Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern has been an outspoken defender of whistleblowers and alternative media sources.
Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern explains his view that a secrecy agreement is not an oath, it is a promise. (00:20) The purpose of secrecy agreements is to protect national security, not to protect abuse and illegal activities. (2:00) Bradley Manning, in his view, was faced with a dilemma of either keeping quiet or expose the abuses he saw and risk prosecution. Manning followed his moral conviction and publish the information being withheld from the public, including by a Washington Post reporter who had been assigned to his unit and did not report what he saw. We therefore need whistleblowers to provide evidence and get the word out.
The biggest change McGovern has seen in his nearly 50 years in Washington is that there is almost no big free media any more. (06:30) He describes the fourth estate as dead in the US, but says there is a fifth estate – the internet, including Wikileaks. This is a new tool for people to find out what is going on in the world. (09:40) Today most US broadcasting channels are owned and operated by the same corporations who are profiteering form the wars they have espoused and justified. (12:00) There is hope in the alternative media, but it comes with not shackling them, as happened with Julian Assange and Wikileaks. McGovern writes for consortiumnews.com, which is one of the earliest examples of investigative journalism online. (24:20) Julian Assange is a journalist, according to McGovern, as someone who is trying to find out what is really going on. Journalists impose their own brand of self-censorship today in order to not be ‘sensationalised’. (26:00)
While serving in the USSR, he witnessed suppression of free speech himself. (29:00) The media were a major factor in the people’s struggle for freedom. There are secrets worth keeping, such as information of spies and their sources. Also strategic arms technology details are important to be secret. The protection of illegitimate secrets threatens our ability to protect legitimate ones. (30:45)