David MacMichael

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David Charles MacMichael (June 6, 1926 – May 16, 2022) was a contract employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who served two years as an analyst.[1][2] A ten-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, he was a counter-insurgency expert in South-East Asia for four years.[3] He also served as an analyst for the National Intelligence Council from 1981-1983.

Early life and education[edit]

MacMichael was born in Albany, New York in 1926. He graduated with an MA and Ph.D. in History from the University of Oregon.[4]


MacMichael reportedly resigned from the CIA in July 1983 because he felt the Agency was misrepresenting intelligence for political reasons.[5][a] His public resignation from the Agency gave credence and notability to his vocal indictment of the Reagan Administration's policy toward Central America.[6] He was considered the "key witness" in Nicaragua v. United States. The case was heard in 1986 before the International Court of Justice, which ruled that the United States had violated international law by supporting the Contras in their war against the Nicaraguan government and by mining Nicaragua's harbors. MacMichael also testified in front of Congress on this matter.[7]

A former investigator for the Christic Institute, he was an outspoken critic of the Institute's reliance on conspiracy theory, arguing that the Institute "was eager, perhaps overeager, to demonstrate that this enterprise was responsible for everything since Cain slaying Abel."[8] In July 2005, he testified at a special joint hearing of Congressional and Senate Democrats about the consequences of the Plame affair.

MacMichael was a founding member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS),[4] as well as its predecessor Association of National Security Alumni and the Association for Responsible Dissent,[9] and an outspoken critic of the Iraq War and the Bush Administration. He has participated in six documentary films from 1988-2003.[10] Journalist John Pilger has described him as a "CIA renegade."[11]

In August 2014 he was among the signatories of an open letter by the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity to German chancellor Angela Merkel in which they urged the Chancellor to be suspicious of U.S. intelligence regarding the alleged invasion of Russia in Eastern Ukraine.[12]

In September 2015 MacMichael and 27 other members of VIPS steering group wrote a letter to the President challenging a recently published book, that claimed to rebut the report of the United States Senate Intelligence Committee on the Central Intelligence Agency's use of torture.[13] MacMichael died on May 16, 2022, at his home in Front Royal, Virginia, at the age of 95.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In a letter to a representative of the Department of Minnesota Veteran of Foreign Wars dated November 21, 1986, the CIA's Information and Privacy Coordinator stated: "We can advise you that David MacMichael has been officially acknowledged to have been a contract employee--as distinguished from a regular employee--of this agency whose employment was concluded at the end of a two year contract."[2]


  1. ^ Shaw, Terri (September 8, 1985). "Americans to Testify Against U.S. in Nicaraguan World Court Case". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "LETTER TO(SANITIZED) FROM(SANITIZED)". Information and Privacy Coordinator, Central Intelligence Agency. November 21, 1986. Archived from the original on January 23, 2017. Retrieved June 10, 2020. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Jonathan Steele, "The CIA man who turned to the Nicaraguans / Profile of David MacMichael," The Guardian (9 January 1985).
  4. ^ a b c Risen, Clay (June 1, 2022). "David C. MacMichael, C.I.A. Whistleblower, Dies at 95". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2022.
  5. ^ Philip Taubman, "In from the Cold and Hot for Truth," The New York Times (11 June 1984) p. B6.
  6. ^ See Philip Taubman, "In from the Cold and Hot for Truth," The New York Times (11 June 1984) p. B6; "Moynihan: data lacking on Nicaragua arms traffic," The Christian Science Monitor (14 June 1984) p. 2; "Nicaragua, Pro and Contra" The New York Times (18 June 1984) p. A18; Joan Edwards, "Reagan's charges 'total untruths,' ex-CIA man says," The Globe and Mail (29 June 1984).
  7. ^ Shirley Christian, "Nicaragua's American Lawyers Prepare Case," The New York Times (8 September 1985) p.23; Associated Press, "Ex-CIA Aide Testifies in The Hague," The New York Times (14 September 1985) p. 3.
  8. ^ Barringer, Felicity (March 17, 1989). "THE LAW; Giving Law Teeth (and Using Them on Lawyers)". The New York Times. p. B4. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  9. ^ "Ex-CIA spies set up group fighting to ban covert action" Toronto Star (27 November 1987) p. A3.
  10. ^ "David MacMichael". IMDb.
  11. ^ John Pilger, "Having a fun time in New Orleans: the latest recruits (sorry, 'alumni') of latter-day Reaganism," New Statesman (13 November 1998).
  12. ^ The State Department Says Russia Is Invading Ukraine—Should We Believe It?, The Nation, September 2, 2014
  13. ^ Andy Worthington (2015-09-15). "28 Veterans of US Intelligence Fight Back Against CIA Claims That the Bush Torture Program Was Useful and Necessary". Archived from the original on 2015-09-28.