Ray McGovern: The Deep State Assault on Elected Government Must Be Stopped
Ray McGovern, a 27-year veteran of the CIA and co-founder of VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) speaks on Trumpgate: the hogwash claims that Vladimir Putin put Trump in power and runs his policy. This isn't true, and represents, not a Democrat-Republican fight, but a fight between elected government and the Deep State, aka. the British Empire.
JASON ROSS: Hi there; I'm Jason Ross with LaRouche PAC. I'm very happy today to be speaking with Ray McGovern, a multi-decade veteran of the CIA, co-founder of VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity). We're going to be talking about Russia, Trump, Putin, and the direction of the US government.
First off, setting the stage, ever since Trump was elected, and especially since his inauguration, there has been a growing chorus of claims about Vladimir Putin putting Trump in office by directing the election; and of even directing Trump's policy. That, in effect, Vladimir Putin is running the United States
government. So, first off, is this true?
RAY MCGOVERN: Well, if it is, then I don't know anything about Russia or the Soviet Union. I was counting up the years that I've been immersed in Russian studies; it goes back 59 years when I decided to major in Russian, got my graduate degree in Russian. Taught Russian; was the head of the Soviet foreign
policy branch at the CIA; briefed Presidents on Gorbachev. I like to think I learned something about how Russian leaders look at the world. When I heard this meme going around that Vladimir Putin clearly preferred Donald Trump, my notion was, well, here's Vladimir Putin sitting with his advisors, and he's saying "That
Trump fellow; he's not only unpredictable, but he's proud of it. He brags about it, and he lashes out strongly at every slight; whether it's real or imagined. This is just the guy I want to have his finger on the nuclear codes across the ocean." It boggles the mind that Vladimir Putin would have had any preference for Donald Trump. That's aside from the fact that everyone — and that would include Vladimir Putin, unless he's clairvoyant — knew that Hillary was going to win.
So, just to pursue this thing very briefly, if the major premise is that Vladimir Putin and the terrible Russians wanted Trump to win; then you have a syllogism. Therefore, they tried to help him; therefore, they did all kinds of ... But if you don't accept that major premise, the whole syllogism falls apart; and I don't accept that major premise. Putin said it himself: "I don't have a preference." And I didn't have any preference; I happened to be in Germany during the election, in Berlin. It was exciting, because the German anchors didn't know what to say, to make of it; and my German friends were saying "We have a German expression here; the choice between Trump and Hillary Clinton is eine wahl zwischen Pest und Cholera." That means it's a choice between plague and cholera. I said, "You know, I kind of agree." That's why I not only voted for Jill Stein; but was proud to — on the environment, on all the major issues, she had it right. The others did not. That's the way I looked at it. I kind of think that's the way Putin looked at it; and when he said "I don't have any preference," he probably meant he didn't have any preference. So, that syllogism falls down.
Now, just pursue that one little bit here. Everyone expected Hillary to win; everyone. We're talking Summer; we're talking Fall as Trump disgraced himself in one manner or another. He could never win, right? And nobody thought that Hillary was such a flawed candidate that nobody trusted her; that she might lose. So, you hear what I'm saying? "Well, it looks like Hillary is going to win. Looks pretty sure she's going to win. So, why not hack into her mechanism there in the Democratic
National Committee? If I get caught, well she may be angry with me, but what's to lose?" I don't think so. Putin is a very cautious fellow. If he thought Hillary was going to win, like the rest of us did, the last thing he would want to do is hack into their DNC apparatus and be caught; because he would likely be caught. And have an additional grievance for Hillary to advertise against him. So, it falls down on logic alone.
Now, luckily, you mentioned Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. We are the beneficiary of a membership whose expertise in intelligence matters just won't quit. This includes four former high officials in the National Security Agency — retired; one of whom devised all of these collection systems that NSA is still using. His name is Bill Binney. He and I are very close. He writes for us; and he helps me write things. What he has said from the outset — and this is five months ago — is that this could not be a hack; it had to be a leak. And for your listeners or your viewers, a hack goes over the network.
ROSS: You're speaking of the DNC?
MCGOVERN: Yeah, I'm talking about the Russians — thanks for interrupting; the Russians are accused, of course, of hacking into the Democratic National Committee emails and they're also accused of surfacing the Podesta emails. Bill says, "Look, I know this network; I created pretty much the bones of it. And, I'm free to talk about it. Why? Here are the slides that Ed Snowden brought out; here are the trace points, the trace mechanism. And there are hundreds in the network. So, everything that goes across the network, Ray, and I know this is hard for you to believe, and you're looking at me real strange, but everything. You know where it starts and you know where it ends up; everything." So, if this was a hack, NSA would know about it. NSA does not know about it. As a matter of fact, the
CIA and the FBI said "We have high confidence that the Russians did this." The NSA, which is the only real agency that has the capability to trace this, said "We only have moderate confidence." In the Army, we called that the SWAG factor — it's a Scientific Wild-Assed Guess. So, NSA doesn't have the information. If they had the information, I'm pretty sure they would release it; because this is not rocket science. Everybody knows how these things work, particularly since Ed Snowden
revealed the whole kit and caboodle.
So, that's on the technical side. Now, we also know that with respect to the computers at the DNC, for some reason they jealously guarded them; and when the FBI said "Well, you want us to investigate this; hello, we've got to get into your computers for the forensics." The DNC, for whatever reason, said "No, we have our own company called CrowdStrike. They're really good." And among companies, they're better than most, "and they'll do it." So, the FBI never had direct access to the machinery, to the computers. James Comey, ten days ago when he had to talk about this at the House Intelligence Committee hearing; it was so painful to watch him. He said, "We never really did get access to those computers. We had to depend on the forensics of CrowdStrike. Granted, it's better to have direct access to the forensics, but that's all we could do."
ROSS: That didn't stop them from having high confidence, though.
MCGOVERN: Well, you know, that's the thing, Jason. The intelligence community, and particularly the FBI and the CIA, had been so politicized, that when Obama and John Brennan his sidekick, the head of the CIA, said "We have to do this; we have to blacken Trump before the election. We have to even try to see if we can subvert enough Electoral College members so that they won't vote for him." And then after he was confirmed as President, they're still working against him.
So, going back to what we know, when was the first leak? Well, the first big leak was the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton; that was two days before the Democratic National Convention in July. Wow! This is a big shock. Bernie Sanders had sort of caved in; but they still had to explain this. The content of these emails — and maybe your audience doesn't know this — showed, pure and simple, that Hillary Clinton and Wasserman-Schultz and the top five people from the Democratic National Committee who quit immediately; that tells you something, right?
ROSS: Right; once the emails came out.
MCGOVERN: They orchestrated the primary campaign and other deals to cheat; there's no way around it. To cheat Bernie Sanders out of the nomination; that's clear from the content. So, what did they do? I wasn't a fly on the wall, but I can see Hillary gathering her council of war here and saying "Well, what are we going to do about this?" Someone says, "I know what we can do; I got a good idea. We'll blame it on the Russians." Somebody else said, "Well, it wasn't the Russians; it was WikiLeaks." Somebody else said, "Well, that's a two-fer; we hate them with equal hatred. We'll say that WikiLeaks worked for the Russians." That was two days before the convention. Somebody else says, "What would the rationale be?" "Come on! The Russians clearly want Trump to win." How about the major media? The major media really wanted Hillary to win. "You got it man! We got the major media in on this; we got it really wired."
If you watched the coverage, since the WikiLeaks leak two days before the Democratic National Convention and for the weeks afterward, it was all about not the content — did Hillary steal this nomination? Nobody knew about the content; it was all about "Who did it?" "The Russians." "How'd the Russians do it?" "It was through WikiLeaks."
ROSS: Who's behind this assault on democracy? Revealing this assault on democracy.
MCGOVERN: Yeah; you could sort of say it was an assault, but those were the documents. I'm an intelligence analyst; so, this is the kind of evidence that we lust after. Documentary evidence from a source whose authenticity has never been seriously questioned? When people say, "Well, what's WikiLeaks' take on this?" I said, "Wrong question. They don't have a take; they put out the documents." And that's what's good about being analyst; we can analyze the documents. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out what happened.
That was the way that thing went down; and then as the anti-Russian campaign proceeded, it got worse and worse to include when Trump won. Hillary Clinton could not have lost just because she was a terribly bad candidate; it had to be something else. It had to be the Russians. Part two, of course, and of even more importance, there are a lot of people who make a lot of money on tension in the world on arms sales. Peace is not good for business; peace is very bad for business, right? So, if you can stoke up tensions with Russia, if you can make believe Russia is going to attack the Baltic countries — give me a break. Have you ever been in a Baltic country? I have; I don't know if they would attack a Baltic country. All this is very artificially stoked up.
So you have a major threat if you have a President who comes in and says, "I think a decent relationship with the Russians would be better than what we have now." Oh, ho, ho! It's hard to argue against that; but they do. And the way they do it is to say "Look, your position as President of the United States to
those same Russians."
MCGOVERN: So, that's how bad it is. Lately, we've gotten really interesting things happening. Let me just finish this part off by saying that with respect to Russian hacking being responsible for the DNC leaks and the Podesta leaks; there isn't any evidence of that. Let me be clear: Do the Russians hack? Of course they hack; everybody hacks. The Chinese hacked 4 million records out of the Office of Personnel Management; they've got my retirement records, my health records, everything. So everybody hacks. The question is, did Julian Assange get all this information by himself? He's showed himself pretty capable of doing that, right? Did somebody put a little thumb drive into the machines in the Democratic National Committee? Somebody who maybe had seen the emails and said, "My God! I'm a bright, bushy-tailed young Democrat, and I think somebody's got to know about how Hillary stole this nomination." And downloaded and somehow got it to WikiLeaks. Well, it's not on the network, so it had to be — technically speaking — and I'm speaking out of the experience of the NSA folks; there had to be a leak and not a hack.
The other thing is, and this is of rather good consequence, the outgoing President of the United States — Barack Obama — got up at a press conference on the 18th of January, and addressing this problem, he said "I just want you to know," and this is a quote, "the conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to how the Russians hacks got to WikiLeaks; those conclusions are inconclusive." His word. What does that say? That says that the US government doesn't know how this assumed Russian hacking got to WikiLeaks. I think there's a big gaping gap or hole. If you can't prove that this so-called Russian hacking — which you can't really prove demonstrably — how it got to WikiLeaks; you're really stretching credulity to say, as some of these Democrats are saying now in these intelligence committees, "We know, it's flat fact that it was the Russians."
The last thing I'll say on this, because it's relevant; CrowdStrike, the company hired by the DNC to look into the forensics of all of this. I was trying to get some expert answers to why the DNC would not want CrowdStrike to step aside and let the FBI — the FBI is not infallible, but one thinks it has greater capabilities than anything like CrowdStrike. Some of the folks from NSA were telling me, "Ray, there were probably about 100 hacks into the DNC. If the Russians didn't try to get
into that vulnerable system, their intelligence services should be fired. So there are probably 100 hacks; and it would be a little embarrassing for the DNC to admit that not only the Russians were there, but we can't even prove the Russians were there. So, that was one thing.
The other thing is this; it came out today. The latest release from this Vault 7 tranche of documents that WikiLeaks has. They pointed out that the CIA, in its own cyber division created by John Brennan under Obama, has the tools that are necessary to obfuscate the origin of a hack. "Obufscate" is the word used in these documents. Again, people say, "You believe Julian Assange?" No, I don't believe anybody; I believe documents. "Have you seen Julian Assange massage or dulterate documents?" No, I haven't; so here they are. They show that the CIA developed this capability not only to obfuscate, but also to make it very much appear that this or that hack was Chinese, Russian, there are five languages — Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Farsi, and Korean. That's interesting, isn't it? So, they have
this capability; and it was demonstrated in what year? The year was 2016; we know that from the CIA documents.
Now, what does that mean? That means that the CIA was doing this stuff, which is really the preserve of the NSA; they're the technical people. They have billions of dollars more than the CIA in their budget. So, what happened? I have this from my colleagues, from NSA, who used to work there. They say what clearly happened was, the NSA had been working on this kind of technology for 15 years. We know what the technology involves; it involves 700 million lines of code. Just to give you an example, one line of code costs $25; do the math! Now, 15 years, this kind of capability, and they can do it. Now, what is an outfit like CrowdStrike up against that, capable of doing? So, I said, "Why is it CIA? Why didn't NSA do this?" He said, "Ray, you know that the CIA is willing and able to run more risks than the NSA. The NSA is happy to have them take the blame if this hits the fan." So that's how this went down.
So, CrowdStrike, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt; maybe they really tried. But what I don't give the benefit of the doubt to, is the FBI. James Comey could have gotten access to those machines; he got access to just about everything else. He should have insisted "We want the forensics ourselves." Even then, my NSA colleagues tell me, it would have been very difficult for the FBI to figure out how these hacks were disguised as hacks from Russia; unless they went to NSA and said [inaud; 20:36] the NSA running monitoring the same systems that they let the CIA borrow to do this stuff. So, you got the whole thing convoluted like that.
So what's happening now is that people are becoming aware of these things. This has applications not only for the hacking versus the leaking paradigm; but also this charge that Trump didn't know what he's talking about when he said he was wiretapped by the previous administration. That is, in and of itself, an interesting story. I'd like to pursue that if you have time.
ROSS: Well, this CIA Vault 7 release from WikiLeaks; they had said that the CIA had tools to hide their own authorship of these cyber weapons, and also not only attribute them to these other state actors, but make it look as though those state actors had themselves tried to hide their own involvement.
ROSS: So that somebody trying to reverse engineer a hack would say, "Ah, it was the Russians! And they tried to hide it." So, what's CrowdStrike going to do against that?
MCGOVERN: But you know, it's the height of irony; you can't have it both ways. What these very intelligent intelligence officials persuaded everybody, is that the Russians were behind this; because it takes a state actor to do this kind of thing. And there's no pro state actor like the KGB, the GRU, the Russians. So, these are real pros; and yet, they leave behind these tell-tale signs like "Oops! They forgot they left some Cyrillic in there!" Russian alphabet. Or still, Felix Edmundovich appears somewhere in there. Who's Felix Edmundovich? Americans don't know that; but that's Dzerzhinsky, first head of the Cheka which was the predecessor to the KGB. So, somebody leaves it, just in case —
ROSS: Oh! So, they must have been working it on for a long time, hunh?
MCGOVERN: Yeah! Working on it for 50 years. So, in case you missed the Cyrillic, you'd say "Oh, who's Felix Edmundovich?" It was pretty amateurish; whoever in the CIA worked on that should take early retirement before they come after him.
ROSS: Just shy of a monogrammed handkerchief.
MCGOVERN: So, it would be funny if weren't so dangerous; because they're getting away with it. The irony is that these Oversight Committees in the House and Senate, for a long time they were called Oversight Committees; now they need to be called the "Overlook Committees". They don't oversee anything. The question about this latest — that the CIA had these capabilities; and in case anybody's not sure, I believe it's far more likely that John Brennan — the head of the CIA — was responsible for those "Russian hacks" than the Russians were. I think that's a stretch of imagination. There are lots of avenues to pursue here, and it's very important that the people who look at these intelligence overlookers, realize that it's very embarrassing for them. Why? Nobody told them; nobody told them.
Did someone tell the President? I don't think so. Somebody ought to ask him and somebody ought to ask those guys. But who's to ask them? They're running the investigation; so it's terribly embarrassing.
Now there's a precedent here: Stuxnet. That's a weird sort of operation. That was to buy off the Israelis so they wouldn't attack Iran and get us into a war. Buy off the Israelis? What year? 2009? But wasn't it in 2007 that the intelligence community found out that Iran was not working on a nuclear weapon? Well yeah. Was that a kind of wishy-washy decision? No, it was unanimous. Moderate confidence? No, high confidence. Just some of the agencies? No, all 16. It was the only
intelligence estimate that I know of — and I know of a lot of them now, and I used to chair a couple — that played huge role in preventing a war. The war that Bush and Cheney had planned for 2008; that was on the record. It was reinforced and rearticulated every year by the head of national intelligence; and yet, somebody said "We need to buy off the Israelis by destroying centrifuges in Iran by this stuxnet." This whole cyber warfare started with the stuxnet. Were the intelligence
communities informed about that? No. Was the President? My guess would be no, but John Brennan pretty much had carte blanche; whether it was to fly drones to kill Americans or whatever.
The most interesting comment that's come out over the last couple of weeks is from the Senate Minority, Senator Chuck Schumer; who was talking with Rachel Maddow. He says, "You know, I thought Trump was a really smart guy. But he's done something very foolish." What's that? "Well, he's taken on the CIA" —
now this is Schumer — "and the CIA has six ways from Sunday to get at you. So, whereas I thought Trump was a reasonably bright guy, a really good businessman; I'm not so sure anymore, because he's done something very foolish." Now, what does Rachel say? Well, if you were Rachel, if I were Rachel, I think I would have said, "Senator Schumer, are you saying that the President of the United States should be afraid of the CIA? Is that what you're saying?" What she did say was, "Oh, I guess we have to go to break now." So, all I'm saying is, there's the minority head of the Senate; and he's saying "Look, you take on the CIA, they've got six ways to Sunday" — that's an old Bronx expression; I come form the Bronx. "Six ways to Sunday" means six days of the week 'til Sunday to get at you.
So, that was part and parcel of all this. They're afraid. And Trump's dilemma now is now that it's known how all this went down, and specifically how he and his people were monitored, what's he going to do?
ROSS: And that brings us to the article that you co-authored with Bill Binney a few days ago. You called it "The Surveillance State Behind Russia-gate"; and you point out that there is certainly more to this than upset Democrats who complain about their loss of an election that they thought was guaranteed to them. But as this Chuck Schumer quote indicates, there exists a Deep State; there are intelligence agencies, there are people in these institutions that have an idea what direction the United States policy ought to be. And if Trump doesn't see eye-to-eye on that, there are ways of ensuring that he'll follow those directions or they'll unseat him from office.
You wrote in this article that the choice on Trump's part of whether to take on these institutions, or live in fear of them; will determine whether there is a future for our Constitutional republic. That's a very strong statement. Tell us more; why do you say that?
MCGOVERN: The only oath I've ever taken is to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We have a Fourth Amendment; the Fourth Amendment forbids unreasonable searches and seizures without probable cause, with a warrant. So when Bill Binney, when Ed Snowden, when Thomas Drake and all these NSA folks saw that the Fourth Amendment was out the window; because when Dick Cheney told General Hayden to do this; that's really very serious. That's preface.
What's happened recently? There was a woman who was a Deputy Assistance Secretary of Defense, her name is Evelyn Farkas. She goes on Fox News and says, "I was worried that in the transition, if we didn't take very close careful protection of our very sensitive sources, then the Trump would find out how it was that we monitored them, and how it was that we found out what was going on in their conversations with the Russians, Flynn and so forth. So, I was very worried that if they found out how we found out about them doing this, it would all go down really bad[ly]." She says that; she says that a month ago. Nobody picks up on that until more recently it comes to light, and she's asked how she explains it. Well, you can't explain away these words that she was worried that the very sensitive information gotten by very classified sources was responsible for them learning about what Trump was doing, and what his associates were doing. You know what happened to Michael Flynn, so if they learned about that, that would be bad; so we've got to disguise or take care of that.
Not long after that, Trump says himself, "Oh my God! I was wiretapped by the Obama administration." Everybody says, "Oh, come on!" No, he said by Obama himself. Now, Trump tends to exaggerate; Presidents shouldn't exaggerate, they should be precise. But Trump is Trump; that's not an excuse, it's just a reality. So, the President — "I don't think so." I don't think Obama said, "Hey, you guys at NSA or CIA; monitor these guys." They're quite capable of doing those things without any reference by saying "Well, the President should have plausible denial here. I know he would want us to do this, so ..." So, that's how a lot
of this stuff goes down.
So, what happens? Well, the press goes crazy! Oh, my God! Trump is now saying he was wiretapped. Get the FBI in. So, ten days ago, James Comey comes in. "We in the Federal Bureau of Investigation have looked very carefully at this and the Department of Justice has as well, and they have authorized me to say that there's no evidence at all that Trump was wiretapped." "How about you, Admiral Rogers?" — that guy from NSA. "Oh, no. We looked in all our files; there's no indication. Not a scintilla of evidence that Trump was wiretapped." Got that? Wiretapped. I was talking to someone the other day, wiretapping went out with the Edsel Ford, for God's sake. The technology today — wiretapping hasn't been done, I don't want to exaggerate — for decades now. So, what he's talking about is surveillance. Were Trump and his associates surveilled in October, November, and December of last year? Yes.
Someone, some patriot, who took his oath to the Constitution seriously, thought that the House Intelligence Committee chair should know that. So, what happened was, we know this little cloak and dagger stuff. Someone gave Devin Nunes a call, and he went to a secure place where he could read specific documents. Now, what did those documents show? Well, Nunes has not told anybody, including his ranking member, but it's not rocket science that they showed that Trump and his associates were monitored; were surveilled like Evelyn Farkas has said. So, that's the denouement here. The latest of course is that the President of the White House has invited the chair and the ranking member of both the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee to come down to the White House and take a look at the documents. Whoa! That's interesting, isn't it? Those documents can't really be fledged or can't really be massaged to make them inauthentic. What they'll show in my view, is that the true names — people need to realize that when intercepted conversations come in, they come in raw form;
unencrypted, not minimized, not masked. True names. Who gets that? The CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the FBI, as well as NSA which collects it. Somebody at those upper reaches decided "Whoa! Let's talk to the New York Times about this. Because Flynn is calling the Russian ambassador and all this
stuff is going on. Manafort, Manafort, Manafort!"
Now, I don't know who leaked it; but I'd give you some initials, OK? John Brennan, the head of the CIA. There's lots of circumstantial evidence that he did that; and whether the President knew about it or not, John Brennan's done a lot of things the President didn't know about and he's done a lot of things that he has. John Brennan had a hold on Obama; and I can prove it.
So, what's another circumstantial thing here? The Wall Street Journal was moaning and groaning two months ago that "The CIA never comes to talk to us; they just talk to the New York Times and sometimes the Washington Post. How about us? How about the Wall Street Journal?" So, nothing would happen at the CIA of this sensitivity without John Brennan knowing about it; I hold him responsible for this. So, where does this bring us? This brings us to the denouement. Now that the chief and the ranking members of both of these committees will be shown these documents, will the Congress be able to live up to its
Constitutional responsibility to investigate this in a non-partisan way and come up with conclusions and hold people like John Brennan accountable? I don't know the answer to that; because even if they try, they may not succeed.
One little fly in the ointment here, or one little indicator was just a couple of days ago. Representative Nunes, the head of the Intelligence Committee, wanted to interview James Comey and Admiral Rogers in secret. He asked them, and they said "No." If I were President, I would say, "Mr. Comey, we have this separation of powers here, and we have oversight committees. They've asked you to come and talk in secret; do it." I don't know what Comey would do, if he'd quit; but I think he'd do it. So there's already this obstinacy; this dragging of feet.
It turns out that they wanted to interview Brennan and James Clapper right away; before they were prepared. So, what's going on here is more than just a little kabuki dance. Nunes has his head screwed on right in a way that most House Intelligence Committee chairmen have never had. What do I mean by that? He's
not going to get Brennan and James Clapper in there until he knows what questions to ask them, OK? That's big; because Clapper has a record of perjury. He lied to the Senate under oath about NSA collections, the same sort of thing, until two months later, Ed Snowden said "Hey! Here's what we're really doing." And Clapper had to go to the — he wrote a letter and said "What I said was clearly incorrect; sorry about that." That was four years ago! Would you think that the President would remove somebody who lied to the Senate? He didn't remove him, did he? That speaks volumes.
The other thing I would cite that not many people know, what really disturbed me. The Senate Intelligence Committee Report, four years in the making, with very assiduous young people looking into what the CIA did in regard to torture and this kidnapping and so forth. Relying exclusively on CIA documents; cables from the field to headquarters, memos, CIA documents. How'd they get them? There was a little bargain between Panetta when he was head of the CIA and the Senate Committee. So, they had the wherewithal on them. If people remember, in the Summer of 2014, the most heinous kinds of torture — rectal hydration for no real reason — other things of terrible, terrible consequence that were revealed. And it was revealed that John Brennan and the others were lying through their teeth when they said, "Yeah, this is bad, but it worked. It gave good intelligence out." It was shown from their cables themselves that it wasn't.
Why am I mentioning this? Well, Diane Feinstein, to her credit, faced into this. Why? Well, she's not known for her courage in my view; but she had these four or five young investigators. I think it was sort of a grandmotherly instinct, you know? She saw how hard they had worked; and she saw the heinous nature of what they uncovered. So, she pressed ahead; and there was a battle royale between Diane Feinstein, using her Constitutional prerogative, and John Brennan, head of the CIA. What did he do? He hacked; he hacked into Diane Feinstein's computers.
ROSS: Right; right.
MCGOVERN: Then he said, "Oh, I didn't hack." And later, like Clapper, he said, "Yeah, it did happen." So, what am I saying? Well, the chief investigator — his name is Daniel Jones — he was interviewed by Spencer Ackerman, writing for the Guardian. He got three stories out of it. The middle story says that what really disturbed Daniel Jones, the prime investigator, was that although Diane Feinstein had a very big supporter named Harry Reid — minority leader of the Senate; John Brennan had a far more powerful supporter. His name was Barack Obama; and Barack Obama joined with John Brennan to prevent the publication, the revelation of these heinous details about torture and that the fact that torture didn't work as John Brennan and others had said. He worked really hard to prevent
that, until right before there was a change in the leadership of the Senate committee. It went from majority Democrat to Republican; we got that guy Burr in there now. So, Diane Feinstein was up against it; time was running out. December. So, she says, "Harry, we've got to tell the President this is going to happen." Harry calls the President; the President says, No, no. We can't do this for national security reasons." Reid says to him, "Mr. President, I wish you could hear yourself; what
you're saying. We're going to press forward." It came to the point where Diane Feinstein said to the President: "Look; I have a member here, Mark Udall. He lost his re-election. He's got nothing to lose now, and he feels really strongly to get this executive summary of the torture report out. Here's your choice: You let us release this in redacted form, that's OK; or Mark Udall reads it from the floor of the Senate." Only then did Obama say, "Oh, darn. OK." Calls up John Brennan; tells him we got to release it.
Now, what does that tell you? What does that tell you about the hold that John Brennan has over the President? There were CIA documents; things we need to know about what happened and what went down. We need to know the torture didn't work and that they were lying through their teeth. And yet, Obama supported him through his friend Dennis McDonough who came to every meeting and said, "Oh no; you can't release it." That's the only way we know the heinous nature of all these things. What I'm just saying is that Obama was told early on that he needed to realize that the Deep State was around; and that he needed to trim his sails accordingly.
When I say early on, I mean as his campaign for President was just beginning. And I'll finish with this, on this line. In May, Senator Obama said, "There's this plan, there's this legislation to hold the giant telecoms harmless for snooping on all Americans; getting all this stuff. And I am against it; that would be terrible. That's against the Fourth Amendment." In June, John Brennan joined Obama's campaign. We're talking 2008 now; real early on. The first of July, if memory serves, 2008, Obama says, "You know, I think I changed my mind on that. I don't think we should blame or hold the giant telecoms accountable for that. I think we should hold them harmless." And I'm saying to myself, "Whoa! Hang on here!" Bells go off here. Here's a guy that was against holding them harmless — I didn't put two and two together at the time, but I later learned that Brennan joined that campaign right in the middle of this; then he changes his mind.
So, why would a Senator running for President change his mind? There are political reasons, but there are also reasons where Brennan obviously had a lot of influence in changing his mind and said, "Look, Mr. President, you got to play ball with the NSA here. We can't take them on, because they have six ways
to Sunday to get back at you." And that's the way it's been with Obama; and that's why Brennan was allowed to do all the stuff he's done in Syria; kill Americans with drones, all manner of other things, and get away with it.
Now, Nunes to his credit is interested in preventing that kind of thing from happening in the past. And the last thing I'll say about Nunes, is that I know him. I met him in 2009, in Visalia, California, in his office in the Central Valley of California. What was I doing there? He had a constituent, and his name was Terry Halbardier; he was sailor. He was a sailor on the USS Liberty, the spy ship that the Israelis shot up, intending to sink and leave no survivors: the date was June 8th,
1967, in the midst of the short war they had up there.
What did Terry do? Terry asked the captain, he says, "Captain McGonagle, they've shot out all the antennae on our ship, but I know one antenna that had not been connected so they didn't realize it could made live. I think I can use some bailing wire and connect her and we can get an SOS out." And McGonagle says, "Halbardier, there's napalm all over that deck! I'm not going to let you do that." He says, "Sir, I'd like to do that, I think we can get an SOS out." Here, 34 sailors were killed on the USS Liberty, 171 wounded out of a crew of less than 300. OK?
So, so he says, "All right, if you think you can do it." Halbadier goes out the spillway, connects the thing; they get an SOS out to the Sixth Fleet; the Israelis intercept that SOS and whppp! Get out of Dodge! That's why it wasn't a massacre. That's why it was just a tragedy, where as I say, 34 sailors died and 171 were wounded.
Now, that was covered up. I mean, that was covered up, big time. Those sailors were told that if you tell anyone, including your wife who attacked you, namely, the Israelis, you'll be subject to court martial. You sailors are not allowed to talk to one another about what happened. Now: You want to see PTSD bigtime, I've seen it, among these sailors who were not allowed to do this for years and years.
So: When Representative Nunes in the Central Valley realizes that he's got a hero constituent there, Terry Halbardier, who did this magnificent thing, he says, "Have you been recognized?" Halbardier says, "We not only haven't been recognized, we've been deep-sixed!" They had a little ceremony, the Navy did, finally when they came around for Captain McGonagle — it was a Medal of Honor! But it wasn't at the White House, it was on the stinking Anacostia River where the Navy has a little
small base here in Washington. And the State Department asked the Israeli Embassy, would you have any objection to our giving a Medal of Honor to Captain McGonagle?
MCGOVERN: Yes! That's documented. That's how bad it was.
So, here's Nunes, he says, I'm going to give him the Silver Star. He works it through the Defense Department, and I hear about it, I'm right out there, I'm there. I go full out and drove all night. And it's incredible! There are survivors from the USS Liberty; and Nunes says, "You know, it's not right to keep these kinds of things concealed. This is the truth; people should be rewarded for this," and he pins the Silver Star on Terry Halbardier.
Now, I'm thinking: What other congressman, or what other senator would take the risk of raising hackles with the lobby that want to keep this whole thing down? Well, why'd he do it? I think he did it, because it's always possible he did it because it was the right thing to do! [laughter]
Long story short: I think that's maybe a harbinger of things to come. I think Nunes wants to do the right thing. Whether he'll succeed or not is anybody's guess. All I can say is, he's up against formidable opponents; witness what the ranking member or minority leader of the Senate, Chuck Schumer, has said outright to Rachel Maddow.
ROSS: Yeah. It puts the "ranking" and ranking.
MCGOVERN: Yeah, you got it — "ranking"! [laughs]
ROSS: I think this story or picture that you've painted, really gives us something that we need to do; because if this is to be fought out only among institutional layers, it's a tough fight. It's something where if people are aware, as we're able to make known to the population more generally that this is a fight; that this isn't about Democrats versus Republicans. This is really much more about Deep State versus the potential of elected government to determine our course that the threats of say, blackmail via the FBI or other intelligence agencies, the dossiers that no doubt exist on these elected officials; that stands as a threat if people aren't aware of that being the MO [modus operandi]. I think people are more familiar with the way the FBI targeted Martin Luther King; urged him on more than one
occasion to commit suicide to prevent these kinds of documents from getting out. I think it really means that there's something for all of us to do in terms of making sure that this is known; making sure that the terms of the fight are known, to make it possible to win this one.
MCGOVERN: Exactly. And those were wiretaps, back in the late '50s, early '60s, those were real wiretaps. You're quite right; that was heinous. Now, I asked Colleen Rowley, who's as I say, the expertise we have available to us at Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity won't quit. Colleen was the counsel of the Minneapolis division of the FBI; she was the one who wrote memos to the Director saying this is how we screwed up on 9/11. She's got guts that won't quit as well. I said, "Colleen, Robert Kennedy — my God! Robert Kennedy, Attorney General, allowing, authorizing the FBI to try to persuade Dr. King to commit suicide? How do you figure that, Colleen?" And she said, "Ray — wiretapping; J. Edgar Hoover. Bobby Kennedy would know that J. Edgar Hoover has lots of information on all those pretty girls that he and Jack used to invite to the White House pool and all of that stuff." She's imagining this; but the reality is, Robert Kennedy would know, that J. Edgar Hoover would have lots of material to blackmail not only him, but his big brother.
That's big; and that's why when all this came out in the mid '70s, they created these laws and created these Oversight Committees, which for a while, did their job. Now, they're hopelessly unable, unwilling; they don't want to know this stuff, and they don't know it for that matter. The intelligence officials say "They don't want to know this, so why should we tell them?"
As for citizens, I would emphasize that this whole business, let's take when Edward Snowden came out with his revelations in June of 2013, what happened? Well, people say, "Well, isn't this interesting? Everything, they intercept everything! Emails, telephone calls, wow! Luckily, I have nothing to hide." So, we asked a fellow from the Stasi — Stasi is the old East German secret service; and if people have seen "Das Leben der Anderen" — "The Lives of Others" — an Academy Award film about East Germany and the Stasi. The Stasi was their KGB. You get a picture of what they did. Wolfgang Schmidt — his real name by the way — a Stasi colonel, is interviewed. One of the Americans sits down and asks, "Wolfgang, what do you think about people in America when we say 'We have nothing to hide'?" Schmidt says, [adopting German accent] "This is incredibly naïve. Everyone has something to hide. You don't get to decide what they get on you. The only way to prevent it from being used against you, is to prevent it from being collected in the first place!" Beautiful, you know? If they collect it, they can use it. They don't read it all; they don't listen to it all. But they but it into these little files — they're not files, but they're ...
So, yeah, all of us. What Edward Snowden said about "turnkey tyranny": If you have these kinds of private information about everyone including the President and Michael Flynn and all his associates, back in October, November, and December; well, you have the ability, if not to win the election, then to at least to destroy or make these folks seem beholden to the Russians, of all places, and disarm the attempts that Trump wants to make vis-à-vis Russia.
Now, I would have to tell you, that I am against everything Trump stands for, internally. I think he's not only unqualified to be President, but all his instincts are terrible. Okay, so put that on the record. I think I already said I voted for Jill Stein. That said, even a broken clock is right how many times a day?
ROSS: Twice a day.
MCGOVERN: Yeah. He's right about Russia. If he were to say to Vladimir Putin, "Look, I don't think we need to put more troops in the Baltic states or Poland; so why don't I pull out those troops, and you pull out the troops on the other side? It's a deal?" I'm morally certain Putin would say, "It's a deal!" Now, what would that mean? That would mean what Pope Francis, to his credit, called "the blood-drenched arms traders" would lose out, big time. Peace: bad for business. Tension: very good for business. So, there's a lot at stake among very, very powerful people; and if Trump can make this stick — this is not a puny, little incidental issue, it's a transcendental one.
I was more afraid that Hillary would bring us to a nuclear confrontation than Trump. I didn't like Trump on the environment, because I have nine grandchildren. Don't Senators and Congressmen have grandchildren? Don't they give — So, for me it was a choice between pest and cholera.
But, here we have a possibility for a new what the Germans call Ostpolitik — a new policy, looking to the East. Take my word for it; I've looked at what the Russians have done. I've looked at heyday of the relationship of the United States and Russia, which goes back to October of 2013 when Putin pulled Obama's chestnuts out of the fire by persuading the Syrians to destroy or (have destroyed) all their chemical weapons on U.S. ships. Okay? Nobody knows about that but the United States.
But the neo-cons, the people who want to create a bad atmosphere in relations between the United States and Russia — they know about it. It only took them six months to mount a coup on Russia's doorstep in Kiev, Ukraine. And that's where all this trouble started: Russians accused of invading Ukraine — not true; of invading Crimea — not true. All that stuff was artificially pumped up. It's just as easily pfuuuu, deflated. And Trump, if he's willing to do that, well, that would be a biggie.
So, being right two times a day is better than never being right.
ROSS [laughing]: Well put.
MCGOVERN: I think.
ROSS: Great! Thanks very much, Ray. Thanks.
MCGOVERN: You're most welcome. Thanks for asking. It's very rare that I get a chance to review what I've observed, and it's just a pity that we're barred from what's called the mainstream media.