"My former colleagues working on Iran played a huge role in preventing a war against Iran… In no case prior to that CIA estimate on Iran in 2007 could I say that an honest analytical work in a form of the National Intelligence Estimate played a huge role in preventing a war and most Americans don’t know that, but that’s what happened. An honest person came in, he found enough honest analysts and they decided that Iran had stopped working on nuclear weapon at the end of 2003 and had not resumed work on that. That prevented [former US President George W.] Bush and [Vice President Dick] Chaney from starting a war against Iran, that they fully intended to do in their last year in office, in 2008," McGovern said.
According to the former CIA analyst turned political activist, he had "just about given up on the CIA" at that time after his "former colleagues allowed themselves to be corrupted, manufacturing evidence to justify a war or aggression" on Iraq, but the CIA has shown the integrity in the situation around Syria.
"The fact that John Kerry could not get my former colleagues to lie about the Sarin attack in Syria in August of 2013 — they would not give him an intelligence assessment because there was too much evidence that it was not Bashar Assad’s government but the rebels that did that attack – stripped off our President of [the possibility to] start an open war against Syria. My colleagues stood up and what eventuated was the first of its genre – a government estimate," McGovern explained.
In August 2013, a rebel-held suburb of Damascus came under a Sarin gas attack – a nerve agent that causes lung muscle paralysis resulting in death from suffocation that led to the death of 1,400 civilians, with the White House initially saying that there was "high confidence" that the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad was behind it. The drumbeats of war quickly followed with US Secretary of State John Kerry leading the chorus calling for immediate military intervention to oust Assad.
The 2007 CIA’s controversial National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) about Iran’s nuclear program was a target of severe criticism, mainly from the Republican Party that claimed that the CIA was undermining the presidential administration’s aggressive position toward Iran.
McGovern is a co-founder of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of former officers of the US Intelligence Community who aim to protest against the use of faulty intelligence upon which, as they claim, the US and UK invasion of Iraq in 2003 was based.
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