Ray McGovern: Bush League War Drums Beating Louder on Iran

A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Ray McGovern

It is as though I’m back as an analyst at the CIA, trying to estimate the chances of an attack on Iran. The putative attacker, though, happens to be our own president.

It is precisely the kind of work we analysts used to do. And, while it is still a bit jarring to be turning our analytical tools on the U.S. leadership, it is by no means entirely new. For, of necessity, we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have been doing that for almost six years now — ever since 9/11, when “everything changed.”

Of necessity? Yes, because, with very few exceptions, American journalists put their jobs at grave risk if they expose things such as fraudulent wars.

The craft of CIA analysis was designed to be an all-source operation, meaning that we analysts were responsible — and held accountable — for assimilating information from all sources and coming to judgments on what it all meant. We used data of various kinds, from the most sophisticated technical collection platforms, to spies, to not the least — open media.Here I must reveal a trade secret and risk puncturing the mystique of intelligence analysis. Generally speaking, 80 percent of the information one needs to form judgments on key intelligence targets or issues is available in open media. It helps to have been trained — as my contemporaries and I had the good fortune to be trained — by past masters of the discipline of media analysis, which began in a structured way in targeting Japanese and German media in the 1940s. But, truth be told, anyone with a high school education can do it. It is not rocket science.

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