself wondering if they would depart from the key (if politically delicate) consensus judgment that Iran is NOT working on a nuclear weapon. In last year’s briefing, Director of National Intelligence James ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

January 24th, 2012

US/Israel: Iran NOT Building Nukes

Has Iran decided to build a nuclear bomb? That would seem to be the central question in the current bellicose debate over whether the world should simply cripple Iran’s economy and inflict severe pain on its civilian population or launch a preemptive war to destroy its nuclear capability while possibly achieving ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

January 21st, 2012

Israel Tamps Down Iran War Threats

In a stunning departure from recent Israeli threats to attack Iranian nuclear facilities, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday used an interview with Israel’s Army radio to assert that any attack on Iran “is very far off,” adding, “We haven’t made any decision to do this.” When pressed as ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

January 4th, 2012

A Betrayal of the Founders

President Barack Obama desecrated the Constitution that he and I swore to defend when he signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which includes language violating the Bill of Rights and other constitutionally protected liberties. The NDAA affirms that the president has the authority to use the Armed Forces ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

August 17th, 2011

Did Tenet Hide Key 9/11 Info?

Bulletin for those of you who get your information only from the New York Times, the Washington Post and other outlets of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM): Former White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke has accused ex-CIA Director George Tenet of denying him and others access to intelligence that could ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

August 13th, 2011

They Died in Vain; Deal With It

Many of those preaching at American church services Sunday extolled as “heroes” the 30 American and 8 Afghan troops killed Saturday west of Kabul, when a helicopter on a night mission crashed, apparently after taking fire from Taliban forces.  This week, the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) can be expected to ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

August 6th, 2011

Obama Blows a Judas Kiss to the Poor

The unconscionable result of the manufactured crisis over the debt ceiling shows that the political Right knows how to play hardball, and that President Obama and his hapless party know how to get rolled.  There are other options; and we, the people, need to press them home. The Obama-brokered deal ... continue reading

Ray McGovern

Retired CIA analyst

July 16th, 2011

Neocons Fume Over US Boat to Gaza

My co-passengers and I of the U.S. Boat to Gaza have now gone from “High-Seas Hippies,” according to the right-wing Washington Times, to participants in a flotilla full of “fools, knaves, hypocrites, bigots, and supporters of terrorism,” says Alan Dershowitz in his usual measured prose. Poor Alan, he seems upset ... continue reading

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Time to put the cuffs on Chris Christie -- not for the bridge scandal, but for this: Chris Christie's $300m pension proposal broke state anti-corruption...

Apr 18th
7:31 PM
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George W. Bush Debuts New Paintings Of Dogs, Friends, Ghost Of Iraqi Child That Follows Him... www.theonion.com President Bush has a new hobby -- painting! --...

Apr 17th
7:28 PM
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Big new story from David Sirota and Pando on top Christie adviser and appearance of corruption at New Jersey's pension fund: REVEALED: Gov....

Apr 17th
12:41 PM
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FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States www.theonion.com WASHINGTON—The FBI announced today that it has uncovered a...

Apr 15th
3:28 PM
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Revealed: Rahm Emanuel's top donor bought stock in Marriott just before it was awarded huge contract pando.com As schools are closed and pensions cut,...

Apr 9th
2:00 PM
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I'll be at First Time Fest today in New York City at the screening of my first film, Roger & Me. Loews Village 7 at 12:30 pm. Come see it on the big...

Apr 5th
9:48 AM
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Revealed: Rahm Emanuel cuts public pensions, diverts money to benefit campaign donors pando.com If you've read the financial news out of Chicago the last...

Apr 4th
2:19 PM
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Please take a moment today to think of Casey Austin Sheehan, son of Cindy and Patrick, who was murdered by U.S. foreign policy in Sadr City, Baghdad ten years...

Apr 4th
2:00 PM
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ICYMI - I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence...

Apr 3rd
7:38 PM
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I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention...

Apr 2nd
8:27 PM
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I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested...

Apr 1st
3:55 PM
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How Long Some in the US Will Survive Under New Health Law ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com Those who must access care to live and can afford it are not...

Mar 31st
10:13 PM
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Last night, The Good Wife on the East Coast started 40 minutes late due to the overrun of the NCAA basketball game. If you had your DVR set for the show, you...

Mar 24th
5:41 PM
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Watching films today, looking for the ones I'm going to pick for my film festival this summer. I (and a whole bunch of others!) have this thing we put on...

Mar 23rd
4:48 PM
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When the U.S. Health Care System Keeps Killing, Who Cares Enough to Fight? ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com We have largely forgotten that people are at...

Mar 21st
5:56 PM
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Tell the White House not to give up on Dr. Vivek Murthy's nomination as Surgeon General despite the ferocious opposition from the NRA: Don't give...

Mar 21st
5:38 PM
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This criminal would never see a jail cell, nor would his cronies. In fact, they'd later be rewarded with re-election: Presidential Address on War with...

Mar 19th
9:40 PM
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The crime of the century -- our invasion & slaughter in Iraq -- started 11 years ago tonite in this 7pm (ET) hour, March 19th, 2003: CNN Coverage of...

Mar 19th
9:08 PM
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Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa ...by Nick Turse www.michaelmoore.com Nick Turse is an award-winning journalist, historian,...

Mar 17th
4:59 PM
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"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world." -- Tony Benn, 1925-2014 Tony Benn in 'Sicko'

Mar 14th
10:07 AM
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RIP Tony Benn, one of the UK's greatest leaders: Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88 www.theguardian.com Former cabinet minister died at...

Mar 14th
9:53 AM
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Please read this important story from K. Ford K.: Am I the Face of the New American Middle Class? www.huffingtonpost.com I began to feel I had slipped so low...

Mar 13th
2:24 PM
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Yesterday Dianne Feinstein revealed that the CIA has been spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is all about the report the committee has produced...

Mar 12th
6:48 PM
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Health Care for All Colorado has brought Mercy Killers, a show written and performed by Michael Milligan about our murderous for-profit healthcare system, to...

Mar 10th
1:08 PM
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Health Care Dramas that Sting and Why We Have to Watch ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com The realities Milligan has written into the show cut deep into...

Mar 10th
1:02 PM
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Did you know the Lehrer Newshour on PBS has been produced for 20 years by a company owned by conservative cable billionaire John Malone? Me neither. After...

Mar 7th
8:39 PM
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Mr. Obama, if int’l law is so damn crucial . . . | RootsAction.org act.rootsaction.org The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The...

Mar 6th
1:21 PM
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Enron billionaire John Arnold thinks everyone should believe him when he says we've got to cut pensions because he's so incredibly rich: John...

Mar 5th
4:20 PM
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More in David Sirota's continuing series on the billionaire takeover of PBS: More PBS conflict woes as activists move to eject David Koch from board of...

Mar 3rd
12:35 PM
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Open Mike

  • March 2nd, 2014

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  • August 13th, 2011

    They Died in Vain; Deal With It

    Many of those preaching at American church services Sunday extolled as “heroes” the 30 American and 8 Afghan troops killed Saturday west of Kabul, when ...

  • January 8th, 2014

    NSA Insiders Reveal What Went Wrong

    In a memo to President Obama, former National Security Agency insiders William Binney, Thomas Drake, Edward Loomis and J. Kirk Wiebe explain how NSA leaders botched intelligence collection ...

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  • September 7th, 2013

    Obama Warned on Syrian Intel

    MEMORANDUM FOR: The President FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) SUBJECT: Is Syria a Trap? Precedence: IMMEDIATE We regret to inform you that some of our former ...

  • October 15th, 2013

    Edward Snowden’s Brave Integrity

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