Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) is a group of former officers of the United States Intelligence Community. It was formed in January 2003 as a "coast-to-coast enterprise" to protest the use of faulty intelligence "upon which the US/UK invasion of Iraq was based." The group issued a letter before the 2003 invasion of Iraq stating that intelligence analysts were not being listened to by policy makers. Initially the group numbered 25, mostly retired analysts. Kathleen Christison and William Christison, Santa Fe, NM - resigned from VIPS in July 2003, over a memo calling for Cheney’s resignation. In August 2010 it issued a memorandum to the White House warning of an imminent Israeli attack on Iran.
February 2003 memo
On February 7, 2003, VIPS publicly released a "Memorandum for The President" criticizing Secretary Powell's speech before the United Nations, in part, because VIPS was afraid Saddam Hussein would use his chemical weapons against U.S. troops if the U.S. invaded. It stated "The narrow focus on Resolution 1441 has diverted attention from the wider picture. It is crucial that we not lose sight of that. Intelligence community analysts are finding it hard to make themselves heard above the drumbeat for war." It also noted the various Gulf War-related illnesses which many returning soldiers contracted due to the presence of chemical and biological agents in Desert Storm. The memorandum was signed by the VIPS Steering Group including Richard Beske, Kathleen Christison, William Christison, Patrick Eddington, and Ray McGovern.
New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof at the time described that widespread outrage among intelligence professionals had led to the establishment of VIPS.After the CIA chief weapons inspector David Kay in 2004 announced no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction could be found in Iraq, Michael W. Robbins opined in the magazine Mother Jones: The group, "Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity," has produced some of the most credible, and critical, analyses of the Bush Administration's handling of intelligence data in the run-up to the March, 2003 invasion of Iraq.
August 2010 memo
On August 3, 2010, VIPS publicly released another "MEMORANDUM FOR: The President" warning the administration that their analysis suggests that Israel is likely to unilaterally attack Iran "as early as this month."
August 2014 open letter to Angela Merkel
In response to the war in Ukraine and allegations from the U.S. and NATO of a Russian invasion in support of rebel forces, VIPS wrote an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in which they urged the Chancellor to be suspicious of U.S. intelligence regarding the alleged invasion. They stated satellite photos released to the press were not a sufficient basis for the claim of an invasion, likening it to the case for war in Iraq, and suggested the claims of Russian invasion were a cover for a series of successes by the rebels. German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung stated the group ignored other evidence suggesting a Russian invasion, but added that their position should not be dismissed as the current members of the group includes several experienced former intelligence officials such as former FBI agent Coleen Rowley who was Time magazine's Person of the Year in 2002 for her whistleblowing about intelligence failures before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and Ray McGovern, who as a CIA analyst informed George Bush Senior about intelligence findings in the White House. Among the signatories was also William Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA who like Rowley became whistleblower after 9/11 and known in Germany as he testified to the German parliamentary committee investigating the spying of the NSA in Germany.
- http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,81148,00.html Fox News
- Kathleen and Bill Christison: Why We Resigned from VIPS, CounterPunch, July 15, 2003.
- "Save Our Spooks", NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, New York Times, May 30, 2003
- Michael W. Robbins, The Skeptical Spy, Mother Jones, March 10, 2004.
- Lahav Harkov, Obama misplaced trust in Netanyahu, Jerusalem Post, August 5, 2010.
- Dana Karni, Will Israel Bomb Iran This Month?, Fox News, August 5, 2010.
- Guneev, Sergei (2 September 2014). "Group of Former US Intel Officials Urge Merkel to Reject Politicized Intelligence". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
- Nato will Kiew bei Modernisierung der Armee helfen, Stern, September 4, 2014 (German)
- The State Department Says Russia Is Invading Ukraine—Should We Believe It?, The Nation, September 2, 2014
- Markus C. Schulte von Drach, "Ex-Geheimdienstler bezweifeln russische Invasion", Süddeutsche Zeitung, September 4, 2014 (German)
- "US-Geheimdienst-Pensionäre warnen Merkel vor Fehlinformationen", Der Tagesspiegel (in German), September 4, 2014