Clapper’s Credibility

Former DNI James Clapper had his own words read back to him by Ray McGovern, exposing his role in justifying the Iraq invasion based on fraudulent intelligence.

Clapper Admits Gross Intelligence Failure
on Iraq WMDs But Still Escapes Justice

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News

Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper’s key role in helping the Cheney/Bush administration “justify” war on Iraq with fraudulent intelligence was exposed on Tuesday at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington. His own words were quoted back to him from his memoir “Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence.” Hard truths, indeed.

Clapper was appointed Director of National Intelligence by President Barack Obama in June 2010, almost certainly at the prompting of Obama’s intelligence confidant and Clapper friend John Brennan, later director of the CIA. Despite Clapper’s performance on Iraq, he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. Obama even allowed Clapper to keep his job for three and a half more years after he admitted that he had lied under oath to that same Senate about the extent of eavesdropping on Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA). He is now a security analyst for CNN.

In his book, Clapper finally places the blame for the consequential fraud (he calls it “the failure”) to find the (non-existent) WMD “where it belongs — squarely on the shoulders of the administration members who were pushing a narrative of a rogue WMD program in Iraq and on the intelligence officers, including me, who were so eager to help that we found what wasn’t really there.” (emphasis added) . 

Clapper: After WMD failure, promoted by Obama. (White House Photo by Pete Souza)

So at the event on Tuesday I stood up and asked him about that. It was easy, given the background Clapper himself provides in his book, such as:

“The White House aimed to justify why an invasion of and regime change in Iraq were necessary, with a public narrative that condemned its continued development of weapons of mass destruction [and] its support to al-Qaida (for which the Intelligence Community had no evidence).”

What Clapper chokes on — and avoids saying — is that U.S. intelligence had no evidence of WMD either. Indeed, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had put him in charge of the agency responsible for analyzing imagery of all kinds — photographic, radar, infrared, and multispectral — precisely so that the absence of evidence from our multi-billion-dollar intelligence collection satellites could be hidden, in order not to impede the planned attack on Iraq. That’s why, as Clapper now admits, he had to find “what wasn’t really there.”

Members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) who have employed Clapper under contract, or otherwise known his work, caution that he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. So, to be fair, there is an outside chance that Rumsfeld persuaded him to be guided by the (in)famous Rumsfeld dictum: “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

But the consequences are the same: a war of aggression with millions dead and wounded; continuing bedlam in the area; and no one — high or low — held accountable. Hold your breath and add Joe Biden awarding the “Liberty Medal” to George W. Bush on Veteran’s Day.

Shocked’

Clapper writes:

“… we heard that Vice President Cheney was pushing the Pentagon for intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and then the order came down to NIMA [the National Imagery and Mapping Agency] to find (emphasis in original) the WMD sites. We set to work, analyzing imagery to eventually identify, with varying degrees of confidence, more than 950 sites where we assessed there might be WMDs or a WMD connection. We drew on all of NIMA’s skill sets … and it was all wrong.”

“To support his [Secretary of State Colin Powell’s February 5, 2003] speech, NIMA (which Clapper headed) had gone through the difficult process of declassifying satellite images of trucks arriving at WMD sites just ahead of the weapons inspectors to move materials before they could be found, and my team also produced computer-generated images of trucks fitted out as ‘mobile production facilities used to make biological agents.’ Those images, possibly more than any other substantiation he presented, carried the day with the international community and Americans alike.”

“[For] the invasion of Iraq on March 20, six weeks after Powell’s speech, NIMA … prepared a prioritized list of our suspect [WMD] sites with specific locations. … Using this information, they [the fourteen-hundred-member international Iraq Survey Group] went from site to site but found almost nothing. We were shocked. … The trucks we had identified as “mobile production facilities for biological agents” were in fact used to pasteurize and transport milk.”

McGovern questions Clapper at Carnegie Endowment in Washington on Tuesday. (Alli McCracken)

As for those mischievous trucks allegedly used “to move materials before they could be found,” as Scott Ritter, former chief UN weapons inspector for Iraq, has pointed out, they were clearly decontamination vehicles. UN inspectors had visited the site in question. It was an ammunition bunker, and the decontamination vehicle was a water truck used to keep the dust levels down because of the sensitive fuses located in the bunker. These were known facts but Clapper chose to ignore them.

Nor did he give up easily, before he could resist no longer and admit, as he writes, that “it was all wrong.” In late October 2003, Clapper briefed Washington media on his latest guesses as to what really happened to the (notional) WMD. The Washington Times’s Bill Getz wrote a long article replete with detailed quotes from Clapper, starting with: “Iraqi military officers destroyed or hid chemical, biological and nuclear weapons goods in the weeks before the war, the nation’s top satellite spy director said yesterday. Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, said vehicle traffic photographed by U.S. spy satellites indicated that material and documents related to the arms programs were shipped to Syria.”

In his book, Clapper refers to that briefing and says he conceded “we’d made some assumptions we shouldn’t have … “ and admitted that “I was still baffled that no WMD sites had been discovered. I mentioned that in the days before the invasion started, we saw a lot of cars and trucks fleeing the country into Syria. … I probably should have clarified what a stretch it would be” to suggest the WMD had been transported to Syria.” Well, yes, that would have prevented further embarrassment.

During the Q and A I was sorely tempted to quote Hans Blix, the then head of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, who on June 23, 2003 quipped to the Council on Foreign Relations, “It’s sort of puzzling that you can have 100 percent confidence about WMD existence, but zero certainty about where they are.” But that would have brought loud boos from the docile audience at Carnegie, and gotten me off on the wrong foot.

Instead, I cited to Clapper his most grievous offense against the profession of intelligence analysis — his inordinate eagerness to please whatever superiors he was working for at the time, and give them the information they lusted after to “justify” things like war.

I observed that exactly two years ago, the Obamas and Clintons were desperate to blame Trump’s victory on Russian interference. And so, I asked, was this a repeat performance? Had Clapper snapped to and again “found what really wasn’t there?” This, I emphasized, was the conclusion of VIPS, including two former Technical Directors at NSA. 

From ‘WMD” to ‘Russian Hacking’

I noted that after Clapper had briefed President Obama on January 5, 2017 on the evidence-impoverished “Intelligence Community Assessment” alleging that Russian President Putin had personally ordered the “Russian hacking,” Obama seems not to have been persuaded. I asked Clapper why the President told a press conference on January 18, 2017 that the conclusions of the intelligence community regarding how “Russian hacking” of Democratic National Committee emails had gotten to WikiLeaks were “inconclusive.” Clapper said he could not explain why the President said that. 

Travel tip for Clapper: do not travel abroad to any country bold enough to invoke the principle of universal jurisdiction which includes the duty to arrest those suspected of war crimes when their home country fails to do so. Your mentor Donald Rumsfeld had a close brush with this international form of Lady Justice in October 2007, when he abruptly fled Paris upon learning that the Paris Prosecutor had been served a formal complaint against him for authorizing torture.  The complaint noted that authorities in the U.S. and Iraq had failed to launch any independent investigation into Rumsfeld’s responsibility, and also noted that the U.S. had refused to join the International Criminal Court, which might have had more routine jurisdiction.

Former President George W. Bush, too, had a close call in February 2011. When Bush heard that criminal complaints had been lodged against him in Switzerland, he decided not to take any chances and abruptly nixed longstanding plans to address a Jewish charity dinner in Geneva. Thus, both Rumsfeld and Bush were spared the humiliation that befell Gen. Augusto Pinochet, who had been head of Chile’s military dictatorship from 1973 to 1990. While on a trip to the United Kingdom in 1998, Pinochet was arrested on a Spanish judicial warrant and was held under house arrest until 2000.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. Among his duties as a CIA analyst was chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing/briefing the President’s Daily Brief. He is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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68 comments for “Clapper’s Credibility

  1. Mild - Ly- Facetious
    November 18, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    From Norman Mailer’s 1996 book, “The Harlot’s Ghost” : “Sometimes I think our future existence will depend on whether we can keep false information from proliferating too rapidly. If our power to verify the facts does not keep pace, then distortions of information will eventually choke us.” …

    Those are prescient words from his book brought back to life in this commentary from Ray McGovern.

    There are many known acts of subterfuge by our gov’t that’ve been swallowed / whole cloth by a trustful, unsuspicious/naive or, gullible American citizenry living everyday lives of succeeding or surviving // \\ parenting or chasing an education.

    The realization that our gov’t does not operate FOR THE PEOPLE, as advertised, must be recognized in this piece from a true humanitarian, McGovern.

    Where lies the disagreement between his seeming “approval” of Trump, vis-a-vis the Russia probe and my personal total
    DISSAPPROVAL of Trump, the avowed Nationalist… ?

    Mailer’s ‘fictional’ “The Harlots Ghost” is a full-of-wonder template for the intrigues of 21st century Cataclysmic Violence Against Civilians brought on by – the falsified/ Saudi Supplied, World Trade Center implosion — which OPENED THE FLOODGATES for

    The Brutal Assault upon the Nation and PEOPLE of Iraq — A NATION AND PEOPLE VIOLENTLY THRONE INTO DISARRAY and DISCOMBOBULATION only because UNITED STATES OIL COMPANIES OBSESSED TO OWN & CONTROL IRAC’S OIL. … and
    DICK CHANEY, (an oil company chief) was a prominent insider (along with the ex-CIA overseer George HW Bush) in this plot to overthrow and execute former USA Employee, Saddam Hussain — because U S oil company Chaney conspired with US oil companies for total control of Iraq Land Oil Deposits.

    “Clapper’s Credibility Collapses”

    — just as Colin Powell’s credibility collapsed after the “Yellow Cake ” nuclear material from Niger bull-spit evaporated ,Right?
    ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

    But Russian collaboration in CYBERNETICS with Republican Harlotry ought not to be confused with the Right Wing “patriotism” of those who align with BORIS YELKIN-IST Russian Sell-Outs — of whom, Putin is not . …

    Four Books i suggest to be parsed in this order:

    The Lessons of History , –Will & Ariel Durant

    The Anglo-American Establishment –Carroll Quigley

    Understanding Special Operations — David T. Ratcliffe

    Secret Wars Against The Jews ( for informative content) — John Loftus/Mark Aarons

    mildlyfacetious / “welcome to my world “

  2. timfrom
    November 18, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    The sound quality is lousy on the video clip. I can’t make out a word he’s saying. Did the mike have a coat over it or something?

  3. Protection Racquet
    November 17, 2018 at 2:46 am

    When did this perjurer before Congress have any credibility? The guys a professional liar.

    • Mild -ly Facetious
      November 18, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      The guy is a professional liar,and

      a member of The Establishment

      “The Anglo-American Establishment”

      Copyright 1981/ Books in Focus, Inc,

    • Vallejo D
      November 19, 2018 at 9:15 pm

      No shit. I saw the video of Clapper perjuring himself to the US Congress on national television, bald-face lying about the NSA clocking our emails.

      I wouldn’t believe Clapper if he the sky is blue and grass is green. EPIC liar.

      PS: Erstwhile national security state “friend” actually had the nerve to claim that “Clapper lied to protect you.” As if. My bet is that ONLY people on the planet who didn’t know about the NSA’s grotesque criminal were the American taxpayers.

    • Mild -ly Facetious
      November 20, 2018 at 12:38 pm

      RECALL THIS EXTRAORDINARY STATEMENT — from the GW Bush administration…

      There was, however, one valuable insight. In a soon-to-be-infamous passage, the writer, Ron Suskind, recounted a conversation between himself and an unnamed senior adviser to the president:

      The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernable reality.”

      I nodded and murmured something about Enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off.

      “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create reality. And while you are studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

      • Skip Scott
        November 20, 2018 at 2:32 pm

        That quote was from Karl Rove aka “Turd Blossom”.

  4. Anonymot
    November 16, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    Clapper and Brennan were simply neo-fascist stand-ins for Cheney and Rumsfeld. They were the voice of the Deep State Mindset and turned those ideas into action. As standard issue, high level bureaucrats they became more than just counsel to the decision makers, they made the decisions. Those decisions were so inept and corrupt that now they would like to recast their images – and follow the Clinton/Obama footsteps to fortunes via books, speeches, Board members and consultants.

    They and the many of their ilk in DC should join the others qualified for orange striped suits, but there’s no one left with the clout and integrity to lock them up.

    • Mild -ly - Facetious
      November 18, 2018 at 7:33 pm

      Anonymot , Yes!

      Here Is A Sequence of books for those who reside in chosen darkness:

      “The Lessons of History” by Will & Edith Durant – c. 1968

      “The Anglo-American Establishment” by Carroll Quigley – c. 1981

      “Understanding Special Operations” by David T. Ratcliffe – c. 1989 / 99

      ” The Secret War Against The Jews” by John Loftus and Mark Aarons c. 1994

  5. Douglas Baker
    November 16, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Thanks Ray. The clap merry-go-round in Washington, D.C., with V.D. assaulting brain integrity has been long playing there with James Clapper another hand in, in favor of the continuation of those that direct the United States’ war on world from Afghanistan to Syria, staying the course of firing up the world as though Northern California’s Camp fire sooting up much of the state with air borne particulate matter and leaving death and destruction in its wake.

    • VallejoD
      November 19, 2018 at 9:16 pm

      The Clap. Indeed! Lol.

  6. JRGJRG
    November 16, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    All this is fine, except it dares not touch the still taboo subject among these “professionals” of how all of this started getting justified in the first place when America attacked itself on September 11, 2001 in New York City and Washington in the most sophisticated and flawed false flag attack in history, murdering thousands of its own citizens Operation Northwoods style, blaming it on 19 Saudi hijackers with box cutters, the most grandiose of all conspiracy theory, the official 911 story.
    The incriminating evidence of what happened that day in 2001 is now absolutely overwhelming, but still too incredible and controversial for even these esteemed folks to come to grips with. If we’re going to take a shower and clean all this excrement off ourselves, let’s do it thoroughly.

    • JRGJRG
      November 16, 2018 at 7:46 pm

      In fact, wait! Let’s ask the really important question of Clapper.
      What was he doing and where was he on 9/11, the “New Pearl Harbor,” and what was his role in the coverup and transformation of the CIA in the ensuing years?
      Why doesn’t Ray ask him about that?

  7. Rob
    November 16, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Clapper still has credibility? Oh, that must be amongst the willfully ignorant corporate media and the uncritical public who follow them.

  8. November 16, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Clapper is a notorious liar who will go down in the annals of time as the biggest liar in the U. S. Intelligence Community’s history. Every word that Clapper says in public about his interactions with President Trump is a separate crime.

  9. jim c
    November 16, 2018 at 9:30 am

    facts of the matter is…nearly everyone in the upper US gov is a war criminal and a human rights violator…but the USA so soundly in the hands of the zionist ignores its mass murdering criminals if it serves the tribes interests

  10. GKJames
    November 16, 2018 at 6:46 am

    (1) One needn’t be a Clapper fan to say that he was merely a cog in a body politic that (a) lives and breathes using military force to “solve” geopolitical problems; and (b) has always been driven by the national myth of American exceptionalism and the American love of war. The only issue ever is the story Americans tell themselves as to why a particular assault on some benighted country that can’t meaningfully shoot back is justified. But for that, there are countless clever people in the corridors of power and the Infotainment Complex always eager to spread mendacity for fun and profit. Sure, hang Clapper, but if justice is what you’re after, you’d quickly run out of rope and wood.

    (2) What doesn’t compute: Clapper is quoted as saying that he and cohort “were so eager to help that [they] found what wasn’t really there”. That’s followed by: “Rumsfeld put him in charge … so that the absence of evidence could be hidden…. Clapper now admits [that] he had to find ‘what wasn’t really there'”. While Rumsfeld’s intent was exactly that, i.e., to prevent a narrative that he and Cheney had contrived, that’s not the same as Rumsfeld’s explicitly instructing Clapper et al to do that. Further, it mischaracterizes Clapper’s admission. He doesn’t admit that “he had to find” what wasn’t there (which would suggest prior intent). What he does admit is that the eagerness to please the chain of command resulted in “finding” what didn’t exist. One is fraud, the other group-think; two very different propositions. The latter, of course, has been the hallmark of US foreign policy for decades, though the polite (but accurate) word for it is “consensus”. Everybody’s in on it: the public, Congress, the press, and even the judiciary. By and large, it’s who Americans are.

    (3) Does this really equate the WMD fiasco with the alleged “desperate [attempt] to blame Trump’s victory on Russian interference”? Yes, Clapper was present in 2003 and 2016. But that’s a thin reed. First, no reasonable person says that Russian interference was the only reason that Clinton lost. Second, to focus on what was said in January 2017 ignores the US government’s notifying various state officials DURING THE CAMPAIGN in 2016, of Russian hacking attempts. If, as is commonly said, the Administration was convinced that Clinton would win, how could hacking alerts to the states have been part of an effort to explain away an election defeat that hadn’t happened yet, and which wasn’t ever expected to happen? And, third, as with WMDs, Clapper wasn’t out there on his own. While there were, unsurprisingly, different views among intelligence officials as to the extent of the Russian role, there was broad agreement that there had been one. Once again, fraud vs. group-think.

    • Skip Scott
      November 16, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      I think there is a big difference between “group think” and inventing and cherry picking intelligence to fit policy objectives. I believe there is ample evidence of fraud. The “dodgy dossier” and the yellow cake uranium that led to Plame being exposed as a CIA operative are two examples that come immediately to mind. “Sexed up” intelligence is beyond groupthink. It is the promoting of lies and the deliberate elimination of any counter narrative in order to justify an unjust war.

      The same could be said of the “all 17 intelligence agencies” statement about RussiaGate that was completely debunked but remained the propaganda line. It was way more than “groupthink”. It was a lie. It is part of “full spectrum dominance”.

      I do agree that “Clapper wasn’t out there on his own”. He is part of a team with an agenda, and in a just world they’d all be in prison.
      It wasn’t “mistaken” intelligence, or “groupthink”. You are trying to put lipstick on a pig.

      • GKJames
        November 17, 2018 at 7:21 am

        Fraud is easy to allege, hard to prove. In the case of Iraq, it’s important to accept that virtually everyone — the Administration, the press, the public, security agencies in multiple countries, and even UN inspectors (before the inspections, obviously) — ASSUMED that Saddam had WMDs. That assumption wasn’t irrational; it was based on Saddam’s prior behavior. No question, the Administration wanted to invade Iraq and the presumed-to-exist WMDs were the rationale. It was only when evidence appeared that the case for it wasn’t rock-solid that Cheney et al went to work. (The open question is whether they began to have their own doubts or whether it never occurred to them, given their obsession.) But there is zero evidence that anyone was asked to conclude that Saddam had WMDs even though the Americans KNEW that there weren’t any. That’s where the group-think and weak-kneed obeisance to political brawlers like Cheney come in. All he had to do was bark, and everyone fell in line, not because they knew there were no WMDs, but because they weren’t sure … but the boss certainly was.

        In that environment, what we saw from Clapper and his analysts wasn’t fraud but weakness of character, not to mention poor-quality analysis. And maybe that gets to the bigger question to which there appears to be an allergy: Shouting Fraud! effectively shuts down the conversation. After all, once you’ve done that, there’s not much else to say; these guys all lied and death and destruction followed. But what if the answer is just as likely that the national security state created by Truman has grown into something uncontrollable, beyond legitimate oversight by the people it’s supposed to serve? What if the people in that business aren’t all that clever, let alone principled? After all, the CIA is headed by a torture aficionada and we haven’t heard peep from the employee base, let alone the Congress that confirmed her. That entire ecosystem has been permitted to flourish without adult supervision for decades. Whenever someone asks, “that’s classified”. What do you do when Americans as a whole are perfectly fine with that?

        • Sam F
          November 18, 2018 at 8:17 am

          But fraud from the top was shown very well by Bamford in his book Pretext For War. Where discredited evidence was retained by intel agencies, as in the Iraq War II case, traitors like the zionist Wolfowitz simply installed known zionist warmongers Perl, Feith, and Wurmser into “stovepipe” offices at CIA, DIA, NSA to send the known-bad “evidence” to Rumsfeld & Cheney.

        • Skip Scott
          November 18, 2018 at 9:27 am

          They seem to conveniently classify anything that could prove illegality such as fraud, or in the case of the JFK assassination, something much worse. They use tools such as redaction and classification not only to protect “national security”, but to cover up their crimes.

          “But what if the answer is just as likely that the national security state created by Truman has grown into something uncontrollable, beyond legitimate oversight by the people it’s supposed to serve?”

          I believe this is very much the case, but that doesn’t preclude fraud as part of their toolkit. The people at the top of the illegalities are clever enough to use those less sharp (like Clapper) for their evil purposes, and if necessary, to play the fall guy. And although the Intelligence Agencies are supposed to serve “We the People”, they are actually serving unfettered Global Capitalism and the .1% that are trying to rule the world. This has been the case from its onset.

          Furthermore, I am an American, and I am definitely NOT FINE with the misuse of classification and redaction to cover up crimes. The way to fix the “entire ecosystem” is to start to demand it by prosecuting known liars like James Clapper, and to break up the MSM monopoly so people get REAL news again, and wake people up until they refuse to support the two party system.

          • GKJames
            November 19, 2018 at 10:20 am

            (1) Assuming you could find a DOJ willing to prosecute and a specific statute on which to bring charges, the chance of conviction is zero because the required fraudulent intent can’t be proved beyond reasonable doubt. All the defendant would have to say is, We thought WMDs were there but it turned out we were wrong. Besides, the lawyers said it’s all legal. And if you went after Clapper only, he’d argue (successfully) that it was a highly selective prosecution. (2) If you’re going to create a whole new category of criminal liability for incompetence and/or toadyism and careerism, Langley corridors would quickly empty. It’s certainly one way to reduce the federal workforce. (3) The intelligence agencies ARE serving “We the People”. There isn’t anything they do that doesn’t have the blessing of duly elected representatives in Congress. (4) That you, yourself, are “NOT FINE” overlooks the reality that your perspective gets routinely outvoted, though not because of “evil” or “fraud”. A Clapper behind bars would do zero to change that. Why? Because most Americans ARE fine with the status quo. That’s not a function of news (fake or real); Americans are drowning in information. Like all good service providers, the media are giving their customers exactly what they want to hear.

          • Skip Scott
            November 19, 2018 at 11:25 am

            GK-

            (1) It is you who is “assuming” that fraud could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. What if evidence was presented that showed that they didn’t really think there were WMD’s, but were consciously lying to justify an invasion. I agree that it would be nearly impossible to find a DOJ willing to prosecute within our corrupted government, but if we could get a 3rd party president to sign on to the ICC, we could ship a bunch of evil warmongers off to the Hague. (2) As already discussed, I don’t buy the representation of their actions as mere “toadyism”. (3) As shown by many studies, our duly elected representatives serve lobbyists and the .1%, not “We the People”. Here’s one from Princeton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tu32CCA_Ig (4) From your earlier post: “What do you do when Americans as a whole are perfectly fine with that?” Since I am part of the “whole”, your statement is obviously false. And Americans are drowning in MISinformation from our MSM, and that is a big part of the problem. And please provide evidence that most Americans are fine with the status quo. Stating that I get routinely outvoted when many Americans see their choice as between a lesser of two evils, and our MSM keeps exposure of third party viewpoints to a minimum, is an obvious obfuscation.

    • Sam F
      November 16, 2018 at 9:01 pm

      I will second Skip on that.
      The groupthink of careerists is not “who Americans are.”
      “Broad agreement” on an obvious fraud is a group lie.

    • November 17, 2018 at 10:49 am

      What Clapper did was fraud. What went on in his head was group-think. The two are by no means incompatible. The man admits to outright fabrication-
      “my team also produced computer-generated images of trucks fitted out as ‘mobile production facilities used to make biological agents.’ Those images, possibly more than any other substantiation he presented, carried the day with the international community and Americans alike.”
      He knew exactly what he was doing.

  11. K
    November 15, 2018 at 11:07 pm

    Well done Ray, challenging those responsible for international war crimes is a necessity if the world is to be fundamentally changed for the better. Illegal wars & the catastrophic consequences for nation states & their citizens has to be answerable in a war crimes tribunal. This should include both governments & corporate entities that elicit profits from doing so.

  12. wootendw
    November 15, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    “Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, said vehicle traffic photographed by U.S. spy satellites indicated that material and documents related to the arms programs were shipped to Syria…”

    Syria and Iraq became bitter enemies in 1982 when Syria backed Iran during the Iran-Iraq War. Syria even sent troops to fight AGAINST Saddam during the first Iraq War. Syria and Iraq did not restore diplomatic relations until after Saddam was captured. The idea that Saddam would send WMDs (if he had them) to Syria is ludicrous.

  13. Zhu
    November 15, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Cheney wanted to steal the oil. Bush wanted to fulfill prophecy & make Jesus Rapture him away from his problems. Neither plan worked.

  14. Zhu
    November 15, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    Our big shots never suffer for their crimes against humanity. Occasionally a Lt. Calley will get a year in jail for a massacre, but that’s it.

    • bostonblackie
      November 16, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      Calley was placed under house arrest at Fort Benning, where he served three and a half years.

      • JRGJRG
        November 16, 2018 at 7:16 pm

        That’s like less than 2.5 days served per each defenseless My Lai villager slaughtered, massacred, in cold blood.
        What kind of justice is that? Who gets away with murder that way?

  15. Helen Marshall
    November 15, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    While serving in an embassy in 2003, the junior officer in my office was chatting with the long-time local employee, after viewing the Powell Shuck and Jive. One said to the other, “the US calls North Korea part of the ‘Axis of Evil’ but doesn’t attack it because there is clear evidence that it has WMD including nukes.” And the other said “yes, and that’s why the US is going to invade Iraq because we know they don’t.” QED

    • John Flanagan
      November 16, 2018 at 10:25 pm

      Love this comment!

  16. Taras 77
    November 15, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    Thanks, Ray, for an excellent article!

    You are one of few who are calling out these treasonous bastards. I am still .waiting for at least some of them to do the perp walk, maybe in the presence of war widows, their children, and maimed war veterans.

  17. November 15, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Clapper played the central role in deceiving America into abandoning the republic and becoming the genocidal empire now terrorizing Planet Earth. If it is too late; if the criminals have permanent control of our government, there won’t be a cleansing Nuremberg Tribunal, and our once-great USA will continue along its course of death and destruction until it destroys itself.

    Where are our patriots? If any exist, now is the time for a new Nuremberg.

    • Zhu
      November 15, 2018 at 8:56 pm

      The genocidal empire goes back to 1950 the Korean War.

      • bostonblackie
        November 16, 2018 at 1:58 pm

        How about 1945 and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

        • JRGJRG
          November 16, 2018 at 7:08 pm

          Keep going. Further back than that.
          How about the Spanish American War, justified by the false flag blowing up of the Maine in Havana Harbor, which led to the four-year genocidal war against Filipino rebels and the war against the Cubans?
          How about the 19th Century genocide of Native Americans? What was that justified by, except for lust for conquest of territory and racism?
          How about America’s role with other western colonial powers in the 1900 Boxer Rebellion in China.
          The list of American violations of international law is too long to restate here, in the hundreds.
          The only way out of this moral dilemma is to turn a new page in history in a new administration, hold our war criminals in the dock, and make amends under international law, and keep them, somehow without sacrificing national jurisdiction or security. America has to be reformed as an honest broker of peace instead of the world’s leading pariah terrorist state.

          • bostonblackie
            November 17, 2018 at 4:29 pm

            How about slavery? America was founded on genocide and slavery!

  18. Skip Scott
    November 15, 2018 at 9:44 am

    I think Ray is being a little overly optimistic about Clapper being travel restricted. Universal Jurisdiction is for the small fry. Even with Bush and Rumsfeld, their changing travel plans was probably more about possible “bad press” than actual prosecution. Maybe down the road, when the USA collapse is more obvious to our “vassals” and they start to go their own way, such a thing could happen. Even then, we’ve got tons of armaments, and a notoriously itchy trigger finger.

    My hope is that the two party system collapses and a Green Party candidate gets elected president. He or she could then sign us on to the ICC, and let the prosecutions begin. I know it’s delusional, but a guy’s gotta dream.

  19. Robert Emmett
    November 15, 2018 at 8:52 am

    It occurs to me that even given Cheney’s infamous 1% doctrine, these no-goodniks couldn’t even scratch together enough of a true story to pass that low bar. So they invented, to put it mildly, plausible scenarios, cranked-up the catapults of propaganda and flung them in our faces via the self-absorbed, self-induced, money grubbing fake patriots of mass media.

    But, geez, Ray, it’s not as if we didn’t already know about fixing facts around the policy, resignations of career operatives because of politicizing intelligence, reports of Scott Ritter, plus the smarmy lying faces & voices of all the main actors in the Cheney-Rumsfeld generated mass hysteria. I doubt these types of reveals, though appreciatively confirming what we already know, will change very many minds now. After all, the most effective war this cabal has managed to wage has been against their own people.

    Perhaps when these highfalutin traitors, treasonous to their oaths to protect the founding principles they swore to preserve, at last shuffle off their mortal coils, future generations will gain the necessary perspective to dismiss these infamous liars with the contempt they deserve. But that’s just wishful thinking because by then the incidents that cranked-up this never-ending war likely will be the least of their worries.

    In the meantime, the fact that this boiled egghead continues to spew his Claptrap on a major media channel tells you all you need to know about how deeply the poison of the Bush-Cheney era has seeped into the body politic and continues to eat away at what remains of the foundations while the military-media-government-corporate complex metastasizes.

    • Sam F
      November 15, 2018 at 9:03 pm

      Ray knows that the well-informed know much of the story, and likely writes to bring us the Clapper memoir confession and summarize for the less informed.

  20. November 15, 2018 at 7:11 am

    I am always glad to see confirmation in such matters, however, for people who work to inform themselves and think critically, there are no real surprises to be discovered about the invasion of Iraq.

    It could be clearly seen as a fraud at the time because there were a number of experts, experts not working for the American government, who in effect told us then that it was a fraud.

    What the whole experience with Iraq reveals is a couple of profound truths about imperial America, truths that are quite unpleasant and yet seem to remain lost to the general public.

    One, lying and manipulation are virtually work-a-day activities in Washington. They go on at all levels of the government, from the President through all of the various experts and agency heads who in theory hold their jobs to inform the President and others of the truth in making decisions.

    Indeed, these experts and agency heads actually work more like party members from George Orwell’s Oceania in 1984, party members whose job it is to constantly rewrite history, making adjustments in the words and pictures of old periodicals and books to conform with the Big Brother’s latest pronouncements and turns in policy.

    America has an entire industry devoted to manufacturing truth, something the rather feeble term “fake news” weakly tries to capture.

    The public’s reaction to officials and agencies in Washington ought to be quite different than it generally is. It should be a presumption that they are not telling the truth, that they are tailoring a story to fit a policy. It sounds extreme to say so, but it truly is not in view of recent history.

    We are all watching actors in a costly play used to support already-determined destructive policies.

    Two, the press lies, and it lies almost constantly in support of government’s decided policies. You simply cannot trust the American press on such matters, and the biggest names in the press – the New York Times or Washington Post or CBS or NBC – are the biggest liars because they put the weight of their general prestige into the balance to tip it.

    Their fortunes and interests are too closely bound to government to be in the least trusted for objective journalism. Journalism just does not exist in America on the big stuff.

    This support is not just done on special occasions like the run-up to the illegal invasion of Iraq but consistently in the affairs of state. We see it today in everything from “Russia-gate” to the Western-induced horrors of Syria. Russia-gate is almost laughable, although few Americans laugh, but a matter like Syria, with more than half a million dead and terrible privations, isn’t laughable, yet no effort is made to explain the truth and bring this monstrous project – the work equally of Republicans and Democrats – to an end.

    Three, while virtually all informed people know that Israel’s influence in Washington is inordinate and inappropriate, many still do not realize that the entire horror of Iraq, just like the horror today of Syria, reflects the interests and demands of Israel.

    George Bush made a rarely-noticed, when Ariel Sharon was lobbying him to attack other Middle Eastern countries following the Iraq invasion, along the lines of, “Geez, what does the guy want? I invaded Iraq for him, didn’t I?”

    Well, today, pretty much all of the countries that Sharon thought should be attacked have indeed been attacked by the United States and its associates in one fashion or another – covertly, as in Syria, or overtly, as in Libya. And we are all witnessing the ground being prepared for Iran.

    It has been a genuinely terrifying period, the last decade and a half or so. War after war with huge numbers of innocents killed, vast damages inflicted, and armies of unfortunate refugees created. All of it completely unnecessary. All of it devoid of ethics or principles beyond the principle of “might makes right.”

    It simply cannot be distinguished, except by order of magnitude, from the grisly work of Europe’s fascist governments of the 1930s and ‘40s.

    All the discussions we read or see from America about truth in journalism, about truth in government, and about founding principles are pretty much distraction and noise, meaningless noise. The realities of what America is doing in the world make it so.

    • Sam F
      November 15, 2018 at 8:56 pm

      Very true.

    • tpmco
      November 16, 2018 at 2:48 am

      Great comment.

  21. john Wilson
    November 15, 2018 at 4:47 am

    It seems to me that showing up the blatant lies of the Iraq affair, while laudable, doesn’t really get us anywhere. The guilty are never and will never be brought to account for their heinous crimes and some of the past villains are still lying, scheming, and brining about war, terror and horror today.

    If the white helmets in Syria, the lies about Libya, the West engineered coupé in The Ukraine, Yemen, etc, aren’t all tactics from the same play book used by the criminal cabals of the Iraq time, then we are blind. These days, the liars in the deep state, an expression which encapsulates everything from Intel to think tanks, don’t even try to tell plausible lies, they just say anything and MSM cheers them on. Anyone challenging the MSM/government/deep state etc are just ridiculed and called conspiracy theorists, no matter how obvious and ludicrous the lies are.

    • Sam F
      November 15, 2018 at 6:26 am

      In fact “showing up the blatant lies of the Iraq affair” informs others, to whom the MSM can no longer cheer on liars, nor ridicule truth. Truth telling, like contemplation, is essential before the point of action.

  22. Randal
    November 15, 2018 at 2:38 am

    I remember a woman reporter saying the reason we invaded Iraq was because Sadam Husien had put a bounty on the Bush family for running him out of qwait. This was a personal revenge to take out Husien before he had a chance at the Bush’s. Any way the reporter was silenced very quickly. I personally believe the allegation.

  23. November 15, 2018 at 1:54 am

    You have my complete and total respect Mr. McGovern. That was beautiful! Thank you.

  24. F. G. Sanford
    November 15, 2018 at 1:33 am

    “We drew on all of NIMA’s skill sets … and it was all wrong.”

    Every time I hear the term, “skill sets”, I recall a military colleague who observed, “We say skill sets so we don’t have to say morons.” They used to say, “The military doesn’t pay you to think.” Now they say, “We have skill sets.” It’s a euphemism for robotized automatons who perform specific standardized tasks based on idealized training requirements which evolve from whatever the latest abstract military doctrine happens to be. And, they come up with new ones all the time.

    “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” This is a phrase Rumsfeld borrowed directly – and I’m not making this up – from the UFO community. It was apparently first uttered by Carl Sagan, and then co-opted by people like Stanton Friedman. He’s the guy who claims we recovered alien bodies from flying saucers at Roswell, New Mexico. The scientific antidote to the “absence of evidence” argument is, of course, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” Simply put, absence of evidence really just means “no evidence”. A hypothesis based on “no evidence” constitutes magical thinking.

    It’s probably worth going to Youtube and looking up a clip called “Stephen Gets a Straight Answer Out of Donald Rumsfeld”. He admits to Colbert that, “If it was true, we wouldn’t call it intelligence.” Frankly, Clapper’s gravest sin is heading up a science-based agency like NIMA, but failing to come to the same conclusion as General Albert Stubblebine. People who analyze reconnaissance imagery are supposed to be able to distinguish explosive ordnance damage from other factors. But, I guess Newtonian Physics is “old school” to this new generation of magical thinkers and avant-garde intelligence analysts.

    • Sam F
      November 16, 2018 at 10:44 am

      Part of the problem of “intelligence” is its reliance upon images that show a lot of detail but without any definite meaning, and upon guesses to keep managers and politicians happy. So “expert assessments” that milk trucks in aerial photos might be WMD labs became agency “confidence” and then politician certainties, never verified.

      When suspect evidence was retained by intel agencies, as in the Iraq War II case, traitors like the zionist Wolfowitz simply installed known zionist warmongers Perl, Feith, and Wurmser into “stovepipe” offices at CIA, DIA, NSA to send the non-evidence to Rumsfeld. See Bamford’s Pretext For War.

  25. Gen Dau
    November 14, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Thank you, Ray, for a very good article that treats Clapper objectively and not as a demi-god, as most of the MSM and the Democratic establishment does. It is totally unacceptable for a government official, current or former, to answer “I don’t know.” That is the hideout of irresponsible scoundrels. Questioners should be allowed to ask follow-up questions such as, “If you didn’t know, did you try to think about why the President’s opinion on this very important question was different from yours? Is simply not knowing acceptable for an intel officer, especially one in a leadership position?” I look forward to your further reports and analyses.

    Thanks also to the editors for returning at least the main text to a readable font. But why not go whole hog and make reading everything a pleasure again? Putting the headlines in a hard-to-read and distracting font is especially unfortunate, since some casual visitors to Consortium News may be turned off by the headlines and skip reading the very important articles attached to the headlines.

    • Daniel
      November 15, 2018 at 3:13 am

      You are right, my friend.

  26. November 14, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    According to my calculations (admittedly simplistic), the world has past the point of peak oil and in aggregate cannot produce enogh oil to meet present and future demand and that may very well be why the US is doing its best to destroy or damage as many economies in the world as it can…even if it has to go to war to do it. Once it becomes well established that we are past peak oil no telling what our financial markets will look like. Would appreciate hearing from someone who has more expertise than I have. https://www.gpln.com

    • anon4d2s
      November 14, 2018 at 10:23 pm

      Why are you trying to change the subject? Please desist.

      • November 15, 2018 at 1:01 pm

        I’m offering you the, or a, motive of why the deep state is pursuing the agendas we see unfolding, which is to say, the crimes, the lies, the treason that the likes of Clapper, Bush, Obama, Clinton and others are pursuing to cover up their reaction to their own fears. Of course 9/11, the false flag coup and smoking gun that proves my point is still the big elephant in the room and will eventually bring us down if the truth is never released from its chains.

      • November 15, 2018 at 2:43 pm

        I didn’t change the subject. I’m offering you an answer as to the motive of why so many officials are willing to trash the Constitution in order to accomplish their insane agendas. It’s all about money and power and the terrified Deep State fear of facing the blowback from the lies that have been propagated by the government and media regarding just about everything. Here’s another place you might want to look in addition to my website: https://youtu.be/CDpE-30ilBY It’s not just about oil. But this is where the rubber’s going to meet the road. This is about what’s going to hit the fan at any moment… and in the absence of the Truth, we are all going to face this unprepared. 9/11 is still the smoking gun. It not just a few liars and cheats we’re talking about.

      • November 15, 2018 at 11:58 pm

        I didn’t change the subject. The purpose of the search for WMD was to misdirect the public’s attention away from the real purpose of the invasion which was to gain control of Iraq’s oil reserves primarily. Misdirection is primary skill used by those in power and very effectively.

    • November 14, 2018 at 11:23 pm

      On my website you might want to review what I wrote here: “Why the Economy Can’t Recover” https://www.gpln.com/audacityofhope.htm

  27. Skip Edwards
    November 14, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    Thanks, as always, go out to Ray for his continued bravery in speaking truth to power. I remember years ago when David McMichaels, Ex-CIA, gave a talk at Ft Lewis College in Durango, CO, about Ronnie Reagan’s corruption in what the US was doing to the elected government in Nicaragua. Thanks to both of these men for trying to inform us all about the corruption so rampant in our government. This is further proof that Trump is only a small pimple on top of the infectous boil that is our government.

  28. Sam F
    November 14, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Hurray for Ray McGovern! A beautiful and superbly-planned confrontation. We are lucky that Clapper admitted these things in his memoir, but we needed you to bring that out in public with full and well-selected information. You are truly a gem, whom I hope someday to meet.

    • Sam F
      November 14, 2018 at 10:19 pm

      An astounding revelation of systematic delusion in secret agencies.

      But until now my best source on the Iraq fake WMD has been Bamford’s Pretext For War, in which he establishes that zionist DefSec Wolfowitz appointed three known zionist operatives Perl, Wurmser, and Feith to “stovepipe” known-bad info to Rumsfeld et al. Does the memoir shed any light there, and does your information agree?

  29. mike k
    November 14, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Spies lie constantly, they have no respect for the truth. To trust a spy is a sign of dangerous gullibility. Spies are simply criminals for hire.

    • Gen Dau
      November 14, 2018 at 10:30 pm

      Yes, I also hope our replies will be in a more civil and less reader-hostile font. The same font as the article text would be fine.

    • dfnslblty
      November 15, 2018 at 9:59 am

      I would offer that spies do not lie ~ they gather information.
      Spy masters do lie ~ they prevaricate to fit the needs of their masters.

    • Tomonthebeach
      November 15, 2018 at 11:48 pm

      To paraphrase in a way that emphasizes the deja vu. Trump lies constantly, he has no respect for the truth. To trust Trump is a sign of dangerous gullibility. Trump is simply a crook for hire, and it would seem that Putin writes the checks.

      • anon4d2s
        November 16, 2018 at 10:48 am

        Gosh, you fooled everyone so easily with standard Dem zionist drivel!
        Why not admit that every US politician is bought, including Dems?
        Don’t forget to supply your unique evidence of Russian tampering.

    • Mild-ly - Facetious
      November 18, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      “Clapper’s Credibility Collapses”

      as does Colin Powell’s U.N.BULL Spit Yellow Cake propaganda/

      all that’s required is a Sales Pitch to everyday striving citizens into

      how a brutal strain of aristocrat have come to rule america

      and how you must delve into the Back-Stories of, for example,

      GHW Bush CIA connection and his presents in Dallas, 1963

      credibility collapses abound under weight of ‘what really happened’

      after Chaney convened summit of oil executives just PRIOR to 9/11?

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