- Washington, DC - Daniel Ellsberg, joined today by ten
former employees of the FBI, CIA, State and Defense Departments, issued
a call to current government officials to disclose classified information
that is being wrongly withheld, about plans for and estimated costs of
the war in Iraq, and other documents that contradict government lies.
- The "call," in the form of an open memo to
current government employees, says "It is time for unauthorized truth-telling."
Drawing the clear parallel to Vietnam, the group urges that ongoing silence
about government deceptions and cover-ups and reluctance to publicize information
about the war's costs and projected casualties carries with it a significant
price in human life and national security.
- The group released a list of existing documents wrongly
withheld within the government as examples of the kind that the public
has a right to see (see below). These include background on Army Staff
estimates before the war that the Iraq effort would require several hundred
thousand troops. Similarly, current estimates of potential casualty rates
as the insurgency in Iraq continues to grow as well as the likely cost
of waging war over the next few years almost surely exist, and should be
- To current government officials, Ellsberg says: "If
you have documentary evidence that our country has been lied into an unnecessary,
wrongful, endless war -- as I had during Vietnam -- I urge you to consider
doing right now what I wish I had done years earlier than I did: give the
truth to Congress and the press, with copies of those documents. The personal
costs you risk are great, but you may save many Americans from being lied
- Ray McGovern adds: "Truth. Never in the past 50
years has it been in such short supply in the U.S. defense/intelligence
community. Yet it is the truth- -- once known -- that will keep us free.
- Ellsberg, best known for releasing the Pentagon Papers
to Congress and the press in 1971, was joined at a Washington press conference
by Ray McGovern, formerly an analyst for 27 years at the CIA, who provided
several presidential staffs with their daily morning security briefings;
Sibel Edmonds, former FBI translator who was fired for revealing security
lapses at the FBI; and Coleen Rowley, one of Time magazine's Persons of
the Year as a Whistleblower, currently a Special Agent in the FBI's Minneapolis
- The Call and press conference are part of Ellsberg's
ongoing work with the Truth Telling Project:
- The conference is also sponsored by the Sam Adams Associates
for Integrity in Intelligence, which has given its annual Award to Colleen
Rowley and Katharine Gun (who will also be present at the conference) and,
last night at American University, to Sibel Edmonds.
- Gun, a former translator with the British equivalent
of the NSA, was fired after leaking sensitive information to the British
press about efforts to "surge" intercept capability against members
of the UN Security Council. Gun was acquitted of charges of violating England's
Official Secrets Act. Another participant is Major Frank Grevil, of the
Danish Intelligence Service, who faces trial for releasing his estimates
that revealed lack of evidence of WMDs in Iraq, contradicting his country's
involvement in efforts to distort intelligence in order to support the
- Other signers of the Call-including Mary Ann Wright,
who resigned as Deputy Chief of Mission in Mongolia over the war-- will
also be present, along with Ann Beeson of the ACLU and Beth Daly of the
Project on Government Oversight (POGO).
- For more information contact: Kawana Lloyd, Jessica Smith,
or Steve Smith Fenton Communications (202) 822-5200
- Call To Patriotic Whistleblowing Of Bush
Administration's Widespread Corruption
- The Truth-Telling Project
- It is time for unauthorized truth-telling. Citizens cannot
make informed choices if they do not have the facts -- for example, the
facts that have been wrongly concealed about the ongoing war in Iraq: the
real reasons behind it, the prospective costs in blood and treasure, and
the setback it has dealt to efforts to stem terrorism.
- Administration deception and cover-up on these vital
matters has so far been all too successful in misleading the public. Many
Americans are too young to remember Vietnam. Then, as now, senior government
officials did not tell the American people the truth. Now, as then, insiders
who know better have kept their silence, as the country was misled into
the most serious foreign policy disaster since Vietnam.
- Some of you have documentation of wrongly concealed facts
and analyses that -- if brought to light -- would impact heavily on public
debate regarding crucial matters of national security, both foreign and
domestic. We urge you to provide that information now, both to Congress
and, through the media, to the public.
- Thanks to our First Amendment, there is in America no
broad Officials Secrets Act, nor even a statutory basis for the classification
system. Only very rarely would it be appropriate to reveal information
of the three types whose disclosure has been expressly criminalized by
- communications intelligence, nuclear data, and the identity
of U.S. intelligence operatives. However, this administration has stretched
existing criminal laws to cover other disclosures in ways never contemplated
- There is a growing network of support for whistleblowers.
In particular, for anyone who wishes to know the legal implications of
disclosures they may be contemplating, the ACLU stands ready to provide
pro bono legal counsel, with lawyer-client privilege. The Project on Government
Oversight (POGO) will offer advice on whistleblowing, dissemination and
relations with the media.
- Needless to say, any unauthorized disclosure that exposes
your superiors to embarrassment entails personal risk. Should you be identified
as the source, the price could be considerable, including loss of career
and possibly even prosecution. Some of us know from experience how difficult
it is to countenance such costs. But continued silence brings an even more
terrible cost, as our leaders persist in a disastrous course and young
Americans come home in coffins or with missing limbs.
- This is precisely what happened at this comparable stage
in the Vietnam War. Some of us live with profound regret that we did not
at that point expose the administration's dishonesty and perhaps prevent
the needless slaughter of 50,000 more American troops and some 2 to 3 million
Vietnamese over the next ten years. We know how misplaced loyalty to bosses,
agencies, and careers can obscure the higher allegiance all government
officials owe the Constitution, the sovereign public, and the young men
and women put in harm's way. We urge you to act on those higher loyalties.
- A hundred forty thousand young Americans are risking
their lives every day in Iraq for dubious purpose. Our country has urgent
need of comparable moral courage from its public officials. Truth-telling
is a patriotic and effective way to serve the nation. The time for speaking
out is now.
- ° Edward Costello, Former Special Agent (Counterintelligence),
Federal Bureau of Investigation
- ° Sibel Edmonds, Former Language Specialist, Federal
Bureau of Investigation ° Daniel Ellsberg, Former official, U.S. Departments
of Defense and State
- ° John D. Heinberg, Former Economist, Employment
and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor
- ° Larry C. Johnson, Former Deputy Director for Anti-Terrorism
Assistance, Transportation Security, and Special Operations, Department
of State, Office of the Coordinator for Counter Terrorism
- ° John Brady Kiesling, Former Political Counselor,
U.S. Embassy, Athens, Department of State
- ° David MacMichael, Former Senior Estimates Officer,
National Intelligence Council, Central Intelligence Agency
- ° Ray McGovern, Former Analyst, Central Intelligence
- ° Philip G. Vargas, Ph.D., J.D., Dir. Privacy &
Confidentiality Study, Commission on Federal Paperwork (Author/Director:
"The Vargas Report on Government Secrecy"-CENSORED)
- ° Ann Wright, Retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel and
U.S. Foreign Service Officer
- ° Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatowski, recently retired from
service in the Pentagon's Office of Near East planning
- SELECTED SIGNATORY BIOS:
- * Daniel Ellsberg is a lecturer, writer and activist
on the dangers of the nuclear era and unlawful interventions. He is best
known for releasing publicly the Pentagon Papers, the 7,000-page Top Secret
McNamara study of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, to the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee in 1969 and to the New York Times, Washington Post
and 17 other newspapers in 1971.
- His trial, on twelve felony counts posing a possible
sentence of 115 years, was dismissed in 1973 on grounds of governmental
misconduct against him, which led to the convictions of several White House
aides and figured in the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon.
- Ellsberg joined the Defense Department in 1964 as Special
Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs)
John McNaughton, working on Vietnam. He transferred to the State Department
in 1965 to serve two years at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. He started his
career as a strategic analyst at the RAND Corporation, and consultant to
the Department of Defense and the White House, specializing in problems
of the command and control of nuclear weapons, nuclear war plans, and crisis
decision-making and returned there in 1967.
- * Ray McGovern worked for 27years as a career analyst
in the CIA spanning 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.
- In January 2003, Ray, along with other intelligence community
alumni/ae, created Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. Through
VIPS, Ray has written and spoken extensively about intelligence-related
issues and appeared in several 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.
- * Sibel Edmonds worked as a language specialist for
the FBI's Washington Field Office. During her work with the bureau, she
discovered and reported serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, and
intentional blocking of intelligence that had national security implications.
After she reported these acts to FBI management, she was fired in March
- Since then, court proceedings on her issues have been
blocked by the assertion of "State Secret Privilege" by Attorney
General Ashcroft; the Congress of the United States has been gagged and
prevented from any discussion of her case through retroactive re-classification
by the Department of Justice; and the report on her case issued by the
Department of Justice Inspector General has been entirely classified.
- TWELVE EXAMPLES OF EXISTING DOCUMENTS THAT DESERVE UNAUTHORIZED
- Each of these -- wrongly withheld up till now -- could
and should be released almost in their entirety, perhaps with minor deletions
for genuine security reasons. (In many cases, official promises to release
declassified versions have not been honored.)
- 1. Reports by International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC) on Guantanamo, Abu Ghrab and other prisons (ships, prisons in other
countries) that hold prisoners from the "war on terrorism." (These
reports have been provided to the US government but have not been made
- 2. 28 pages redacted from the report of the Joint House-Senate
Inquiry on Intelligence Activities before and after 9/11, concerning the
ties between the 9/11 terrorists and the government of Saudi Arabia.
- 3. 800 pages of the United Nations Report on Weapons
of Mass Destruction that were taken by the United States during unauthorized
Xeroxing and never given to the Security Council members. (The original
report was 1200 pages in length but has never been published in its entirety)
- 4. Membership, advisors, consultants to Vice President
Cheney's Energy Task Force, and any minutes from meetings (January - December,
- 5. Documents and photographs concerning/produced by military
doctors or medical personnel that document abuses toward prisoners condoned
by medical personnel.
- 6. Documents produced by military lawyers and legal staff
that challenge the political policy makers decision to undercut the Geneva
Conventions and any other extra-legal procedures.
- 7. The missing sections of the U.S. Army General Taguba
report on prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- 8. Department of Justice-Inspector General (DOJ-IG) Report:
RE: Sibel Edmonds vs. FBI, completed, classified
- 9. DOJ-IG Report: RE: FBI Translation Department (security
breaches, intentional mistranslations, espionage charges), completed, classified
- 10. DOJ-IG Report: RE:FBI & Foreknowledge of 9/11,
- 11. Full staff backup to General Shinseki's 2002 estimate
that "several hundred thousand troops" would be required for
effective occupation of Iraq.
- 12. The full 2002 State Department studies on requirements
for the postwar occupation and restoration of civil government in Iraq.
- RELATED LINKS
- Project on Government Oversight http://www.pogo.org
- Government Accountability Project http://www.whistleblower.org/
- National Whistleblower Center http://www.whistleblowers.org/
- OpenTheGovernment.org http://www.openthegovernment.org/
- National Security Archive http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/index.html
- Daniel Ellsberg's Website http://www.ellsberg.net
- Project on Government Secrecy http://www.fas.org/sgp/index.html