Countdown Series: Ray McGovern, former CIA officer

Ray McGovern is a former CIA officer, serving under seven US presidents and preparing the highly classified President’s Daily Briefing.

After leaving the intelligence service, McGovern became an intelligence activist, co-founding Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. McGovern openly criticised the intelligence that supported the invasion of Iraq and directly challenged Donald Rumsfeld on his lies about weapons of mass destruction. This discourse would later be referred to as the “vivisection of Donald Rumsfeld”.

In 2005 McGovern testified at a hearing on the Downing Street Memo. This was the “smoking gun” that the US and UK administrations had already committed to regime change in Iraq. Intelligence and facts were to be fixed around this policy. In his testimony, McGovern declared that the “United States went to war in Iraq for oil, Israel and military bases.’

In 2006, McGovern returned his Intelligence Commendation Medal in protest at the CIA’s involvement in torture.

During a 2011 speech by Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, McGovern stood with his back to her in “silent protest” of her foreign policy. For this he was hustled out of the room and arrested. McGovern was arrested again in 2014, attempting to attend an event where former CIA director and retired Army General David Petraeus was giving a speech. In 2018 he was arrested for disrupting the confirmation hearing of Gina Haspel when she was being made CIA director.

McGovern founded the Sam Adams Award for integrity in intelligence.

In 2010, McGovern and Murray were signatories of an open letter supporting Wikileaks. McGovern has been steadfast in his support of journalists Craig Murray and Julian Assange and also supports whistleblowers who make the world a safer place.