Philip Giraldi

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Philip Giraldi
Giraldi in 2011
c. 1946 (2024-05-19UTC16:46)[1]
Alma materUniversity of Chicago,
University of London
Occupation(s)Former CIA officer, columnist
EmployerCouncil for the National Interest

Philip Giraldi (born c. 1946) is an American columnist, commentator and security consultant. He is the Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a role he has held since 2010. He was previously employed as an intelligence officer for the CIA, before transitioning to private consulting. Giraldi has received criticism for his anti-semitism and Holocaust denial, and has said "those American Jews who lack any shred of integrity" when they appear on television should be labeled "like a warning label on a bottle of rat poison."[2]


Giraldi holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Chicago, and a MA and a Ph.D. in European history from the University of London. A native English speaker, he also speaks German, Italian, Spanish, and Turkish.[3]


Girardi's 18-year period employed by the Central Intelligence Agency focused on counter-terrorism efforts. He served in numerous European and Middle Eastern theaters, including an appointment as the deputy base chief for the field office in Istanbul in the late 1980s.[3][4] From 1989–1992, he was designated as the agency's senior officer for Olympic Games support, assuming the title of Chief of Base for the Barcelona summer Olympics.[5] After leaving the CIA, Giraldi started a security consulting firm; and became a columnist, speaker, and commentator for numerous organizations and media-outlets.[5]

He was a foreign policy adviser to Ron Paul during the 2008 presidential primaries.[citation needed]

Since 2010, Giraldi has served as the executive director of the Council for the National Interest, a non-profit political group that advocates for an end to U.S. aid to Israel and has the stated aim of providing independent analysis of U.S./Middle-Eastern policy, described by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in 2013 as one of their “Top Ten Anti-Israel Groups in the U.S.”. He is also the national security editor for The Unz Review, a webzine described by the ADL as "a forum for writers who demonize Israel" and by the Washington Post as "a website that says it provides a forum for 'alternative perspectives,' which happens to include anti-Semitic diatribes". The foundation of Ron Unz has made grants to Giraldi.[6][7][8]

Giraldi has written columns on terrorism, intelligence, and security issues for the American Herald Tribune,[9] The American Conservative, The Huffington Post, and; as well as op-ed pieces for the Hearst Newspaper chain.[5]

Political commentary[edit]

The American Conservative[edit]

In August 2005, Giraldi wrote an article for The American Conservative that outlined his supposed knowledge of a contingency plan under development by the George W. Bush administration involving a potential nuclear attack on Iran.[10] In another article that same year, Giraldi revealed that the outing of CIA officer Valarie Plame was part of a larger U.S. conspiracy to cover-up the forgery of documents used to implicate Iraq in the attempted acquisition of nuclear material. The documents were a crucial component of the Bush administration's case to go to war with Iraq.[11]

In 2013, Giraldi wrote an article for the website outlining a theory that the Syrian gas attacks in Damascus were staged by Middle Eastern actors outside of Syria in an attempt to frame the Assad regime in order to incite increased opposition to the Syrian war efforts.[12]

Other outlets[edit]

In 2014, the Anti-Defamation League published a blog that identified Giraldi, among others, as a speaker at a National Press Club event that aired on C-SPAN, dubbed as the "National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel Special Relationship," and purported to be sponsored by groups the ADL identified as being anti-Israel. At the event, it was reported that Giraldi spoke about allegations that Israeli spies celebrated while the Twin Towers fell on September 11.[13]

Assertions about Jews and Israel[edit]

Noah Pollak wrote in Commentary magazine in August 2008: "In Giraldi’s world, scratching the surface of almost any event exposes the sinister machinations of international Jewry".[14] He was accused in 2019 by Max Boot in The Washington Post of using the term "neocon" as a cover word for Jews.[15]

In 2004, in a privately circulated newsletter co-written with Vincent Cannistraro, a retired CIA counter-terrorism chief, Giraldi said Turkish sources had reported that Turkey was concerned by Israel's alleged encouragement of Kurdish ambitions to create an independent state and that Israeli intelligence operations in the area included anti-Syrian and anti-Iranian activity by Kurds. They predicted this might lead to a new alliance among Iran, Syria, and Turkey which have Kurdish minorities.[4] Giraldi speculated in 2008: "There are a number of possible "false flag" scenarios in which the Israelis could insert a commando team in the Persian Gulf or use some of their people inside Iraq to stage an incident that they will make to look Iranian, either by employing Iranian weapons or by leaving a communications footprint that points to Tehran's involvement."[14]

In 2009, the London Times reported on an Iranian plan to experiment on a "neutron initiator" for an atomic weapon,[16] Gareth Porter reported for Inter Press Service that Giraldi said that unnamed intelligence sources had told him that the document was in fact a fabrication, which Giraldi speculated was created by Israel. He claimed that Rupert Murdoch publications regularly disseminate false intelligence from the Israeli and sometimes the British government.[17][better source needed]

In August 2010, Giraldi again referred to unnamed "sources in the counterintelligence community" in The American Conservative who had told him intelligence agents of Israel's Mossad were posing as representatives of the equivalent American agencies and visiting Arab and Muslim residents in New York and New Jersey. He alleged it was done as a "false flag" operation to help agents gain information about Iran, which they believed would not be forthcoming to Israeli agents.[18] The Israeli embassy, the United States Department of Justice, and Giraldi all declined to comment for an article on the allegations in the biweekly New York Arab-community newspaper Aramica.[19][20]

In September 2017, Valerie Plame encountered much criticism on Twitter when she retweeted Giraldi's Unz Review column "America's Jews are Driving America's Wars", and then when it was reported she had retweeted previous columns by Giraldi making claims about Jewish influence in American foreign policy, including "Why I Dislike Israel" (2014).[21][22] In the 2017 article, Giraldi asserted American Jews pushed the United States into war with Iraq (it named Jews as "conduits for the false information that led to a war [with Iraq] that has spread and effectively destroyed much of the Middle East"), were fueling a war machine against Iran; and had a dual loyalty to Israel (he said Jews should not be put "into national security positions involving the Middle East, where they will potentially be conflicted"). He wrote: "Jewish groups and deep pocket individual donors not only control the politicians, they own and run the media and entertainment industries" and that. In the article he wrote that "those American Jews who lack any shred of integrity" appear on television they should be labeled, "kind-of-like a warning label on a bottle of rat poison". He concluded: "The only alternative is for American citizens who are tired of having their country's national security interests hijacked by a group that is in thrall to a foreign government to become more assertive about what is happening. ... We don't need a war with Iran because Israel wants one and some rich and powerful American Jews are happy to deliver."[8][9][22] He accused American Jews of making false claims and taking politicians and the media down with them.[21] Alan Dershowitz wrote for The Jerusalem Post: "In other words, Jewish supporters of Israel, like [Bill] Kristol and me, should have to wear the modern day equivalent of a yellow star before we are allowed to appear on TV."[23] After the publication of the column, Giraldi said he had been fired for the Unz Review column by The American Conservative, where he had been a contributor for fourteen years.[24]

In a May 2019 article for The Unz Review, Giraldi claimed Israel was connected with the September 11 attacks in 2001: "Israel, in spite of obvious involvement in 9/11, was not included in the 9/11 Commission Report despite the existence of an enormous Israeli intelligence operation freely working in the United States that was known to the FBI. ... [T]here are Israeli fingerprints all over the place, with cover companies and intelligence personnel often intersecting with locations frequented by the hijackers."[25]

In a 2019 article for the Strategic Culture Foundation, Giraldi described the US as engaged in a deliberate campaign to start a war with Iran, based on a threat "falsified" and "contrived" by John Bolton in collaboration with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, as assertion described by analyst Mitchell Bard as "in the grand tradition of antisemitic conspiracy theories".[26]

Claims about the Holocaust[edit]

A letter co-written by Giraldi was published by his alumni magazine in 1999. Near the end of the letter, Giraldi and his co-author wrote:

"Perhaps what is truly unique about the Holocaust is the ability of its exploiters to preemptively silence their critics. Surely within the University of Chicago community there must be many who recognize that the Holocaust industry has gone too far, that the Holocaust is far from being the central event of the century, and that its message of an exclusivity in suffering—serving to promote a Zionist agenda—is dubious at best."[14]

Giraldi has been accused of Holocaust denial, as well as antisemitism. The Daily Beast reported that some of his antisemitic and Holocaust-denying articles for the Unz Review were copied by Iranian fake news sites.[27]


In a March 2020 article for The Unz Review, Giraldi claimed Israel had created the Coronavirus as a "biological weapon" to use against Iran.[28] He said in the same month in an article for the Strategic Culture Foundation (described by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) as an "extreme-right propaganda website with a Russian domain") that "If one even considers it possible that the United States had a hand in creating the coronavirus at what remains of its once extensive biological weapons research center in Ft Detrick Maryland, it is very likely that Israel was a partner in the project". He continued: "It is difficult to explain why coronavirus has hit one country in particular other than China very severely. That country is Iran, the often-cited enemy of both the U.S. and Israel".[29] This article was shared by Iran's PressTV[30] and by Thai media outlets.[31]


  1. ^ Philip Giraldi, NNDB
  2. ^ "Ex-CIA agent sparks Twitter controversy by sharing commentary on Jews". AP NEWS. 2017-09-22. Retrieved 2023-03-27.
  3. ^ a b CNI Foundation Staff list Archived December 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b Hersh, Seymour M. (June 21, 2004). "Plan B". The New Yorker. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "Contributor: Philip Giraldi". HuffPost. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  6. ^ "Ron Unz: Controversial Writer and Funder of Anti-Israel Activists". Anti-Defamation League. January 20, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  7. ^ "New York Times, Others Praised Anti-Semitic and Slanderous Article". The Algemeiner. December 12, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Kessler, Glenn (2020-05-22). "Analysis - Dark-money group smears Valerie Plame with 'white supremacist' label". Washington Post Fact Check. Retrieved 2023-03-27.
  9. ^ a b Ross, Alexander Reid (March 14, 2019). "The anti-Semitism Fest Where Russian Spies, Code Pink, David Duke and the Nation of Islam Make Friends and Influence People". Haaretz. Giraldi enjoyed a moment of fame (or infamy) when ex-CIA spy Valerie Plame retweeted, doubled down on, then apologized for having tweeted his 2017 far-right Unz Review column, 'America's Jews are Driving America's Wars,' in which Giraldi also opined that Jews should be labelled when appearing on television, 'like a warning label on a bottle of poison.'
  10. ^ Tom Engelhardt, "Thelma and Louise Imperialism", CBS News, from The Nation article "Reckless Bush Putting U.S. On Edge Over Iran", February 17, 2007.
  11. ^ Neal, Terry M. (November 3, 2005). "Questions Remain About the Arguments for War". The Washington Post.
  12. ^ Ahmad, Muhammad Idrees (September 12, 2013). "The New Truthers: Americans Who Deny Syria Used Chemical Weapons". The New Republic. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  13. ^ "Live On CSPAN Features Anti-Semitism". Anti-Defamation League. March 12, 2014. Archived from the original on July 24, 2020. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c Pollak, Noah (August 9, 2008). "Philip Giraldi and Doug Feith". Commentary. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  15. ^ Boot, Max (March 12, 2019). "It's time to retire the 'neocon' label". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  16. ^ Catherine Philp, Secret document exposes Iran's nuclear trigger, The Times, December 14, 2009.
  17. ^ Gareth Porter, "US Intelligence Found Iran Nuke Document Was Forged", Inter Press Service, December 28, 2009
  18. ^ Stein, Jeff (September 2, 2020). "Israeli spies wooing U.S. Muslims, sources say". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  19. ^ Rachel Millard, Mossad at the Door? Archived 2010-10-02 at the Wayback Machine, New America Media reprint of Aramica News Report, September 26, 2010.
  20. ^ Giraldi, Philip "The Mossad in America" Archived September 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, The American Conservative, August 23, 2010.
  21. ^ a b Ziv, Stav (September 21, 2017). "American Jews are Starting Wars, Jewish Former CIA Spy Valerie Plame Wilson Retweets". Newsweek. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  22. ^ a b Kirchick, James (September 25, 2017). "Valerie Plame's Real Blunder". Tablet. Retrieved May 20, 2019. To mitigate this cancer at the heart of the American body politic, Giraldi proposes that Jews be barred from assuming 'national security positions involving the Middle East' and that 'those American Jews who lack any shred of integrity' be publicly identified in all media appearances 'kind-of-like a warning label on a bottle of rat poison' or, as were an earlier generation of problematic Jews, with a yellow star. 'We don't need a war with Iran because Israel wants one and some rich and powerful American Jews are happy to deliver,' Giraldi concluded.
  23. ^ Dershowitz, Alan (September 24, 2017). "Plame knew what she was tweeting". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
  24. ^ Elisberg, Robert J. (September 25, 2020). "Taking The Plame But Only Partial Responsibility". HuffPost. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  25. ^ "Antisemitic Conspiracies About 9/11 Endure 20 Years Later". Anti-Defamation League. September 9, 2021. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  26. ^ Bard, Mitchell (2020). "American Jews and the International Arena (August 2018–July 2019): The US, Israel, and the Middle East". American Jewish Year Book 2019. Vol. 119. [American Jewish Committee, Springer]. pp. 97–134. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-40371-3_4. ISBN 978-3-030-40370-6. ISSN 2213-9583. JSTOR 45373448. S2CID 226687513. Retrieved 2023-03-27.
  27. ^ Rawnsley, Adam (April 13, 2019). "Why Is Iran Now Pushing Right-Wing Fake News?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 21, 2020. The site ran a number of articles copied from Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer and, like [Paul Craig] Roberts, a Holocaust-denying anti-Semite.
  28. ^ "Coronavirus: Extremist Anti-Israel Rhetoric". Anti-Defamation League. May 19, 2020. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  29. ^ Weiner, Alyssa (May 1, 2020). "Global Trends in Conspiracy Theories Linking Jews with Coronavirus". AJC. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  30. ^ Tucker, Patrick (2020-03-10). "Iranian, Russian, Chinese Media Push COVID-19 'Bioweapon' Conspiracies". Defense One. Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  31. ^ "Chinese Virus Conspiracy Theories Picked Up By Thai Media". Khaosod English. 2020-04-02. Retrieved 2021-08-25.

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