The presence of CIA employees - even former ones - in our offices is not a frequent occurrence, as far as we know. But in late August we were happy to welcome two ex-CIA analysts, Ray McGovern and David MacMichael, to be interviewed by Rose Berger and Jim Rice for this issue's cover article.
We first interviewed David for our August 1984 issue. He'd found while working for the CIA that some of the Reagan administration's primary justification for the contra war against Nicaragua was, in fact, false. This discovery, and how the information he found was stifled within the agency, eventually led him both to a spiritual re-awakening and to a public challenge to the Reagan policy in The New York Times.
Ray was a CIA analyst for 27 years, but his Catholic faith and other life twists have led him to very different work. He is co-director of the Servant Leadership School, an outreach and training ministry located just a few blocks west of our office. He has been outspoken for the past year about the false and faulty intelligence that's been used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Both David and Ray continue to respect the professionalism and high ethics of many government analysts - which only makes them more outraged at the apparent lies told by the Bush administration in defense of its invasion of Iraq. As David said in his first Sojourners interview nearly 20 years ago, "a policy based on insufficient or misinterpreted evidence is one that is bound to come to grief."
In that light, our current political climate does not seem to be a vast improvement from the mid-1980s. But close to home, David could point to one small, clear, positive: He said our office coffee is much better than it was in 1984.