Ray McGovern

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For the New York politician, see J. Raymond McGovern.
11 April 2008, Phoenix, Ariz.

Raymond McGovern (born August 25, 1939) is a retired CIA officer turned political activist. McGovern was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, and in the 1980s chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President's Daily Brief. He received the Intelligence Commendation Medal at his retirement, returning it in 2006 to protest the CIA's involvement in torture.[1] McGovern's post-retirement work includes commentating on intelligence issues and in 2003 co-founding Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Personal life

Ray McGovern was born in the Bronx in New York City and grew up there. He earned a degree with honors from Fordham University and then served in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1964.

McGovern has been married to Rita Kennedy for 50 years. Together they have five children and nine grandchildren.


McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years (1963 to 1990), "routinely presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House."[2] His CIA career began under President John F. Kennedy, and lasted until the Presidency of George H. W. Bush.[3] McGovern chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President's Daily Brief, and in the mid-1980s was "a senior analyst conducting early morning briefings one-on-one with the vice president, the secretaries of State and Defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the assistant to the president for national security."[4] At his retirement in 1990, McGovern received the CIA's Intelligence Commendation Medal.[1][4]

He worked as an officer for the CIA, where he was responsible for the analysis of Soviet policy in Vietnam.

Post-retirement and views

Intelligence activism

McGovern has been an outspoken commentator on intelligence-related issues since the late 1990s.[5] He was heavily critical of the government's handling of the Wen Ho Lee case in 2000.[6] In 2002 he was publicly critical of President George W. Bush's use of government intelligence in the lead-up to the war in Iraq.[7]

In 2003, together with other former CIA employees, McGovern founded the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity or VIPS. The organization is dedicated to analyzing and criticizing the use of intelligence, specifically relating to the War in Iraq.[1]

In January 2006, McGovern began speaking out on behalf of the anti-war group Not in Our Name. According to the group's press release, McGovern served symbolic "war crimes indictments" on the Bush White House from a "people's tribunal."

In 2006 McGovern returned his Intelligence Commendation Medal in protest at the CIA's involvement in torture.[1]

On October 9, 2013, McGovern, along with three former winners, gave the Sam Adams Award for integrity in intelligence to Edward Snowden in a Moscow ceremony.[8][9]

McGovern is a founding member of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.[10] In September 2015 McGovern and 27 other members of VIPS steering group wrote a letter to the President challenging a recently published book, that claimed to rebut the report of the United States Senate Intelligence Committee on the Central Intelligence Agency's use of torture.


In a television interview with Tucker Carlson on MSNBC, McGovern said: "I've been using the acronym O.I.L. for many—for two years now: O for oil; I for Israel; and L for logistics, logistics being the permanent—now we say "enduring"—military bases that the U.S. wants to keep in Iraq."[11]

McGovern testified at a Democratic National Headquarters forum in 2005 that had been convened by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) of the House Judiciary Committee on the Downing Street Memo.

The Washington Post reported that, in his testimony, McGovern "declared that the United States went to war in Iraq for oil, Israel and military bases craved by administration neocons so 'the United States and Israel could dominate that part of the world.' He said that Israel should not be considered an ally and that Bush was doing the bidding of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. 'Israel is not allowed to be brought up in polite conversation,' McGovern said. Genuine criticism of official Israeli policy is often portrayed as if it were anti-semitism: 'The last time I did this, the previous director of Central Intelligence called me anti-semitic.'"[12]

Arrested for silent protest at Clinton speech

During a speech on February 16, 2011, at George Washington University by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton he stood silently with his back turned during her remarks, leading to his arrest for disorderly conduct[13][14] and inclusion on the State Department's Diplomatic Security "Be On the Lookout" (BOLO) list of potential threats to Clinton due to his "considerable amount of political activism, primarily anti-war," with instructions to Law Enforcement to detain and question him.[15][16] The charges were subsequently dropped,[15] and in 2014 he won an injunction against the BOLO on First and Fourth Amendment grounds.[16][17] The complaint leading to this injunction[16] also listed George Washington University and its Police Department as defendants for their arrest of him, and that part of the case against them was still in process as of September 2014.[17]

On Julian Assange

When asked on TVNZ whether Julian Assange was a hero or villain, he replied "hero,"[18] and has co-written an open letter of support for WikiLeaks and Assange.[19]

When asked whether Julian Assange was a journalist, he replied "Yeah, actually, with all due respect, I think you should be following his example,"[20] to the CNN reporter.

Comments regarding 9/11

In 2004 he implied that Bush could have prevented the 9/11 attacks and said that the administration, intent to involve the country in a war with Iraq, were for reasons other than the stated "Weapons of Mass Destruction."[21] In 2011, he said that even though the 9/11 attacks occurred more than a decade prior, Congress was continuing to exploit them to pass "evermore draconian laws," including empowering the military to arrest and hold people "on U.S. soil" without a trial. He also said that this was a serious threat to civil liberties.[22]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ambika Behal, United Press International, 10 March 2006, The U.S. has run amok; former CIA analyst
  2. Dan Chapman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 7 December 2003, Q & A / RAY McGOVERN, former CIA analyst: 'We're trying to spread a little truth'
  3. Die Tageszeitung, 30 October 2013, „Obamas Angst vor Geheimdiensten“
  4. 4.0 4.1 Donald P. Russo, The Morning Call, 13 May 2006, No shortage of evidence that Bush is slipping
  5. Ray McGovern, "How lies replaced intelligence at the CIA," Boston Globe (7 October 1999) p. A 27; Ray McGovern, "Protecting the homeland: Don't jeopardize intelligence links," Christian Science Monitor (15 July 2002) p.9.
  6. Ray McGovern, "Unequal in the eyes of justice?," Christian Science Monitor (18 September 2000) p. 11.
  7. Ray McGovern, "The best intelligence? CIA." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (22 November 2002) p. 19A; Ray McGovern, "How Intelligence Now Serves the Defense Department," Boston Globe (29 September 2002) p. D11.
  8. http://en.ria.ru/world/20131010/184056940/Snowden-Has-Secret-Moscow-Meeting-with-US-Leakers.html
  9. https://www.youtube.com/user/TheWikiLeaksChannel
  10. Andy Worthington (2015-09-15). "28 Veterans of US Intelligence Fight Back Against CIA Claims That the Bush Torture Program Was Useful and Necessary". Archived from the original on 2015-09-28. 
  11. 'The Situation with Tucker Carlson' for May 4 – Tucker – MSNBC.com
  12. Milbank, Dana (2005-06-17). "Democrats Play House To Rally Against the War". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  13. Madeleine Morgenstern (17 February 2011). "Clinton backs Internet freedom". The GW Hatchet. 
  14. Priya Anand (17 February 2011). "Protester arrested during Clinton speech". The GW Hatchet. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Van Buren, Peter (16 September 2014). Ray McGovern Triumphs over State Department Firedoglake Dissenter
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (13 February 2014). McGovern's complaint against his arrest and the State Department BOLO
  17. 17.0 17.1 Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (September 19, 2014). Important victory in case of Ray McGovern's brutal arrest
  18. Interview on TVNZ about Julian Assange and Wikileaks
  19. Open Letter of Support for WikiLeaks and Assange
  20. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVxkzRv-Zew#t=3m37s
  21. Common Dreams Former CIA Agent Says Bush to Blame for 9/11
  22. 911 Truth Are Americans in Line for Gitmo?

External links