Coleen Rowley, FBI insider and whistleblower explains – Part 2

With so much happening in our intelligence agencies, the average citizen has no idea of the invasive danger these rogue, secretive, overbearing groups present to our everyday lives. Over the next few weeks I’m going to present insider information from whistleblowing patriots; high level operatives from the FBI, NSA, CIA and DOJ.

The patriot forces that protect us are spread out across the homeland and foreign soil preventing the tragedies we all fear from madmen with untold weapons of mass destruction. Their actions often unknown, yet ever present, make our lives safer, and allow our freedoms to be enjoyed and shared.

But, worthy as some in public service are with their activities, some are alarmingly perfidious, dangerous, while secretly spying and subverting, invading our personal lives for purposes planned, and known only to a few who wish to gain or increase their power over us. We’ve seen it in the past but has the Trump light of scrutiny exposed more and more vermin than a New York sewer on Thanksgiving?

To bring to light the activities, familiar as well as unacknowledged, of these government watchdogs, it’s been a privilege to talk with people from the inside of some of our country’s top agencies. Patriots who dedicated years of service to doing what they thought right, best, honest and appropriate. All of these insiders having become whistleblowers, exposing the wrongdoing at great risk to future personal and career opportnities.

Many of us have taken the oath to support and defend the Constitution, to protect against “all” enemies, foreign and domestic, and yet never imagined that meant against our own administrations. Most of us grew up when the government and its many parts were respected, not feared; depended on, not worried about.

In this series, I introduce special people assembled to express facts and opinions, lay out those facts of agency abuses, and whose valuable time is so appreciated to share what should be an enlightening  warning based on their own experiences and observations. You’ll see some answers are short. Reasons being 1) some of my interviewees are traveling internationally at this time and their valuable time limits long discussions. 2) Some subjects require restraint on the information they can give for personal, legal,  career reasons or national security reasons.

Part 1 of Ms Rowley’s interview is HERE.  This is part 2 of 2:

FBI – Coleen Rowley: B.A. degree in French from Wartburg College, graduated with honors from College of Law at the Univ. of Iowa. In 1981, Rowley was appointed a Special Agent with the FBI, and in 1984 was assigned to the New York Office working Italian organized crime and Sicilian heroin drug investigations. Rowley also served in the Paris, France Embassy and Montreal Consulates. In 1990 Rowley was “Chief Division Counsel” which entailed oversight of the Freedom of Information, Forfeiture, Victim-Witness and Community Outreach Programs as well as providing regular legal and ethics training to FBI Agents of the Division. In May of 2002 Rowley brought forth some of the pre 9-11 lapses and testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about some of the endemic problems facing the FBI and the intelligence community.

Rowley’s memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller in connection with the Joint Intelligence Committee’s Inquiry led to a two-year long DOJ Inspector General investigation. She was one of three whistleblowers chosen as persons of the year by TIME magazine in 2002. In April 2003, following an unsuccessful and highly criticized attempt to warn the Director and other administration officials about the dangers of launching the invasion of Iraq, Rowley stepped down from her (GS-14) legal position to go back to being a (GS-13) FBI Special Agent. In early March 2003 she warned FBI Director Robert Mueller of further problems, including his going along with the Bush Administration’s deceptive plan to launch war on what would become the counterproductive war on Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the 9-11 attacks. (Sadly enough, despite all facts to the contrary, the Bush Administration was able to fool 70% of the American public into believing that Saddam Hussein was behind 9-11.)

Ms Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent. Photo courtesy of Ms Rowley.

RB ~ With all the agencies working inside and outside the country, are we overlooking the presence AND dangerous influence of groups like CAIR and others with ties to foreign entities or governments?

CR ~  I think the most consistently dangerous things the CIA and other US agencies have done has been to aid and arm various Al Qaeda and other associated terrorist groups, trying to use them as our “proxies.”  This began with “Charlie Wilson’s War” using the Mujahadin in Afghanistan and Pakistan who morphed into Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  We should’ve learned our lesson about the consequences of aligning ourselves with foreign terrorists but it has continued with the Chechen terrorists, the Syrian and Libyan jihadists and even the Iranian terrorist dissident Mujahedin al Khalq (MEK) group.

As bad as the increase in international terrorism is, all due to this stupid US foreign policy and perpetual wars, aligned with Wahabi extremist Saudi Arabia, domestic mass shootings have tripled in recent years and actually take more lives inside the U.S.

RB ~ With your background related to the law and ethics, and inside knowledge of our government, is this something that should be personally adhered to by agents or something they need to be taught? And is the FBI and other agencies doing enough to counter illegal activities within?

CR ~   Senator Grassley, long an effective FBI watchdog, released a report compiled in 2000 chronicling misconduct by FBI agents, which he called a “list of horrors.” [Grassley report on FBI misconduct] Unfortunately I doubt that things have much improved since that time.  The Department of Justice’s Inspector General and a US Attorney are looking at some of the current FISA Court abuses but I doubt they have either the time or resources to address all of the misconduct that is happening.

Law enforcement ethics training was initiated in 2001 as a result of various reckless (drunk driving) homicides committed by agents and other serious misconduct but this training seems to have gotten neglected after 9-11.

RB ~ For most of us, the Clinton’s have been on the highway of free rides since the 80’s, bypassing every legal stop sign and prosecution toll booth in their path as they speedily wind their way toward fame and riches – mostly infamous riches. Everything they touch seems to be laden with bi-chromatic fingerprint dust and the blood of innocents mixed with confusion. With the questionable death of Seth Rich and other DNC maneuvering, it’s been said you have your own theories and proof that the DNC email hacking was not the Russians, but an inside job.

CR ~   It’s true that both of the  Clintons have constantly displayed deceptive and corrupt, self-enriching and ruthless activity in the course of their prior “leadership” of the U.S.

I haven’t weighed in on the Seth Rich case because it’s not possible to intelligently opine without hard evidence i.e. what’s called a “smoking gun.” But it’s possible he or some other insider leaked DNC information.  I don’t think anyone really knows.

Hacking and hackers are now ubiquitous and everywhere.  There are certainly hackers in Russia and China but also in the U.S. and Western countries.  It looks like more than a few separate hackers were targeting and exfiltrating info from the DNC and DNC officials for months.  I don’t think the full truth has come out.  The “Intelligence Community Assessments” (which the FBI, CIA, NSA and DNI’s handpicked analysts produced), were mere allegations and did not provide any real evidence showing the Russian government was responsible for the hacking.  The ICA was thus a good example of the opposite of “intelligence,” similar to what was ginned up for Colin Powell’s false presentation to the United Nations in order to launch war on Iraq.  President Obama even admitted that it could not be shown that Russians hackers were the source for “Wikileaked” DNC info.  Yet our mainstream media constantly spews this war propaganda.

RB ~  And for whose benefit and for what purpose? Was Rich to receive the blame for the hacking but wanted to prove otherwise?

CR ~  It’s hard for anyone right now to adequately know.  For good overviews on the overall situation, its general purpose and to whose benefit—a horrible and extremely dangerous predicament for the American people brought on by corrupt government leaders, your readers should see these two exhaustive reviews:   The first review is on Russianmania at the boiling point, and the second is on Mass Deception and the prelude to war.

RB ~  Is the FBI capable of independently pursuing “political crimes” to bring about justice to those involved in all this current Clinton/DNC/State Dept./intelligence corruption, or should they be more an investigative, enforcement force against more traditional crimes? Or is there really a difference?

CR ~  I really doubt the FBI is up to the task of impartially investigating the President and these highest levels of corrupt government leaders.  In a way, it’s easy to sympathize with Comey and McCabe trying to walk a political tightrope given that unprecedented fact that BOTH presidential campaigns were under FBI investigation in the months and even weeks right up to (and after) the 2016 election.  It’s hard to see how any law enforcement/justice entity could conduct an independent investigation and hold the highest level accountable.  Those pragmatic reasons are why Nixon (and many other presidents) have always thought they were above the law.

RB ~ Is enough finally being done to investigate and dig into these email scandals and schemes?

CR ~  I don’t know what’s going on with regard to any further investigation of the Clinton email server and the Clinton Family Foundation corruption, but I doubt any official will get to the bottom of it any time soon.  I do see the Dept of Justice’s Inspector General is expected to produce a report on some aspects of alleged FBI misconduct involving “Russiagate” so there is some source of hope that some independent investigation can be conducted.

RB ~ And as a follow up, are the lines of communication between the FBI, CIA and NSA now more open than before, or is interagency pride and elitism keeping them from working together efficiently?

CR ~  No doubt some turf battles persist, but I think the great enlarging of all their budgets after 9-11 to fight the “war on terror” has reduced interagency rivalry to a large extent.   The agencies also seem to have equal access to the big intelligence databases (which include billions of pieces of non-relevant data) but as I mentioned before, that entails as many problems as it solves involving creating a bigger and bigger “haystack” as well as potential illegal and improper use of the data.

RB ~  Did you in your wildest intelligence dreams ever think that a major political party could invade the sanctity of our election process by creating false documents, use them to smear an opposition candidate before an election, then use them to assault the privacy of his closest confidants, using them to corrupt the privacy process of the FISA system, all while the long term goal of removing a duly elected president loomed in the back of their destructive playbook?

CR ~  That is an excellent description of what appears to have transpired with the “Steele” dossier.  Although I and other whistleblowers warned the surveillance abuse would happen—I wrote an article back when Congress was initially intimidated into passing the “FISA Amendments Act” in August 2007 that the powers they were giving to the Executive Branch’s “national security” agencies would be turned on themselves, I am still somewhat surprised at how this all transpired so quickly.  Officials sell their grabbing for more and more abusive and illegal powers as only being used to target foreigners but it was a slippery slope, and a rather quick slippery slope.  The “war powers” quickly migrated home.  That’s frankly why the CIA was supposed to be prohibited from acting domestically, because of their history of abuses since they are so used to having free reign abroad, without having to follow any laws.

Eris Snowden

RB ~  Was Snowden a traitor or a hero?

CR ~  I don’t believe in heroes and have written many times why it’s foolish to put anyone on a pedestal.  Everyone is a mixed bag.  But there are heroic actions and all whistleblowers who tell the truth about government fraud, waste, abuse, illegality and serious risk to public safety despite the personal risks and misfortunes and despite group think pressures are to be praised and emulated.

RB ~ You’re a strong proponent of critical thinking vs the standard partisan rants that are so pervasive. What can be done from the government side or the personal side to get back to reasonable thinking using truth and facts and not ideology?

CR ~ That’s a good question and I have asked prominent psychologists the same question, and unfortunately without any good answer.  I have given many presentations on “ethical decision-making” and also on “Psychopathy, Propaganda and Group Think” but just letting people know how this works, how easily human vulnerabilities to emotional manipulation work, doesn’t seem to be very effective in reducing the phenomenon. After all, Nazi leader Goering’s warnings during the Nuremberg trials about how easy it is to manipulate people, to turn otherwise good people into monsters, even in a democracy, are well known.  Perhaps a concerted effort to reduce group think by instilling critical thinking at an earlier effort in the education process would have an impact but our country’s educational and media apparatus do just the opposite.

RB ~ Did the decision to become a whistleblower come easy given your patriotism and seeing the need for truth, or was it a life changing moment with thoughts of reprisals and long term career and personal ramifications?

CR ~  Other than Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden and perhaps a handful of others, very few people deliberately decide to sacrifice everything to tell the truth.  The majority of whistleblowers that I’ve met and I now know dozens, begin more naively, believing that it’s possible to get the truth out without martyring oneself.  In my own case, I was realistic enough to know that my truth telling about FBI Headquarters having dropped the ball, that 9-11 could have been prevented, would anger these FBI officials and hurt my career but even I was somewhat surprised when I heard they were immediately discussing firing me.  The only reason that probably didn’t happen was due to media pressure and four Senators writing to Mueller and Ashcroft recommending that I not be fired.

RB ~ What can day to day citizens – who before now had nothing to fear – do to be aware, and to ensure they are not caught up in some unintentional web of government lies from an alphabet agency set on invading our lives and destroying our futures?

CR ~  Well I think average citizens need to do a better job of watchdogging their own government and not abdicate their own responsibility to government “leaders” who don’t have their interests in mind.  This means they have to read more, beyond mainstream news, speak up and write their opinions, contact their elected representatives, engage in protests and political action, basically exercise their First Amendment rights.  Perhaps if more people would have voiced their opposition a few months ago to the reinstatement/enlargement of the FISA Amendments Act, it wouldn’t have passed when the alphabet agencies claimed they needed these vast spying powers, that allow monitoring and collection of Americans’ communications.

RB ~  With Alexis, Echo, TVs with cameras, home security Wifi cameras, Google phones tracking our every move and refrigerators knowing what we buy and how we shop, are we living totally exposed and non-private lives open to any invasion from someone is willing to review, sell or track?

CR ~  You also need to include the recent example of Facebook (and other social media) using and selling the data they collect on those who join social networks or use the internet.  There’s no doubt that almost all technological advances and new communication devices that people see a need for also are privacy-defeating.  Cameras are everywhere now and while they serve some good purposes, they also infringe on privacy and exercise of rights.  I don’t see any of this being ever rolled back.  So laws and policies need to keep pace with developments in technology.

RB ~ With so many problems and scandals related to political corruption, spying on citizens, immigration, local communities and states opting out of abiding by federal law….are we losing America?

CR ~ Things are always changing.   When the 13 colonies became states, the federal government had very little power.  Even when the FBI was formed in 1920’s, there were almost no federal laws creating federal crimes that it could investigate.  But the federal government has been aggregating and centralizing power since the U.S. came into being under the Constitution and perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea if power went back to being more decentralized and citizens could have more input on lower levels than they can have on the national government.  I don’t see that happening however.

I do think our democratic form of government is in danger for a lot of reasons: corruption; war powers abuses; lack of ability of voters to hold leaders accountable, etc.

RB ~ And with all the action and complications of a government intelligence / law enforcement position, what was that one fun, rewarding, passionate moment you remember from your whole career?

CR ~ I’m not sure there was one such moment but I did a lot of painstaking transcribing of intercepted conversations among Italian organized crime members in New York City in the early 1980’s by which we were able to piece together elaborate labor racketeering schemes that were eventually successfully proven at trial and used to convict a number of mob bosses.

RB ~  In closing, does the America public have something to fear about the growing unknown? Are we headed down a path of intrusion that warrants the Utah facility be turned into a veteran’s homeless shelter while money and resources are directed to the outside world instead of inside our borders?

CR ~ I do believe we face a “Brave New World” to put it euphemistically with all the data gathering going on—and without a shred of evidence that it has reduced terrorism.  Even worse, I also think we could be headed for a nuclear WWIII .

RB ~ Are there any other areas you think important to cover here or highlight?

CR ~  I’ve included a number of links to articles for you as I feel Americans need to be aware of where we’re coming from, where we are and where we’re headed..

As I’ve interviewed and written about these intelligence professionals and whistleblowers, I’m reminded…

Power is always dangerous.  Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best.”

–Edward Abbey

 

My next article will highlight a former NSA intelligence official. His input will add much to this series of government insiders.

Our gratitude and appreciate to Ms. Rowley for her service to our country and her time in sharing these important inside views. Part 1 of Ms Rowley’s interview is HERE.

~ RB

A CIA Insider reveals….

Those famous words of Ronald Reagan were never more true:

“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

When originally spoken, many will relate this quote’s initial intention to social situations of taxation, entitlement control and more social issues. However, it’s become evident that the government – once thought to primarily exist for our protection – has turned bare toothed on its citizenry with a more aggressive, subversive agenda of diabolical proportions.

Alphabet agencies wreaking havoc on the public, the country, and even its own, as we we’ll soon reveal. The dishonesty, the lies, corruptions, yea the treason, is running rampant through every office and orifice in our governing bodies and if not for those speaking out, we’d all be un or misinformed.

In my series of “Insiders,”  I’m pleased to talk next with a former CIA operative. Someone who saw not only the inside, but the dirty wrath of an agency gone amuck.

Verne Lyon-CIA:  Recruited first as a student, Lyon operated as a CIA agent in the 1960s and 1970s. While operating under deep cover Lyon engaged in domestic spying on antiwar Iowa State University students. Codenamed Operation CHAOS, the CIA launched the illegal program against U.S. citizens. Lyon was also involved in destabilizing operations in Cuba. He also worked in Peru, Chile and Mexico. Lyon wrote in a 1990 article in Covert Action Information Bulletin, “The CIA must be put in its place. Should we demand or allow anything less, we will remain vulnerable to these abuses and face the risk of decaying into a lawless state destined to self-destruction.”

This is a first hand account from Verne and his book dealing with sensitive activities perpetrated illegally on the American public. Some of his answers are short as some information is sensitive to his life, his past, the agency, and, at times, a short explanation is all that’s required. We’re grateful for the opinions he can share at this time. Verne offers this expose’ as a foundation for domestic spying.

RB ~  Verne, you’ve led a life whose tale is the basis of spy novels and horror stories; Attempted abductions and assassination, prosecutions. You found a passion for aviation at a young age but then made, or were seduced, into a left turn into an intelligence career. We know it started when you were approached by the CIA to spy on antiwar activities at Iowa State. How did they find and pick you for their Operation CHAOS?

Image courtesy of Verne Lyon

VL~ I believe I was approached after a high school/college friend of mine went into Naval Intelligence. He told me he had talked to “some people” about me.  The job of spying on campus anti-war activities paid $300 a month and came with a guaranteed draft deferment. For over fifteen years, the CIA, with assistance from numerous government agencies, conducted a massive illegal domestic covert operation called Operation CHAOS. It was one of the largest and most pervasive domestic surveillance programs in the history of this country. Throughout the duration of CHAOS, the CIA spied on thousands of U.S. citizens. The CIA went to great lengths to conceal this operation from the public while every president from Eisenhower to Nixon exploited CHAOS for his own political ends.

After I signed the documents getting into their “student program,” I asked if university officials knew of their work on campus. They said yes but admonished me to keep this to myself. Apparently some officials at Iowa State not only knew of the CIA recruiting on campus but actually suggested names of select students to approach. Nobody mentioned that the work I just signed up for was illegal at worst and immoral at best. [1]

RB ~ You, like myself, grew up in a small midwestern town but found yourself directed to greater intrigue in your life. How did you take to this move up the status ladder working for a large int’l intelligence agency and did your views of a “worthwhile, needed and valuable gov’t agency soon change?”

VL~   I found it to be almost a dream at the first. Being a secret agent, paid undercover, part of the government’s inner decision making circle, etc. As time went on I became more skeptical with each passing day.

RB ~ Was this domestic spying expanded?

VL ~ As campus anti-war protest activity spread across the nation, the CIA reacted by implementing two new domestic operations. The first, Project RESISTANCE, was designed to provide security to CIA recruiters on college campuses. Under this program, the CIA sought active cooperation from college administrators, campus security, and local police to help identify anti-war activists, political dissidents, and “radicals.” Eventually information was provided to all government recruiters on college campuses and directly to the super-secret DOD on thousands of students and dozens of groups. The CIA’s Office of Security also created Project MERRIMAC, to provide warnings about demonstrations being carried out against CIA facilities or personnel in the Washington area

RB ~ This must have taken a lot of local resources to gather and review “information and activities” on so many people

VL ~ Under both Projects, the CIA infiltrated agents into domestic groups of all types and activities. It used its contacts with local police departments and their intelligence units to pick up its “police skills” and began in earnest to pull off burglaries, illegal entries, use of explosives, criminal frame-ups, shared interrogations, and disinformation. CIA teams purchased sophisticated equipment for many starved police departments and in return got to see arrest records, suspect lists, and intelligence reports. Many large police departments, in conjunction with the CIA, carried out illegal, warrantless searches of private properties, to provide intelligence for a report requested by President Johnson and later entitled “Restless Youth.[1]

RB ~ How much information was gathered and wasn’t this illegal?

VL ~ During the life of Operation CHAOS, the CIA had compiled personality files on over 13,000 individuals including more than 7,000 U.S. citizens as well as files on over 1,000 domestic groups. The CIA had shared information on more than 300,000 persons with different law enforcement agencies including the DIA and FBI. It had spied on, burglarized, intimidated, misinformed, lied to, deceived, and carried out criminal acts against thousands of citizens of the United States. It had placed itself above the law, above the Constitution, and in contempt of international diplomacy and the United States Congress.

RB ~ How ominous did it become when you found the agency who had you spy on Americans was now

going after you by framing you for an airport bombing, chasing you to Canada to have you kidnapped and ultimately tracking you to Lima, Peru, bring you back for trial and sentencing you to 17 years in Leavenworth for that bombing? Yuri Totrov, former KGB counter intelligence officer says. “Verne Lyon’s story so shocked me that I hoped he would one day make it public.”

VL~   It was as if the weight of the world had fallen on my shoulders. I felt hopeless, betrayed, angry.

RB ~ “Eyes on Havana,” your revealing book, has the tag line “Memoir of an American Spy Betrayed by the CIA.” The title alone has a foreboding, gloomy aire about it. You talk about “the transformation of a young patriotic engineer…into the second class citizens I am today; a convicted felon who has survived fear, prosecution, and utter collapse of my dreams…” Are you able to realize at lease some of your dreams and goals?

VL~  I have become an accomplished pilot, although my aerospace engineering education was never used to its fullest, I did work as an engineer for a number of years.

RB ~ In your book you say “…Things went from bad to worse and pitted three government agencies against each other and against me in games of cat and mouse around the globe.”[1] From an agency you wanted to dedicate yourself to, this must have been a shock.

VL ~ My two-day trial, the jury’s brief deliberations and the judge’s stern sentence. Seventeen Years, I heard him say. You shall be remanded to a Federal Penitentiary for 17 years. My freedom, my youth my wife, my son all disappeared in those words.[1]

RB ~ Did your overseas positions add any different perspective to your overall view of national security – both foreign and domestic until your apprehension in Peru and return to the states?

VL~  Having traveled to over 100 countries, I much appreciate the views of peoples and cultures  abroad. To best understand the geo/political problems of the USA, you must travel overseas to understand how the rest of the world views us and why.

RB ~ Today we see such a pervasiveness of corruption in the higher levels of leadership. In the early days, was there more of a separation between national security and politics? The line seems very blurry these days.

VL~   The difference between the two was always blurred. Higher ups in the CIA helped write both foreign and domestic policy instead of just providing intelligence.

RB ~ It used to be we never thought of much except who’s playing Friday night at the high school, where’s lunch after church on Sundays, but now… it’s the gov’t in our face, the IRS after our records, the NSA storing emails and phone numbers and the CIA doing who knows what. Did this really need to get to the level it is with normal everyday patriotic Americans?

VL~  It is where it is due to the rapid, uncontrolled expansion of technology in communications, satellites, social media, news from every corner of the world within a few minutes, the internet, hacking, etc. Our society as well as most governments live in the NOW and want to respond at once to news, etc. After 911, we all gave up personal  freedoms for security and the Patriot Act which the government exploits to the max.

RB ~  People used to think that national security meant protecting us from foreign entities bent on our destruction. But then talk of special phone equipment rooms in San Francisco surfaced with connections to the government and that huge collection facility in Camp Williams, Utah came to light. People couldn’t believe their eyes. How were explanations handled internally about such domestic activities? Was it common knowledge that the government in general was now in the data collection/citizen surveillance business?

VL~   I think that Edward Snowden, now living in exile in Russia, showed us how pervasive the government is in gathering all kinds of intelligence on the average citizen.

Eris Snowden Freedom of the Press Foundation/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 4.0

RB ~  Was Snowden a traitor or a hero?

VL~  Borderline hero

RB ~ While surveilling citizens with ties to terrorists should warrant close examination, can’t John Doe and his parents be left alone in peace? (AKA James Rosen from FOX News?) Has the CIA become more involved in domestic activities?

VL~ The line dividing the domain between the FBI’s former exclusive powers to do domestic spying and the CIA’s mandate to handle everything beyond the borders has become so blurred that the NSA’s collection of date from both actually negates separation of powers.

RB ~ You said in a 1990 article in Covert Action Information Bulletin, “The CIA must be put in its place. Should we demand or allow anything less, we will remain vulnerable to these abuses and face the risk of decaying into a lawless state destined to self-destruction.” Are we seeing that thought in spades these days? Lyon

VL ~  We thought that the East German STASI was the embodiment of George Orwell’s 1984 but we have achieved that status here at home now.

RB ~ You’ve been quoted as saying “The CIA is a state sponsored terrorist association. You don’t look at people as human beings. They’re nothing but pieces on a chessboard.” Was this scary concept surprising to you as you worked more and more in the agency?

VL~   The Agency’s view of the world was divided into spheres of influence where, at times, operations pitted one country or area against others for our benefit. The effects on the ordinary people were ignored for the goal of the greater good.

RB ~ Average Americans think about this data collection and that domestic spying should be spending time, money and resources chasing bad guys in Yemen, Iran or Syria, not worrying about some conversation or email between a guy and his grandmother. Are there other hidden reasonings behind collecting so much private and inconsequential information about non-threats within the country? Maybe political?

VL~  Certainly politics always has a role in what type of intelligence is collected and from whom. With today’s technology that allows us and foreign nations to encrypt private communications, the race to stay ahead of the curve out weighs the concerns for people’s rights.

RB ~ Is the invasion of our privacy “rights” (and maybe I’m using the term loosely) growing out of control, or has the presence of Trump in the oval office stemmed the tide of intrusion into our lives?

VL~   Basically and simply – No

RB ~  For most of us, the Clinton’s have been on the highway of free rides since the 80’s, bypassing every legal stop sign and prosecution toll booth in their path as they speedily wind their way toward fame and riches – mostly infamous riches. Everything they touch seems to be laden with bi-chromatic fingerprint dust and the blood of innocents mixed with confusion. With the questionable death of Seth Rich and other DNC maneuvering, for whose benefit and for what purpose? Was Rich to receive the blame for the hacking but wanted to prove otherwise?

VL~ Investigation, NO enforcement

RB ~  Is the CIA capable of assisting or independently pursuing “political crimes” to bring about justice to those involved in all this current Clinton/DNC/State Dept./intelligence corruption, or should they be more an investigative, enforcement force against more traditional crimes? Or is there really a difference anymore?

VL~   Dem’s vs Republicans – too political.

RB ~ Is enough finally being done to investigate and dig into these email scandals and schemes? Seems like 2 intelligence groups would be more efficient given the foreign component of things.

VL ~  More open but still restrictive

RB ~ And as a follow up, are the lines of communication between the FBI, CIA and NSA now more open than before, or is interagency pride and elitism keeping them from working together efficiently?

VL~     It’s all politics

RB ~  Did you in your wildest intelligence dreams ever think that a major political party could invade the sanctity of our election process by creating false documents, use them to smear an opposition candidate before an election, then use them to assault the privacy of his closest confidants, using them to corrupt the privacy process of the FISA system, all while the long term goal of removing a duly elected president loomed in the back of their destructive playbook?

VL~  Since FISA courts (hearings) are held in secret, much like grand jury hearings, the prosecutor usually controls the hearing and the court will go along with the prosecution’s request 99% of the time so its use is always, in my view, political. The fact that the election process can be corrupted to the degree that it has been is just another example of politics over-ruling facts. Its sad to see its degradation to the point that politics has apparently removed all fairness to the process.

RB ~ Knowing you weren’t there then, but has John Brennan stepped over the line of reason? Is his lying and anti-patriotic, partisan views a change or was it always there, hidden from public view?

VL~ Political leanings always influence decision and actions

RB ~ Did the decision to become so outspoken come easy given your patriotism and seeing the need for truth, or was it a life changing moment with thoughts of reprisals and long term career and personal ramifications?

VL~ I needed to tell the truth

RB ~  With Alexis, Echo, TVs with cameras, home security Wi-Fi cameras, Google phones tracking our every move and refrigerators knowing what we buy  and how we shop, are we living totally exposed with our non-private lives open to become fodder for anyone willing to review, sell or track?

VL~  We allow this for the sole sake of convenience

RB ~ With so many problems and scandals related to political corruption, spying on citizens, immigration, local communities and states opting out of abiding by federal law….are we losing America?

VL~  Its already lost and there is no real way back.

RB ~ And with all the action and complications of a government intelligence / law enforcement position, what was that one fun, rewarding, passionate moment you remember from your whole career?

VL~      Understanding that the world is not our enemy we don’t need to invent enemies.

 

Our thanks to Verne for his time, his service to our country and thoughts, and to his co-author, Professor Phil Zwerling for their input into this book and this article.  This and my other “insider” articles go to the question of whether we can truly trust our own government and their real intentions in their attempt to protect us.

Whistleblowers exist for a reason… to spread the truth of what’s behind the curtain and alert us to wrongdoings that affect our lives, our futures.

This article is just the beginning. You’ll find a fascinating read on the intrigue of Verne’s CIA life and adventures in the US, Cuba and beyond in his book, “Eyes on Havana.” I can’t recommend enough its addition to your reading shelf. It’s an eye opening revelation of what lengths the government will go to destroying policies, laws and lives to get to their final nefarious objectives.

RB

Facts and opinions expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily those of the author or westernfreepress.com. Certain passages and quotes used with permission from his book,”Eyes on Havana -Memoir of an American Spy Betrayed by the CIA.”
[1] Eyes on Havana- Verne Lyon & Phil Zwerling, McFarland Publishing (January 12, 2018)