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'No President Has Lied So Baldly And So Often And So Demonstrably'

"The intelligence process is a bit like virginity," says Ray McGovern, who worked as a CIA analyst for 27 years. "Once you prostitute it, it's never the same. Your credibility never recovers.

"Watching what has happened with Iraq over the past several months has been like watching your daughter being raped."
'No President has lied so baldly and so often and so demonstrably'

By Andrew Gumbel
09 November 2003

"The intelligence process is a bit like virginity," says Ray McGovern, who worked as a CIA analyst for 27 years. "Once you prostitute it, it's never the same. Your credibility never recovers.

"Watching what has happened with Iraq over the past several months has been like watching your daughter being raped."

Such is an indication of the extraordinary depth of feeling within the US intelligence community as the Bush administration's basis for the war in Iraq - the weapons of mass destruction, the dark hint of links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qa'ida - has been shown to have been built on air.

Mr McGovern worked near the very top of his profession, giving direct advice to Henry Kissinger during the Nixon era and preparing the President's daily security brief for Ronald Reagan. Now he is co-founder of a group of former CIA employees called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, or Vips for short.

What the Bush White House has done, he believes, is far worse than the false premise that dragged the United States into the Vietnam War - a reported second attack on a US destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin which later turned out not to have taken place. "The Gulf of Tonkin was a spur-of-the-moment thing, and Lyndon Johnson seized on that. That's very different from the very calculated, 18-month, orchestrated, incredibly cynical campaign of lies that we've seen to justify a war. This is an order of magnitude different. It's so blatant."

Mr McGovern accuses Mr Bush of an extraordinary act of chutzpah - taking advantage of his authority as President of the United States to make people believe there must be something to his insistent allegations that Iraq possessed potentially devastating weaponry.

"Many of us felt there had to be something there ... If this had been another country, one would have written a convincing analysis that this guy is lying through his teeth, that there are no weapons in Iraq. But people thought, the President can't say he knows something if he doesn't. That was persuasive, in a way.

"Now we know that no other President of the United States has ever lied so baldly and so often and so demonstrably ... The presumption now has to be that he's lying any time that he's saying anything."

It will, Mr McGovern believes, take a change of president and a change of CIA director to even begin to repair the damage done by what he sees as an overt politicisation of the intelligence business. But even that may not be enough.

"Unless what has happened in the past year and a half is recognised as a scandal, in which the CIA has been badly abused, then there's no hope," he said. "I pin my hopes mostly on the press these days. Turns out, surprise surprise, that even the US press doesn't like to be lied to."

homepage: homepage: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=461946
address: address: Independent UK

media intelligence 14.Nov.2003 16:19

anon

"Turns out, surprise surprise, that even the US press doesn't like to be lied to."

Oh reeeally? Part of me thinks that the US press loves being lied to. I remember in the run up to Iraq, even NPR (OPB) had the war drums beating non-stop...I had to turn to KBOO to find any sanity!... OPB's coverage was that it didn't matter a lick of difference that there were thousands of people demonstrating in the streets, that war was a done deal... of course that jives well with the administration's claim now that they didn't do any preprarations for post-war iraq because doing that meant war was inevitable and they wanted to keep their options open (I wish I was kidding).

If given the choice of no war (zzzzz) and incredible multibillion $ pyrotechnics with exclusive imbedded coverage (oh the horrors!), do you really think the media would have done the right thing? And now if the choice is between reporting on progress, rebuilding, etc (zzzzzzzz), versus US soldiers' deaths and explosions (oh the horrors!), how could you possibly expect them to do anything differently?

In the future, my money's on some huge distraction happening and everyone will forget about Iraq like they've forgotten about Afghanistan

Who Cares 14.Nov.2003 20:13

Chipmunk

Being lied to? Well, that goes back an awful long way. How about when Truman said we were hitting a 'military' target in japan. That later turned out to be hiroshima. Etc, etc. They have been lying to us since the beginning. That is how you have a government. Don't you people know by now? Don't you read history? This 'being lied to' president is another in a very long line of idiots that people put in power for whatever reason.

"We don't need a government. What we need is some intelligence. But that is in short supply"

Chipmunk Brutowski

question for 'Chipmunk'-- 14.Nov.2003 23:09

Quizmaster

what is the REASON--

as stated and held by the US Government (and Bush administration which currently leads it),

that the U.S. illegally pre-emptively invaded Iraq, and now illegally militarily occupies Iraq?

George Bush 15.Nov.2003 20:49

Brit Hume

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