Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

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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.[1] Kathleen Christison and William Christison, Santa Fe, NM - resigned from VIPS in July 2003, over a memo calling for Cheney’s resignation.[2] In August 2010 it issued a memorandum to the White House warning of an imminent Israeli attack on Iran.

February 2003 memo[edit]

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.[3]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.[4]

August 2010 memo[edit]

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."[5][6]

August 2014 open letter to Angela Merkel[edit]

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.[7][8][9] 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.[10] Among the signatories was also William Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA who like Rowley became a whistleblower after 9/11 and known in Germany as he testified to the German parliamentary committee investigating the spying of the NSA in Germany.[11]

September 2015 memo to President Obama on the CIA's use of torture[edit]

In September 2015 28 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.[12] The signatories were: Fulton Armstrong, William Binney, Tony Camerino, Glenn L. Carle, Thomas Andrews Drake, Daniel Ellsberg, Philip Giraldi, Matthew Hoh, Larry C Johnson, Michael S. Kearns, John Kiriakou, Karen Kwiatkowski, Edward Loomis, David MacMichael, James Marcinkowski, Ray McGovern, Elizabeth Murray, Todd Pierce, Scott Ritter, Diane Roark, Coleen Rowley, Ali Soufan, Robert David Steele, Greg Thielmann, Peter Van Buren, Lawrence Wilkerson, Valerie Plame Wilson, Ann Wright.

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