Ray McGovern bio STTP
27-year career as a CIA analyst spanned administrations from John F. Kennedy to
George H. W. Bush. Ray is now co-director of the Servant Leadership School,
which provides training and other support for those seeking ways to be in
relationship with the marginalized poor. The School is one of ten Jubilee
Ministries, not-for-profit organizations inspired by the ecumenical Church of
the Saviour and established in an inner-city neighborhood in Washington, DC.
The department Ray heads at the School deals with the biblical injunction to “speak truth to power,” and this, together with his experience in intelligence analysis, accounts for his various writings and media appearances over the past year. His focus dovetails nicely with the passage carved into the marble entrance to CIA Headquarters: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”—the ethic mandating that CIA analysts were to “tell it like it is” without fear or favor.
In January 2003, when it became clear that that ethic was in serious jeopardy, a handful of intelligence community alumni/ae, including Ray, created Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. VIPS now includes over 35 former professionals from CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Army Intelligence, the FBI, and the National Security Agency. VIPS’ first effort (of ten thus far) was a same-day critique of Secretary of State Colin Powell’s address to the UN on February 5.
In addition to co-authoring some of VIPS’ issuances, Ray has published some 20 op-eds over the past year on intelligence-related issues. These have appeared in newspapers and journals around the country like The Birmingham News, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, The Miami Herald, Die Sueddeutsche Zeitung, The International Herald Tribune, and Der Berliner Tagespiegel, for example.
Over the past several months, he and his VIPS colleagues have made numerous TV, radio and lecture appearances in the US and Europe. They also have appeared in several recent video documentaries—notably, “Uncovered: the Whole Truth About the Iraq War” (Robert Greenwald) and “Break the Silence: Truth and Lies in the War on Terror” (John Pilger).
Ray’s duties at CIA included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President’ Daily Brief (PDB). These, the most authoritative genres of intelligence reporting, have been the focus of press reporting on “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq and on what the president was told before 9/11. During the mid-eighties, Ray was one of the senior analysts conducting early morning briefings of the PDB one-on-one with the Vice President, the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.
Ray received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Fordham College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Designated a Distinguished Military Graduate, he was commissioned upon graduation and served as an infantry/intelligence officer in the US Army from 1962-64. Ray holds an M.A. in Russian Studies from Fordham University and a certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.
At his retirement ceremony, Ray received the Intelligence Commendation Medal and a letter from then-president George H. W. Bush wishing him well in his transition to non-profit work in inner-city Washington. Ray served on the board of Bread for the City from 1989-94, the latter two years as president, before becoming co-director of the Servant Leadership School.
A native New Yorker, he has been married to Rita Kennedy for 42 years; they have five children and six grandchildren.