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Ray McGovern on the corruption of intelligence

February 18, 2011

eats shoots ‘n leaves, 17 Feb 2011: A very important 20 June 2007 interview with veteran Central Intelligence Agency analyst Ray McGovern, the man bodily and bloodily ejected from Hillary Clinton’s “freedom speech” Tuesday.

The fifty-eight-minute documentary was directed by Philippe Diaz and produced by Cinema Libre Studios.

McGovern worked under nine Directors of Central Intelligence and prepared thePresident’s Daily Brief, the digest summarizing critical intelligence news that was laid on the presidential desk every morning.

We’re featuring this video precisely because McGovern’s insights and his record of devotion to the honest practice of intelligence analysis are precisely what a Secretary of State should be hearing at a critical moment in world history. Instead, she didn’t even respond to McGovern’s presence — she’s above all that, you see. Besides, why listen when your mind’s already made up?

His subject is the gradual corruption of the American intelligence system, which he says began with the formation of the CIA when the functions of gathering intelligence and the paramilitary covert operations were united in the same institution.

Intelligence offers are charged with being honest reporters of fact, while the black ops side relies on lies, deceptions, and violence to carry out political directives larded with hidden agendas.

Some highlights:

  • We haven’t had a CIA director with any integrity for the past quarter-century.
  • “The most sinister part of the whole thing” is the hypocrisy of the justification for the Mideast wars, where the real purpose of the conflict was an American grab for control of the region’s oil.
  • He takes up some themes long familiar to esnl regulars, including the class-based military system created in the wake of the abolition of the draft and the well-established historical reasons for the Islamic world’s resentment of the American imperium.
  • Using the phrase “permanent military bases” to describe the rapidly growing numbers of American installations now sprouting up across the globe like desert wildflowers after the first Spring rain is now banned by the Pentagon, replaced by a deft circumlocution: “enduring military bases.”
  • A former Army officer, McGovern paints a devastating portrait of the upper ranks of the American military, a latter-day mafia. Of the current commandant of the Mideast debacle, Gen. David Petraeus, McGovern says his teachers at West Point described him as “a comer, the kind of guy who marries the commandant’s daughter. Oh, wait. He did marry the commandant’s daughter.”
  • Particularly devastating is his portrait of former CIA Director George Tenant’s cooking of the 1 October 2002 intelligence estimate — the one with a mushroom cloud-dominated cover — used by the Bush administration to sell Congress on the invasion of Iraq, produced for one reason only: His advisers talked him into “doing what his dad did” and seeking congressional approval before waging war on Iraq.

This is a man who deserved the respect of the Secretary of State, not her tacit endorsement of the violence he received at the hands of her guardians, regardless of what one may feel about the content of his message [and our feelings, for the record, are strongly favorable].

McGovern is unabashedly Christian, a practicing Catholic who belongs to that sect-transcending group we call “Sermon on the Mount” Christians, men and women whose faith is informed by the social gospel rather than the bloody handed fire-and-brimstone retribution doctrines so fondly embraced by the Fundamentalist and Christian Zionist Right.

He’s also the co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group devoted to exposing cooked intelligence, focusing on the actions of intelligence agencies leading up to the invasion of Iraq. “We feel a lot of pain for that corruption, because that was our profession,” he said.

Please listen to what he has to say since Hillary won’t.

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