News Release

Gates: Comments from Former CIA Analysts


Former CIA director Robert Gates’ confirmation hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. Several articles on Gates, featuring in-depth information about his background and suggested questions, are at Consortium News.

The following former CIA analysts are available for a limited number of interviews:

Now a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, Goodman was with the CIA for 41 years, serving as a senior analyst and a division chief. He wrote a recent piece for the Baltimore Sun titled “Wrong Man to Replace Rumsfeld,” which stated: “Two previous presidents, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, nominated Mr. Gates for the position of director of central intelligence. In 1987, Mr. Gates had to withdraw his name because a majority of Senate Intelligence Committee members did not believe his denials regarding prior knowledge of the Iran-contra scandal. The independent counsel in the Iran-contra investigation, Lawrence E. Walsh, shared their disbelief.

“In 1991, Mr. Gates was confirmed after receiving more than 30 negative votes, far more than any other nominee to the position of CIA director had garnered over nearly six decades. Key senators were convinced in 1991 that Mr. Gates had a major role in the politicization of intelligence on the Soviet Union, Central America and Southwest Asia. During his testimony, Mr. Gates, known for his outstanding memory, testified 33 times that he did not have any recollection of the facts of Iran-contra.

“Mr. Gates became the first career CIA analyst to take over the reins of the agency, ultimately doing more harm to the mission and mandate of the CIA’s intelligence directorate than any previous director — even his mentor, William J. Casey. His strong ideological agenda in support of the White House often led him down the wrong analytical road,causing him to be wrong about the central issues of the day involving the decline and fall of the Soviet Union and the impact of ethnic violence on regional conflicts.”
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McGovern was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990 and Robert Gates’branch chief in the early 1970s. McGovern now serves on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. McGovern wrote a piece published in today’s Miami Herald titled “A CIA Insider’s Take on Gates,” in which he states: “In January 1995, Howard Teicher, who served on President Reagan’s National Security Council staff, submitted a sworn affidavit detailing the activities of Gates and his then-boss, CIA Director William Casey, in secretly providing arms to Iraq. This violated the Arms Export Control Act in two ways: ignoring the requirement to notify Congress; and providing arms to a state designated as a sponsor of terrorism.

“It gets worse. To grease the skids for this dubious adventure, Gates ordered his more malleable subordinates at the CIA to cook up intelligence reports to provide some comfort to Reagan in acquiescing to these activities. A National Intelligence Estimate of May 1985 predicted Soviet inroads in Iran if the United States did not reach out to ‘moderates’ within the Iranian leadership.

“In addition, Gates’ analysts were pressed to publish several reports beginning in late 1985 — as HAWK anti-aircraft missiles wended their way to Tehran — that Iranian-sponsored terrorism had ‘dropped off substantially.’ There was no persuasive evidence to support that judgment.

“As part of my official duties at the time, I took steps to make Gates aware of this a month before he wrote in articles in the Washington Post, Foreign Affairs magazine and our professional journal Studies in Intelligence that, ‘No CIA publication asserted these things.’ I then tried in vain to get him to correct the record.

“Since this episode casts serious doubt on Gates’ veracity, I felt a responsibility to bring it to the attention of the senators weighing Gates’ nomination to become CIA director in 1991. On Oct. 7, 1991, I swore in an affidavit laying out the facts and gave it to the Senate Intelligence Committee. I heard nothing.”
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MacMichael, a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency, is also a member of the steering committee of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. He wrote the piece “The Insider: Gates to the Pentagon” on Nov. 14 in which he predicted: “The Democrats, of course,will demand, and get, something in return for their acquiescence [on the Gates nomination]. Most likely the bone thrown to them will be John Bolton, current interim holder of the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.” Today, Bolton resigned.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167