RAY McGOVERN: Why Michael Morell Cannot Be CIA Director

Gross manipulation of CIA analysis under George W. Bush pushed a new generation of “yes men” into the agency’s top ranks and now one of them is being considered by Joe Biden for the top job, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Aerial view of CIA headquarters.in Langley, Virginia. (Carol M. Highsmith, Wikimedia Commons)

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News

As President-elect Joe Biden names his cabinet and other chief advisers, what has escaped wide attention is the fact that none of his hawkish national security advisers — except for his nominee for defense secretary, Gen. Lloyd Austin — has served in the military.

Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell, who is reportedly on Biden’s short list for CIA director, shares that non-veteran status, one of the reasons along with other skeletons from Morell’s past that make him singularly unfit to lead the CIA.

During my 27 years at the CIA, I worked under nine CIA directors — three of them (Stan Turner, Bill Colby, and George H.W. Bush) at close remove — and served in all four of the agency’s main directorates.

Having closely followed the past-two-decade corruption of my profession — in particular, what the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee called the “uncorroborated, contradicted, or even non-existent” intelligence manufactured to “justify” the attack on Iraq, I have on occasion offered an suggestions for remediation, particularly during transition periods like this one. (Links to five such efforts in the past appear below.)

Whiz Kids

Michael Morell, acting director of the CIA, Feb. 14, 2013. (DoD Photo By Glenn Fawcett)

Decades of unfortunate experience show that over-dependence on bright, but inexperienced “best and brightest” can spell disaster. War gaming and theorizing at Princeton and Johns Hopkins have yielded knights with benightedly naive, politics-drenched decisions that get U.S. troops killed for no good reason.

Even if Gen. Lloyd Austin is confirmed as secretary of defense, the whippersnappers already appointed by Joe Biden will probably be able to outmaneuver the general and promote half-baked policies and operations bereft of needed military input — not to mention common sense from the likes of Gen. Austin who knows something of war.

The current generation of “whiz kids” — the well-heeled, politically astute chickenhawks Biden has appointed — will always “know better” and — if past is precedent — are likely to pooh pooh what Gen. Austin may advise, assuming he is able to get a word in edgeways.

Moreover, ambitious former generals like David Petraeus — many of them now on the outside of the proverbial revolving door making big bucks in the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank) complex — will not hesitate to weigh in with their own self-interested support to the chickenhawks, fostering the notion that military threats from notional enemies warrant still more funding for the defense contractors on whose boards so many alumni generals sit.

Who does not remember the braggadocio accompanying the criminal attack on Iraq, the full-throated support of journalists like David Sanger of The New York Times, and the chest-thumping of Bush/Cheney neocons saying “Real men go to Tehran?” (Sanger is still at it, sitting on the “Judith Miller Chair for Journalism”.)

Clearly, one does not have to go as far back as Vietnam for noxious examples of the harm that can be done by these “best and brightest,” albeit inexperienced advisers — whether out of the myth of American exceptionalism, ignorance of post-WWII military history, or pure arrogance.

It may be helpful to recall that Vice President Dick Cheney, the archdeacon of the chickenhawks, acquired five draft deferments during Vietnam. (So did his successor as vice president, the president-elect.)

Cheney, Tenet and Bush (White House photo)

Cheney, of course, was the driving force behind the attack on Iraq. He had appointed himself Bush’s principal intelligence officer (usurping the role of CIA Director George Tenet who made not a murmur of protest) and went first and biggest with the Big Lie on (ephemeral) weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Here’s Cheney in his kick-off speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Aug. 26, 2002: “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”

Simply stated, Tenet dutifully followed White House orders to “fix” the intelligence to support Cheney’s accusations against Iraq. Tenet did so formally in the deceitful National Intelligence Estimate of Oct. 1, 2002 — which earned the sobriquet “The Whore of Babylon.”

It was successfully used to get Congress to enable Bush/Cheney to make war on Iraq, and eventually create havoc in the whole region. In his memoir Tenet gave the laurels to Morell for “coordinating the CIA review” of Secretary of State Colin Powell’s UN speech that let slip the dogs of war. (Details on that below)

Cakewalks and Cubbyholes

Cheney, the quintessential chickenhawk, surrounded himself with advisers of the same bent. One pitiable example was armchair warrior Kenneth Adelman, who had been director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under President Reagan. In a Washington Post op-ed of Feb. 13, 2002, Adelman wrote: “I believe demolishing Hussein’s military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk.”

Two years later, Adelman wrote an equally pathetic op-ed, insisting that he and his neoconservative friends had been right on everything except Iraq possessing WMD, Iraqi factions cooperating after Saddam Hussein was deposed, and “probably” on close ties between Saddam and al-Qaeda.

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As for Cheney himself, he did memorize some weapons nomenclature vocabulary, but could not avoid an occasional faux pas betraying his lack of familiarity with things on the ground. Nine months after the attack on Iraq, when WMD were still nowhere to be found, NPR asked Cheney whether he had given up on finding them.

“No, we haven’t,” he said. “It’s going to take some additional, considerable period of time in order to look in all the cubbyholes and ammo dumps and all the places in Iraq where you’d expect to find something like that.” (The continued, quixotic search cost not only a billion dollars but the lives of U.S. troops.).

The amateur but opinionated Cheney was the largest fly in the intelligence ointment. Four months into the war it got so blatantly bad that we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) sent a Memorandum to President Bush entitled “Intelligence Unglued”, recommending that he “ask for Cheney’s immediate resignation.”

Naiveté on War

Jake Sullivan, seated farthest back, as national security advisor to vice president, in a meeting with President Barack Obama and advisers, Aug. 29, 2013. (White House, Pete Souza)

In a recent, disturbingly graphic article entitled “Biden’s young Hawk: The Case Against Jake Sullivan,” retired Army Maj. Danny Sjursen broadly hinted that President Biden’s national security adviser should at least look at the photos. (An editor’s note in the piece explained that such photos are almost totally absent from Establishment media: “Graphic images of war and suffering are included with this text. We believe it is important for the world to witness what their taxes, votes and apathy may be supporting.” )

In his article Sjursen finds himself wondering “whether Sullivan’s ever seen a dead child, gazed upon the detritus of American empire, waded through the sights and smells of our indecency. And, worse still, I wondered whether it’d matter much if he had. …”

The national security adviser is gatekeeper to the president, with the gate strong or weak depending — at least in concept — on what the president wants. In the normal course of business, the CIA director and the director of national intelligence would go through the security adviser to get to the president. Cabinet secretaries in the national security arena and, when appropriate, FBI directors often use the same channel.

What seems important here, though widely overlooked, is that no Biden national security appointee/nominee except Gen. Austin has apparently served a day in the military. Not Sullivan, not DNI nominee Avril Haines, not secretary of state nominee Antony Blinken, and not FBI Director Christopher Wray.

This is just one factor that should disqualify Morell for director of Central Intelligence (DCI). There are already far too many fledgling warhawks-without war experience. In Morell’s case, though, there are many other factors — some even more important — that disqualify him. His playing fast and loose regarding the legality and effectiveness of torture has been in the headlines recently, thanks to Senate Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden (D-OR), who called Morell a “torture apologist.”

It has been a challenge to record Morell’s many artful dodges, but Consortium News did publish “On Iraq/Torture, Still in Denial”, as Morell began to peddle his memoir in May 2015.

Two of Morell’s tours de force with Charlie Rose in 2016, in which Morell advocates killing Russians and Iranians in Syria, were covered by CN.

More revealing still — and damning of his chances for another try at CIA — is an article, “Rise of Another CIA Yes Man.” That piece was written when Morell was picked to be Gen. David Petraeus’s deputy at CIA; it ends with personal comments by intelligence professionals who knew Morell well.

The article also includes citations from Tenet’s own memoir, including encomia he threw in Morell’s direction, one of which should actually be enough to bar Morell from any future role in intelligence.

Tenet to the left of Powell at the United Nations on Feb. 5. 2003. (Wikimedia Commons)

In Tenet’s book, At the Center of the Storm, he writes that Morell “coordinated the CIA review” of the intelligence used by Secretary of State Colin Powell in his infamous Feb. 5, 2003 speech to the UN Security Council on the threat from (non-existent) WMD in Iraq.

Tenet, who sat directly behind Powell on that day, pointed out that Morell had served as regular briefer to President George W. Bush. It has been reported that, of the CIA’s finished intelligence product on Iraq, it was The President’s Daily Brief delivered by Morell that most exaggerated the danger from Iraq.

Morell fluttered quickly up CIA ranks as the yes-sir protege of two CIA directors who were, arguably, the worst of them all — “Slam-Dunk” Tenet and the-Russians-hacked-so-Trump-won John Brennan. During the presidential campaign of 2016, as Brennan and his accomplices in the National Security State worked behind the scenes to sabotage candidate Donald Trump, Morell dropped any pretense of nonpartisanship — which used to be the hallmark of an intelligence professional.

From retirement (but with eyes on the big prize he coveted in a new Democratic administration), Morell openly backed the Democratic candidate in a highly unusual op-ed in The New York Times on August 5, 2016: “I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton.”

Iraq: the Crucible

In my view, the key gauge in weighing qualifications for a national security position like CIA director is whether a candidate showed good judgment before the misbegotten, calamitous attack on Iraq.

Morell flunks that test outright. Accordingly, he can hardly be expected to be one of the calmer voices in a room of still less experienced fledgling hawks who, to quote Maj. Sjursen, have never “waded through the sights and smells of our indecency” in killing and maiming abroad. With Morell in the room, there would be greater risk of the U.S. getting sucked into still more misadventures overseas.

What did Morell tell Bush about Iraq? In Tenet’s memoir, he describes Morell as “the perfect guy” to brief President Bush, noting that Morell and Bush hit it off “almost immediately”. Morell added later: “I was President Bush’s first intelligence briefer, so I briefed him kind of the entire year of 2001.”

‘The Entire Year 2001’

So, was Iraqi President Saddam Hussein trying to acquire “weapons of mass destruction” during 2001? The first (and honest) answer was ”No” — if Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice are to be believed. Here’s what they said at the time — Powell publicly during a speech in Cairo and Rice to CNN five months later.

Powell on Feb. 24, 2001:

“He [Saddam Hussein] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors.”

Rice told CNN’s John King on July 29, 2001:

“We are able to keep arms from him [Saddam Hussein]. His military forces have not been rebuilt.”

Is this what Morell told Bush just six weeks before 9/11? Did Morell ever explain how Iraq could have developed, purchased, or stolen copious WMD in one year’s time?

Rice. (Wikipedia)

And when Morell briefed Bush right after 9/11, was the president fixated on Saddam Hussein, as counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke describes him in his book Against All Enemies? According to Clarke, on 9/12 Bush told him “to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he’s linked in any way.”

Clarke says he was incredulous, replying, “But, Mr. President, al-Qaeda did this.” In later interviews Clarke added that he felt he was being intimidated to find a link between the attacks and Iraq.

Did Morell play it straight and tell Bush (as Clarke did) that Iraq had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or the attacks of 9/11? Did Clarke share that vignette at the time with Tenet and Morell?

And what about those notional Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq? After 9/11, did Morell take his cue from Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Tenet and give President Bush the impression that Iraq already had all manner of WMD and was on the threshold of acquiring a nuclear weapon?

Sham Dunk

Later, in December 2002 when Morell’s boss Tenet assured Bush and Cheney that CIA could prove, slam-dunkedly, the existence of WMD in Iraq, did Morell ever ask himself how both Powell and Rice could have been so far off base the year before?

Far more likely, Morell knew what the game was, as he watched Rice do a fancy pirouette, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Sept. 8, 2002 that “Saddam Hussein is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon. We do know that there have been shipments into Iraq of aluminum tubes that really are only suited to nuclear weapons programs.”

The most accomplished engineers and technical intelligence analysts in the intelligence community knew that the aluminum tubes story was BS. In the finest tradition of intelligence analysis, they remained impervious to the political winds. They insisted that associating those aluminum tubes with nuclear weapons development was wrong and they could not be persuaded to go along. And yet that bogus information got into Powell’s February 2003 speech at the UN.

In Morell’s memoir he wrote that he wanted to apologize to Powell. Morell says, “We said he [Saddam Hussein] has chemical weapons, he has a biological weapons production capability, and he’s restarting his nuclear weapons program. We were wrong on all three of those.”

But not my fault, wrote Morell, who tried to shift the blame by claiming he was not a senior official at the time.

How does that square with Tenet writing that Morell “coordinated the CIA review” of Powell’s speech? Whom to believe? However begrudging must be any trust given “slam-dunk” and “we-do-not-torture”Tenet, he presumably would have less reason to dissimulate than Morell in this particular case.

Assuming Morell did “coordinate the CIA review” of Powell’s speech, did Morell know about the strong dissent on the infamous aluminum tubes?

More important, did he know that CIA operators had recruited and “turned” Naji Sabri, the Iraqi foreign minister (who Saddam Hussein continued to believe was still working for him) and, with the help of British intelligence, had “turned” the chief of Iraqi intelligence, Habbush, as well.

After the reporting from these two sources on other issues and after their access to secret information was evaluated and judged to be genuine, President Bush was told that Sabri and Habbush both said there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Sabri’s information was given to the president by Tenet on Sept. 18, 2002; Habbush’s in late Jan. 2003. 

Did Tenet not share that with Morell before he coordinated CIA input into Powell’s speech?

Clearly, this first-hand intelligence from proven sources with excellent access did not suit the Cheney/Bush narrative for war on Iraq. The president’s staff told CIA operatives not to forward additional reporting on this issue from these sources, explaining that Bush did not want more information about weapons of mass destruction; rather, it was now about “regime change.”

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

Did Morell know about this when he was “coordinating” input into Powell’s disastrous speech? It is a safe bet that Morell was fully aware of the con job he was “coordinating” — as did other senior intelligence officials.

In his own memoir, former Director of National Intelligence (and, during Iraq, director of imagery analysis), James Clapper takes a share of the blame for the Iraq WMD fiasco. Clapper puts the blame for “the failure” to find the (non-existent) WMD “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) .

Regarding Morell’s “I-confess-they-did-it” apology to Powell, the still-youngish Morell has not stopped lusting for an eventual seat at the table, so he apparently thought it a smart move politically. Typically, Powell did not react — as far as is known. Nor has the conflict-averse Powell summoned the cohones to say clearly what he thinks of how Tenet, Morell, et al. sold him a bill of goods on Iraq.

In the “where-are-they-now?” department, Tenet quit in July 2004 and fled to Wall Street to be joined the following year by Jami Miscik, who was deputy director for intelligence during the Iraq fiasco. She “lucked into” a nice job at Lehman Brothers before it went bust.

Note to readers: If you know someone advising the Biden team on selecting a director for CIA, please pass this along.

Finally, those interested in suggestions from the experience of previous transition teams, please click on one or two of the links below. The key issues tend to remain the same. Above all, integrity counts.

Additional Readings

1 — A Compromised Central Intelligence Agency: What Can Be Done?

By Ray McGovern, 2004

Chapter 4 in “Patriotism, Democracy, and Common Sense: Restoring America’s Promise at Home and Abroad”, Rowman & Littlefield, 2004

Ray’s chapter follows chapters by Alan Curtis (editor), Gary Hart, and Jessica Mathews.

Link to Chapter 4 text:


2 — Sham Dunk: Cooking Intelligence for the President?

By Ray McGovern, 2005

Chapter 19 in “Neo-CONNED! Again: Hypocrisy, Lawlessness, and the Rape of Iraq”, Light in the Darkness Publications, 2005?https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vBsKG1CRHTpqKrtOm4_bftQSOWtjF_PE/view?usp=sharing

3 — Try These on Your CIA Briefer, Mr. President-Elect

By Ray McGovern, November 8, 2008


4 — What Needs to Be Done in Intelligence (a memo for the Bush-to-Obama transition team)

By Ray McGovern. December 4, 2008


5 — US Intelligence Vets Oppose Brennan’s CIA Plan

By Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), March 9, 2015



Ray McGovern was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer before serving as a CIA analyst. A specialist on Russia, he also prepared and delivered The President’s Daily Brief for Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. In retirement, he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Ray works with Tell the Word, a publishing ministry of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.

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23 comments for “RAY McGOVERN: Why Michael Morell Cannot Be CIA Director

  1. Zhu
    December 13, 2020 at 00:12

    Sorry, scapegoaters, but we Americans are responsible for all our crimes and follies, not the Bush family, not the Israelis, not the Man in yhe Moon or the Grand Conjunction. We did it. Wr are to blamem

  2. Zhu
    December 12, 2020 at 23:02

    Does it matter if Godzilla or Mechagodzilla is i charge?

  3. Realist
    December 12, 2020 at 18:03

    Is the make up of the senate going to influence the outcome of this appointment or any other of Biden’s cabinet or the directors of critical federal agencies? Should we hope the GOPers sweep the special senatorial elections in Georgia to restrain Biden’s worst instincts (which seem to be congruent with those of the Clintons and Obama, always for more war and spending our tax dollars on anything and everything except the desperate needs of the voters) or won’t that make a hoot of difference, because when it comes to making war, stiffing the tax payers and generally bollixing things up both parties are always on the same page? Just generally, I wouldn’t trust giving Biden the opportunity to write his own legislation that is expected to come with control of both houses of congress.

    Yeah, I guess I’m pulling for gridlock yet again…because the clowns once again put in office are NOT funny, they are dangerous. This Morell character, now he is really another Hitler, the genuine article who just lays it out there: to get the policies “we” want we have to make the Russians bleed, says he. After that accomplishment everybody dies in the resultant world war. Still won’t be any regrets for Morell, after all he will have imposed his will on reality, which is the most important thing in the universe, to him. The “will to power,” you can see it exuding out of every pore in his body.

  4. Jeff Harrison
    December 12, 2020 at 13:01

    “With Morell in the room, there would be greater risk of the U.S. getting sucked into still more misadventures overseas.”

    I take issue with this statement, Ray. The rest of your peroration is a tour de force but this statement makes it sound like we are being dragged against our will into overseas adventures when, in fact, we are jumping in with both feet in an effort to expand our imperium.

    • robert e williamson jr
      December 12, 2020 at 18:43

      Jeff I need a much more detailed explanation of just how it is we are jumping in with both feet in an effort to expand our imperium.

      You seem to be completely unaware that many individuals have spoken out forcefully against just such actions.

      Who exactly are the “we” you refer to? I see that many are weary of the nations quest of empire. The nation is failing and more war is something this country cannot afford.

      I suppose you refer only to those who agree with you, I’m with Ray and so are many others.

      In fact I do worry that many who serve the country with their military service are weary also, but worries me the most is that we have “lifer” service men who see war as the answer to their success in the military. Gotta make rank ya know!

      You may take issue with Ray’s statement but you seem to ignore Morell’s history and who he hung with.

      What is it that is said about birds of a feather, something about sticking together? If the history of CIA so far is any indication and it sure as hell is, since it’s inception CIA has loved loves to create turmoil, then lie about it and use their sources and methods B.S.

      The only reason I can think Biden would want this guy is because he knows where the secrets to 911 are and they need to be destroyed.

      Could be that unless you have a mouse in your pocket you might want to be careful about that we stuff.

      Thanks CN.

  5. Anonymot
    December 11, 2020 at 22:14

    The word experience is a sad substitute for qualified. We’ll have the same batch of executives running the government as we did under the failed Obama administration. They took us straight in to wars that destroyed the Middle East and made the Israeli dictator’s heart pump faster. That leaves Venezuela, Iran, and here we go again – Russia as “the enemy”.

    Since Biden’s handlers are the Deep State Mindset via the CIA voice it makes little difference if it’s Morell or Little Red Riding Hood. They will feed the oil companies and protect the ever-increasing drug providers/trafficker’s, such as Afghanistan, South & Central America, etc. The billionaires will increase and the 99% will lose what buying power they have left.

    Wait until they get some of the nasties back, the Big Obama period losers like Rice, Brennan, Clapper, and such. If they don’t get official positions, they’ll become advisors and counsel. It will be far more presentable than crazy Trump, but just as dangerous.

  6. bardamu
    December 11, 2020 at 18:29

    The “whiz kids” are of course involved in putting troops in harm’s way, but not so much as the eminence gris types, who hire them more for being kids than for any sort of whizzing–kids who can show themselves willing to put sense and ethics aside to obey commands with imagination, who can proactively anticipate desired results even to the point of providing plausible deniability.

    It is difficult from outside the ruling cliques to be certain who can call on whom, but the character of the decisions that are made comes more and more to suggest that these cliques function a bit like sleeper cells, the greatest difference being that the most influential people are deeply cross-invested.

  7. December 11, 2020 at 14:12

    Good scribbling Ray

  8. Robert Emmett
    December 11, 2020 at 13:54

    Who can forget how the self-appointed lord of the “dark side” held up the paper of record for the cameras of Meet the Press, I believe it was, to show Tim Russert that what he, Cheney, had been saying about Iraq’s WMD had been confirmed? Turns out, Cheney’s the one who leaked said confirmation to the paper in the first place. And thus was solidified the ultimate circular reasoning, repeated ad nauseum, to put tens & hundreds of thousands of Iraqi families & young American lives in peril.

    If an endless stream of lies from PNAC adherents is considered ammo in the rush to unilaterally invade Iraq, then the biggest ammo dump of all was that giant steaming pile of Wyoming prime bullshit that plopped out of Cheney’s pie hole. And what a slippery slope that has proven to be ever since.

    And I just can’t help but to remember how the so-called “people’s representatives” did their part to grease that slope right down to the present moment with their “blank check” AUMF’s. Yes, it’s distressing to see how the PNAC freaks and their deluded acolytes have infested so many cubbyholes in the whirling, self-perpetuating MICIMATT complex. But I appreciate R.McG’s continued efforts to hold that unpleasant mess under our nostrils until we come “to tell by the smell”, as we used to say in our playground taunts.

  9. lindaj
    December 11, 2020 at 11:58

    No one should work for the CIA.

    • Zhu
      December 12, 2020 at 23:15

      Amen and amen!

  10. bobo rebozo
    December 11, 2020 at 11:31

    I have only one quibble with this piece by the inestimable Ray McGovern — cojones not cohones. No one involved in the sorry saga of WMD/Iraq war should be anywhere near power, and that goes doubly for the execrable Joe Biden (too late there I suppose). What a sad state of affairs all around.

    • December 11, 2020 at 14:13


    • robert e williamson jr
      December 11, 2020 at 22:05

      Your first sentence here, may I commend you on your choice of terms describing a giant in the intelligence field.

      Your second is something I will sending to my Senator, Dick Durbin from the great state of insanity, Illinois. This is something I happen to agree with you about %100. So from 911 down the road to perdition we go.

      Mr. Chuckman’s submission here is very important, Dec 11, 2020 @ 09:51, The last two paragraphs are so very true and deserves some additional embellishment for those weak on CIA history.

      I have more than once advised folks who might not approve of criticism of CIA, or criticism of Truman to acquire
      and study this book written by CIA historian Arthur B. darling THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, an instrument of government to 1950 covers the short very early period that Allan Dulles, Robert Blum and others handcrafted the agency. Many of these actors had already pulled the wool over Ike’s eyes. Ike bemoaned his involvement with the subversion of the original idea. His” Legacy of Ashes” comment.

      What they created would have shone through throughout the earlier history had it not been for CIA much abused Sources and Methods excuse for over classification of simple lies and is at least in part the reason many connected with or formerly connected CIA have been found to be in possession of such knowledge and information they denied having been privilege to, see the assassination of JFK. But I digress.

      I suggest respectfully Mr. Chuckman, the ideal you speak of Pres. Mr. Truman sought has always been CIA’s publicly embraced propaganda because ensuing propaganda created it. The JFK murder wasn’t part of the deal for Truman and we know Truman spoke out vigorously about this. In your next to last paragraph you write, “It is an ideal never realized and I think left behind”.

      It sure was. When JFK died so did that ideal. The proof lies in the evidence left from CIA involvement in that death, Africa, Central and South America, Vietnam, getting in bed with Israel and continues through the next nine presidents including Phony Pres. Reject Trump, the Virus King to this day.

      And the best the two party fraud can come up with is Biden.

      Ray has them spot on, his MICIMATT, Military – Industrial – Congressional – Intelligence – Media – Academia – Think Tank – Complex.

      This bunch reminds me of an old cartoon character in the Tom Terrific cartoons, “Crabby Appleton”. He played a villain and was “rotten to the core”. Such is the nature of the leaders we the people elect.

      Bobo rebozo I could not agree with you more.

      Things will only get worse if more and more Americans start dying in the streets.

      Speaking of which the Illinois State Police have issued a statement on gun permits and gun sales in Illinois. Both more than doubled from previous highs in this last year.

      PEACE would be a nice change.


  11. Todd Pierce
    December 11, 2020 at 10:35

    This odious history must never be forgotten; not just for opposing someone like Morell who by any sound legal analysis must be seen as a genuine war criminal, for his role in waging “aggressive war” against Iraq alone, but also for his role in and support of torture. But this history is being flushed down the memory hole, as “new people,” younger ones, supplant older people who’ve lived through this period. One can see it in university and law school classes with 20-somethings, who have no idea of how we, the US, under the influence of war criminals like Cheney, Bush, Feith, and Morell, initiated what was called at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal: “War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world. To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” As such, “each of the 22 Nazi defendants present at Nuremberg stood accused of one or more of the following . . . crimes outlined by Jackson and the IMT: “Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of a crime against peace,” “Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace,” “Participating in war crimes,” and “Crimes against humanity.”

    Sounds a lot like the long-time planning for a War of Aggression against Iraq, and the six other countries on the list prepared by PNAC in the 1990’s, which Wesley Clark revealed was part of the “Conspiracy.”

  12. Dr. Hujjathullah M.H. Babu Sahib
    December 11, 2020 at 10:13

    The feeling one gets after reading your obviously well sourced and highly responsible, clearly patriotic piece is that Tenet more than Morell is privy to a much broader spectrum, if not also a specialized depth, of intelligence on the WMD in Iraq bullshit, given that Tenet actually bled into office from the previous US administration and as the CIA head could have an extra inking of how Humbbush was turned even while he perhaps missed how Cheney turned Bush, Jr. ! Anyway, the opportunistic and yesman credentials of Morell do come strongly into relief from your writings and links.

  13. Victor Peppard
    December 11, 2020 at 09:56

    I’ve heard Morell speak and he a big Russophobe who will push for “confronting” our now No. 2 chosen adversary, just what old Joe says he will do. Will that help to restart negotiations on arms control — I doubt it.

  14. December 11, 2020 at 09:51

    Sorry, Ray McGovern, I don’t think your arguments carry weight in the world of imperial Washington.

    The legitimate intelligence part of CIA seems to me to have lost influence to the operational arm of CIA long ago.

    CIA is thought of as a way to get thing done, dirty jobs and dirty tricks -regardless of what some interpretation of information may say. And it has yet in its entire history to turn such frequent requests down.

    It is both a second military, a covert one, and a factory to manufacture desired things, like false evidence.

    No genuine evidence can warrant situations like the treatment of Iran and Venezuela. Or the foolish coup in Ukraine. Or the stupid treatment of Cuba. Or the invasion of Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Vietnam. Or supporting Israel’s horrors.

    CIA did not discover who killed Kennedy. It almost certainly took a central role. CIA did not tell us who carried out 9/11. At best, it covered up. At worst. it participated.

    The idealistic notion of collecting information and trying to provide the President with informed, unbiassed guidance is what Truman thought he was getting when he signed the legislation to create the CIA. It is an ideal never realized and I think left far behind.

    The organization is no less corrupt or more honorable than all the other key components of the American establishment and empire.

    • rosemerry
      December 11, 2020 at 13:48

      What an excellent summary! It is sad to think that people with NO GOOD POINTS at all can even be considered for such a job, and that the CIA is still allowed to perform the actions it does and destroy any hope of the USA becoming in any way a force for peace or harmony.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      December 11, 2020 at 15:20

      I agree with your statement, John. Well said.

    • Anonymot
      December 12, 2020 at 11:47

      The Bush family IS the CIA and the CIA has been our government since 1988 with the exception of the 4 demented years of Trump who tried, but failed to dismantle it and the endless war machine, but mostly failed. Biden will put them back in good condition, because he is theirs.

    • JohnO
      December 12, 2020 at 11:52

      Thank you for getting at a core that is rotten. The whole rationale for deploying specialists in deception and lying to glean the unvarnished truth, and then to hold no assumptions that such information may be manipulated is conveniently “safe” for careerists and faux leaders.

  15. Daniel
    December 11, 2020 at 08:46

    Once again, Mr. McGovern provides comprehensive, valuable background here. But I humbly submit that Morell is being considered not despite his shortcomings but because of them. Because these things we consider shortcomings are assets to the war criminals who govern us. And these criminals – who led us into Iraq and continue to deceive the world about their intentions- are being kept in ‘the family.’ Plain as day.

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