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Watch > Episode > Ray McGovern - Intelligence Activism

Ray McGovern - Intelligence Activism


Ray McGovern is quite frankly one bad man. He was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, beginning under President John F. Kennedy and lasting until the Presidency of George H. W. Bush. From 1981 to 1985 he prepared and presented the President’s Daily Brief one-on-one to President Ronald Reagan’s most senior national security advisers including then Vice President George H. W. Bush.

In 2003 Ray came out of retirement and founded the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) which analyses and criticises the use of intelligence. He famously confronted Donald Rumsfeld publicly about lying about WMDs and almost got him to recant his statements.

Ray also protested a speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by turning his back only to be physically removed, double handcuffed and seriously battered and bruised at the age of 71.

Please join me in welcoming Ray McGovern to London Real. I consider him a piece of living history and was honoured to be able to speak to him about issues ranging from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the Cold War to Edward Snowden and Julian Assange to the Ukrainian Separatists, Gaza, ISIS and more.

Ray McGovern began his career as an intelligence analyst in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the 1960s. With a background in Russian studies and fluency in Russian, McGovern focused on Soviet affairs during the Cold War era. His analytical skills and dedication to truth-seeking earned him the respect of colleagues and superiors within the intelligence community.

As McGovern rose through the ranks, he became increasingly critical of the intelligence apparatus and its role in shaping policy decisions. His outspoken critique of the CIA’s failures, particularly in the lead-up to the Iraq War, marked a turning point in his career. McGovern challenged the flawed intelligence that supported the war’s justification, underscoring the need for accountability and transparency in intelligence operations.

In 2006, Ray McGovern took a courageous step by becoming a whistleblower on the U.S. government’s use of torture. During a public event where then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was speaking, McGovern stood up and questioned Rumsfeld about the authorisation of torture, citing the Geneva Conventions. McGovern’s act of civil disobedience was met with forceful removal from the venue but resonated as a powerful statement against the government’s controversial policies.

Following his retirement from the CIA, Ray McGovern co-founded VIPS in 2003, an organisation comprising former intelligence professionals who aim to provide unbiased analysis on critical national security issues. McGovern and VIPS have been instrumental in challenging official narratives and promoting accountability within the intelligence community.

Ray McGovern’s post-CIA years have been defined by his tireless advocacy for government accountability and constitutional principles. He has been a vocal critic of mass surveillance, the erosion of civil liberties, and the unchecked power of intelligence agencies. McGovern’s activism is rooted in his belief that citizens have a responsibility to hold their government accountable, especially when it strays from the principles of justice and transparency.

McGovern’s commitment to truth and accountability has sometimes led to encounters with government repression. He has been arrested on multiple occasions for engaging in peaceful protests and expressing dissent against government policies. These experiences have only fueled his determination to speak out against injustice and work towards a more transparent and accountable government.

Ray McGovern has become a sought-after speaker on issues related to intelligence, government accountability, and foreign policy. His insightful analysis and willingness to challenge mainstream narratives have made him a respected voice in alternative media circles. McGovern’s interviews, articles, and public talks contribute to a broader understanding of the complexities surrounding intelligence operations and their impact on global affairs.

Ray McGovern’s life and work exemplify a commitment to truth, justice, and accountability. From his early career as a CIA analyst to his later years as a whistleblower and peace activist, McGovern has consistently challenged the status quo. Through VIPS, public speaking engagements, and acts of civil disobedience, he continues to inspire others to question authority, demand accountability, and uphold the principles of a just and transparent government. Ray McGovern’s legacy serves as a reminder of the importance of individuals who are willing to stand up and speak truth to power, even in the face of adversity.


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