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Transcript of Melvin Goodman

Melvin Goodman directs the National Security Project at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for International Policy.

Published: September 22, 2015

Melvin Goodman directs the National Security Project at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for International Policy. From 1966 through 1986 he served as a senior analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He is the author of Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA (2008); National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism (2013); and the forthcoming The Path to Dissent: The Story of a CIA Whistleblower (2015).

Mike German, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, interviewed GOODMAN on October 15, 2014. The following is a transcript of that interview. The transcript has been edited for clarity and length. 

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Q:  Hi, my name is Mike German; I’m a Fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School and today I’m with Melvin Goodman. Mr. Goodman spent two decades as a Senior Analyst at the CIA and the State Department and taught at the National War College, and now is with Johns Hopkins University in the Center for International Policy. You spent a long career in intelligence and writing about intelligence, also the author of Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA. What is the appropriate purpose of an intelligence agency?

GOODMAN: Well, I think for the purpose, you have to go back to Harry Truman. He wanted a quiet intelligence agency, to be the place where intelligence was gathered, where it was collected, where it was distributed, but he didn’t want it part of the policy process. So when he went to the intelligence agency for a response to a key question that was policy-related, it wouldn’t be grinding a policy axe. It would be the intelligence with the bark on  telling a president what is the best assessment, given the fact that you’d never have a complete picture. But I think the emphasis is on a quiet intelligence agency because he later wrote an op-ed attacking what the CIA had become under Eisenhower and Kennedy, who pursued covert action.

Q: And you wrote in 2013, in National Insecurity – another book of yours – that the United States has one of the most secure geo-political environments of any major nation. And yet, our national defense and intelligence budgets outperform almost all other potential enemies or potential threats to the United States. What do you think drives that national insecurity, as you call it?

GOODMAN: Well, I think two key events: one was the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, when there should have been a genuine debate and discussion of what is national security policy and what should American grand strategy be. Not only did that not take place, but there was no attempt to really look at the military budget and the intelligence budget. But then with 9/11 – I think ever since 9/11 – we’ve been scaring ourselves to death and we do it with spending; we do it with so-called Homeland Security; we do it with militarization of policy and the creation of a national security state. So 9/11 was a key turning point, comparable to Pearl Harbor and the surprise attack.

Q: And give me an idea of the scope of the national security state; what are we talking about?

GOODMAN: When you’re talking about the national security state, you’re talking about the role of the military. It builds on what President Eisenhower warned about, in terms of the military industrial complex. But it’s the role of the military in intelligence, the intelligence czars who are general officers, who are flag officers, active duty or retired. It’s too many generals who are serving overseas as ambassadors. Its generals – such as Obama did appointing a retired marine general – to be the National Security Advisor. It’s putting a General Hayden or a General Petraeus in as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. So by militarization, to me it’s the influence of the Pentagon and too much reliance on the military, which I think President Obama knows has been wrong – he’s addressed it. But given the global situation, I think he’s limited in how he can address that. After all, the CIA has become a paramilitary organization.

Q: And you’d mentioned in your books that President Eisenhower was very skeptical of military intelligence and that’s why he relied on the CIA as a civilian intelligence agency; why would you be skeptical of military intelligence?

GOODMAN: Well, I think he knew that military intelligence was usually worst case analysis. He knew that from his military experience. And Tim Weiner wrote a book on the CIA called Legacy of Ashes, which was a misquote – Eisenhower said that but he wasn’t talking about the CIA, he was talking about military intelligence. And what the CIA was supposed to do was to provide intelligence that wasn’t necessarily worst case analysis which was designed in part to justify a large military budget and an extensive weapons acquisition budget.

Q: But President Eisenhower also empowered the CIA to become a military – or a paramilitary – organization engaged in secret wars, funding covert operations. What does that do to an intelligence agency and the production of intelligence?

GOODMAN: Well, what I don’t think is properly understood is when you get into covert action – and it was Eisenhower who took us in the direction of covert action in 1953 with the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Iran – covert action is policy. It is policy and support of the White House. All of the covert actions are directed – or endorsed or conceptualized – at the White House. And when you have intelligence that relates to covert action, it has a policy spin on it. So I think you have an insidious process where the collection is devoted to clandestine operations, and it has a policy orientation because of the role of covert actions. So already you’ve tainted the intelligence, which is why I think you have to separate intelligence and intelligence analysis from clandestine collection and covert action. There should be two separate agencies.

Q: And you’ve been critical of the politicization of intelligence. Is this what you mean by the politicization that’s involved in policy?

GOODMAN: Well, when I talk about politicization, I’m talking about the effort of an internal-directed politicization or an external-directed politicization. And that is putting a spin on the intelligence to have it support a particular policy. So when you look at the 1980s and the role that William Casey and Robert Gates played in trying to portray the Soviet Union as ten feet tall, even though they were in the process of collapse, in order to support an unprecedentedly large peace time defense budget by Ronald Reagan, you started to get a policy spin on the intelligence. And of course, the worst example is when you go to war, such as the Iraq War, the estimate that was done on Weapons of Mass Destruction which didn’t exist. And that was totally politicized intelligence, the kind of intelligence that Bush wanted and Vice President Cheney wanted. The CIA played a heavy role in helping to politicize that intelligence.

Q: And you also talk about a 1991 defense policy guidance that was written by Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby, that recommended a unilateralist US foreign policy. And you say that that reversed a bipartisan policy of moderation and multilateralism that had been in place since World War II. What was the effect of that document and how it’s changed our foreign policy?

GOODMAN: Well, the document itself was written in the Pentagon. And it was not only Dick Cheney, the Secretary of Defense, but it was some of the same characters who brought you the Iraq War in 2003– Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, Douglas Feith. And the emphasis was on the United States basically going alone, the United States never allowing another single actor – or a group of nations – to combine to be in an adversarial situation with regard to the United States. It even legitimized the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear powers which was a repudiation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty from 1969. Fortunately, General Scowcroft – who was the National Security Advisor – was opposed to the policy. And Senator Joe Biden and the Foreign Relations Committee, after it was leaked to the Los Angeles Times, put a lid on it. But these same characters came back into Washington with the Bush Administration in the year 2000. And this is really the key document – the key paper – to support neo-Conservative thinking which got us into Iraq and which destroyed arms control, and took us down the road of national missile defense and repudiating the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Tremendous harm was done to American national security policy with unilateral thinking, which was part of American Exceptionalism, part of American Triumphalism, part of the feeling that we won the Cold War and we’re never going to allow another Cold War to confront us again.

Q: And you mentioned the overthrow of a democratic country in Iran, and that obviously had some negative consequences that we’re actually still dealing with. Another one in Guatemala, you talk about quite a bit. And one of the things you’ve said in your book is that the number of murders in Guatemala actually rivals the number of murders happening in Iraq. So that kind of permanent unrest in these countries where the purpose of the CIA’s action was to protect our national security and to create stability, and yet that doesn’t seem to be the result.

GOODMAN: Well, one thing that to me isn’t properly understood, when you look at the immigration crisis in this country, you have to ask yourself, “How many people decided to leave Central America because of violence that the CIA was partially – or fully – responsible for?” So when you think of the key countries that are feeding immigrants into the United States – such as El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua – these are the countries where the CIA mounted major programs that involved acts of violence and assassination policy and working with some of the worst security units of these governments and these military regimes. And that has – to me – a direct result in leading to immigration to the United States.

Q: And yet, you write that the CIA would consider those operations successes from their paramilitary point of view…

GOODMAN: From a paramilitary point of view, the CIA has taken a lot of pride in those operations- just as they do in the Afghan Operation in the 1980s which helped to create terrorist groups such as Hekmatyar’s group, the Haqqani group. Members of Al-Qaida were formerly fighters with the Mujahedeen, and now they’re the toughest enemies that the United States confronts in Afghanistan. I don’t believe there has been a covert action that has been a strategic success, but there have been a string of strategic failures

Q: And recently we’ve had a coup in Egypt and the President of the Ukraine overthrown. I don’t have any information that the CIA was involved in those, but does that history of activity color the foreign policy options that we have?

GOODMAN: Well I believe that it does, because something I do know a good deal about was the early 1980s, and that was the revolutionary ferment in Poland. That was – solidarity – Solidarność – the Labor Union challenging a Communist government and the CIA was involved in Poland. They were running covert operations in support of solidarity and in support of Lech Walesa. And of course the Soviets knew that. So when you have a current Russian leader, particularly one such as Putin who spent his professional – most of his professional career in the KGB – he has a right to assume that the CIA was involved in the Ukraine. And I have to believe that there were probably programs dedicated to support the ferment and the opposition to the government. So our hands are not clean, by any means, in this operation. Putin is convinced that the United States is trying to weaken him and trying to manipulate the very sphere of influence that Putin is very sensitive about. So we – I think – we played a role in this crisis in Ukraine and Crimea. You can’t separate the fact the United States told the Soviet Union that if they got out of East Germany, we would not leapfrog over East Germany to go into Eastern Europe. And then five years later we begin to expand NATO, first under Bill Clinton with former members of the Warsaw Pact, and then under George Bush with former republics of the Soviet Union. That is what leapfrogging means! Particularly to someone such as Vladimir Putin.

Q: And you mentioned that Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have done a lot to militarize the intelligence process now.

GOODMAN: Well, part of that has been in the people they’ve appointed. If you look at the CIA directors we’ve had over the last twenty years, including people such as Porter Goss or George Tenet who came from the Hill, who were very weak directors. And of course it was George Tenet who said it would be “A slam dunk, Mr. President, to get the intelligence that you want.” Then you have two general officers – General Hayden, the same person who was at the National Security Agency and responsible for putting massive surveillance into play, an issue that never came up in the Congress when he was being confirmed as Director of the CIA – and General Petraeus. It was wrong to put someone in the CIA who had such strong policy convictions at the time. Petraeus was trying to politicize intelligence in the short tenure that he had as Director. So there were very weak appointments. Bill Clinton started off with Jim Woolsey to satisfy the right wing within the Democratic Party, which felt you needed a strong hawkish individual in one of the national security positions. And I don’t think Clinton knew much about the CIA – or even cared much about the CIA – and he didn’t know Woolsey. Woolsey was a disaster as CIA Director. And now you have the situation with Leon Panetta, who’s just written a controversial – at least it’s controversial to me – memoir, Worthy Fights. Well, Panetta didn’t engage with the worthy fights he was confronted with at the CIA. He was captured by the operational mentality from Day One. He had two operational failures in his first year and essentially he covered up both of them.

Q: And one of the things that I was struck by with the Obama Administration is that the leadership levels of a lot of these agencies – the FBI, CIA, the Department of Defense – it’s the same cast of characters; you know, it’s people who were prominent in the Bush Administration who remain prominent in the following Democratic Administration. Is there kind of like a revolving door? I mean, you can’t expect policy to change if the people are the same.

GOODMAN: No, I think that Obama’s problem was a lack of any background in national security – no background in foreign policy. And he looked at foreign policy as an extension of domestic policy. So at the Pentagon, he left Robert Gates in place because he didn’t want to make waves at the Pentagon. I think he was intimidated by the military. At the State Department, he wanted to co-opt the Clinton “corporation” so that’s why he appointed Hilary Clinton. But these decisions were motivated by domestic considerations; then he put a military man as the National Security Advisor, General James Jones – and that was a disaster that had to be corrected within eighteen months or so. And Leon Panetta was an extremely weak leader. So if you look at the National Security appointments, this was a very weak team. I think Obama replicated the problem that Bill Clinton created in 1993 when he also appointed a national security team that was quite weak. On the other hand, you had someone like George W. Bush who brought back – through this revolving door – essentially all of his father’s appointments because he didn’t really know anyone in Washington. This wasn’t a special interest of his. So he brought back the same characters who were far to the right of his father. And they had a lot to do with getting us into Iraq and then expanding a war in Afghanistan, that we should’ve left right after our initial success- which involved four hundred and fifty CIA officers and some special forces from the military, who overthrew the Taliban, and routed Al Qaida. We could’ve taken the keys to the country, given them back to the Afghans and said, “Here – it’s yours again! Decentralize it or do whatever you want with it but it’s your country – not ours!” And here we are thirteen years later.

Q: And you mentioned Sherman Kent and the fact that he said that CIA shouldn’t be part – CIA analysts – shouldn’t be part of the policy team yet, today’s intelligence agencies see themselves as serving the policy team.

GOODMAN: Well, this is the great battle that took place at the CIA, and it was starting when I arrived in the mid-1960s. And Sherman Kent was a very important individual to all of us. He was tough-minded; he was rigorous; he was analytical; he was totally objective and he wasn’t afraid of any fight. But the important thing is, “Don’t get politicized by the process!” Then, fifteen years later, William Casey comes in with a totally political agenda – he was Reagan’s campaign advisor and won some great campaign victories. He wanted to be the Secretary of State, that was out of the question but they gave him the CIA – he had a background in OSS. And essentially, he brought in Robert Gates to be his intelligence filter. And Gates’ approach was turning Sherman Kent on his head – “Don’t stick your finger in the eye of the policymaker; don’t irritate the policymaker; find out what the policy agenda is so you can respond to the agenda.” His idea was relevance was key. Sherman Kent didn’t care whether we were relevant or not – he wanted us to be right. That was extremely important to Sherman Kent. And when I was there in the '60s and '70s, that was what the battle was about – getting the intelligence right. With Bill Casey and Bob Gates it was about trying to politicize intelligence for the Reagan administration. Several of us tried to prevent the worsening of this politicization process, but finally I just threw my hands up and went to the National War College, realizing this was a fight I was never going to win.

Q: And one of the outcomes, or byproducts of the politicization you talk about is the embellishment, or exaggeration of the threat assessments. And just recently, we’ve seen leaders in the Intelligence Community going on Capitol Hill, saying the threat from the Islamic State is greater than anything the US has ever faced before. It sounds as if that’s still part of the problem.

GOODMAN: Well, that has been a problem from Day One. And I think we were lucky with Eisenhower in the '50s, because he knew an exaggerated threat assessment when he saw one. So the things that his neo-conservatives of the day – Allan Dulles at CIA; John Foster Dulles at State; his own Vice President – trying to push him into Vietnam or to respond to Hungary or to increase the defense budget – Eisenhower wouldn’t have any part of that. He didn’t believe the Bomber Gap or the Missile Gap – but he was correct about that. But what you’ve had over the years is a steady attempt to find a threat to justify what we do in military policy and intelligence policy. So it was international Communism as if China and the Soviet Union could be great allies. And then it became the Soviet Union itself. Then in the 1980s – under Casey and Gates – it became international terrorism. The Soviets tried to kill the Pope; the Soviets were responsible for all international terrorism; they were playing the international arena like a Wurlitzer organ – that was Bill Casey’s line. And frankly, now, if you pay attention to the hearings on the Hill, China is becoming that huge threat. And of course as you say, ISIS and the international arena in the Islamic World plays into that because of the instability and the great disarray that we see in the Middle East.

Q: But you also point out that the CIA support for revolutionary and counter-revolutionary violence also spreads violence and terrorism.

GOODMAN: Well, a lot of the violence we see is a response to the CIA use of extraordinary techniques – look at the secret prisons that were placed in countries such as Poland that should have avoided that kind of association, given their years in the Warsaw Pact. Working with the Soviet Union and participating in secret facilities at the command of the Soviet Union – here they are, running secret prisons, allowing the CIA to do so. The renditions policy of essentially kidnapping people and then if they don’t have important information, you turn them over to Third World secret services, including Syria. Syria was an ally in this until Assad became somewhat of an enemy. And then you have torture and abuse. And people talk about renditions policy but what about the erroneous renditions? What about people who were picked up who had nothing to do with any of these Islamic organizations? And there’s never been any accountability; Attorney General Eric Holder has not wanted to pursue any of this; Obama said very early on in his first year we want to look ahead, we don’t want to look back. And then in his memoir, Leon Panetta shockingly has nothing but good things to say about Jose Rodriguez, who was the Operations Officer who destroyed ninety-two hours of the torture tapes. This was obstruction of justice! This was torture that was begun before the Justice Department’s memos were even written, and then exceeded what the Justice Department memo said was going to be allowable. Even John Yoo, the co-author of the torture memoranda, acknowledged that the interrogation techniques described in the Senate torture report exceeded the limits set by the Department of Justice.

Q: Another problem that you point to that I think is a newer development – and correct me if I’m wrong – is the increasing privatization of intelligence. Actually 70% of the CIA budget goes to private contractors and they fill a lot of the seats that used to be filled by government agents.

GOODMAN: This is a national security problem – it’s the CIA, it’s military, it’s Homeland Security, it’s the Director of National Intelligence – the so-called Intelligence Czar. A lot of that money is going to contractors. So there’s no real accountability. There’s no real responsibility. I think there’s been a breakdown in responsibility in terms of what organizations have done, such as Blackwater, overseas. The private firm that conducted torture and abuse in CIA secret prisons earned more than 80 million dollars. And some of the horrors that they’ve committed that are still gradually working their way through the courts. But the contractors have allowed the CIA to get beyond oversight – their internal oversight – the Office of Inspector General, which Leon Panetta has really compromised – and then the external oversight, the role that the Senate Intelligence Committee should play. They don’t have enough oversight over these contractors and a lot of harm has taken place there.

Q: And speaking of the Congressional oversight, how would you rate their performance over the last fifteen years?

GOODMAN: Over the last fifteen years it’s been abysmal and I can say that in a bipartisan way. So whether you’re talking about Republicans such as Pat Roberts or Dianne Feinstein, until this recent episode with John Brennan over the torture memo, what the Senate Intelligence Committee has done is to make itself an advocate for the Intelligence Community.  John Brennan, when he was being confirmed as CIA Director, he even referred to the Committee as an ‘advocate for us’ and Dianne Feinstein thought this was a compliment! This is not what Frank Church had in mind when he created the Senate and House Intelligence Committees in the mid-1970s, and I think for the first fifteen years, up through, I would say, when David Boren was the Chairman in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. But when he committed himself to the confirmation of Robert Gates – even though Gates couldn’t be confirmed in 1987 because they assumed he was lying about Iran-Contra, which he was – that was the real turning point. So I would argue since 1991, we haven’t had that junkyard dog. And in a democracy, to have a secret society without oversight – which we didn’t have for the first thirty years – and now we have very weak oversight – this is a very dangerous development. The Intelligence Committee’s torture report marks a turning point in oversight, but it took the Committee far too long to inspect and investigate CIA’s program.

Q: And what we’ve also discovered – both through leaks from Edward Snowden and also just obviously false comments that intelligence officials will routinely make, comments that turn out to be false. How does that impair the public’s ability to get true information about both the threats that face us and whether the actions that the Government is taking are appropriate?

GOODMAN: Well, you’ve had two examples in just the last couple of years. You’ve had the so-called Intelligence Czar – General Clapper – lie to the Senate about massive surveillance. And then you’ve had the CIA Director, John Brennan, lie to the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee about whether or not the CIA was spying on the very agency that’s supposed to be conducting oversight – you know, who’s watching the guardians? It turns out the CIA thinks they should be guarding the guardians of this whole process. Those two individuals should’ve been fired, immediately. I don’t think Obama could risk challenges, basically, to the separation of powers, which is what John Brennan has done. So if you don’t have the credibility as a secret agency in a democratic society, you’re going to weaken your overall mission over a period of time and I think that’s what’s happened.

Q: And for the public to try to understand this enterprise, is there any avenue they have? You know, I mean obviously in a democracy we expect our elected leaders to be the eyes and ears on what the government’s doing but are they just completely shut out of the process now?

GOODMAN: Well, they don’t have to be. I do a lot of teaching and lecturing and my point has always been there are tremendous amounts of information out there. There are Congressional hearings; there are people such as James Bamford who’s written so well on the National Security Agency. Thomas Powers wrote a wonderful biography of Richard Helms that gives you an idea of the political role of a CIA director. Marc Danner at the New York Review of Books has written some interesting pieces. And I think the country, when they get to intelligence matters and the way intelligence is discussed by professionals, it’s like inside baseball. There’s a terminology and a language they don’t completely understand, they’re not familiar with it, so they tend to hold it at arm’s length. And I think that is dangerous. And Eisenhower warned about that, too, because he said when you get into an era of permanent war – which we’ve been in since 9/11 – you’re going to see compromises of civil liberties and civil rights. And that’s exactly what we’ve seen in this country.

Q: And there’s also a role for an investigative press; how would you rate their performance?

GOODMAN: Oh, the press has done a terrible role of monitoring. You have people who have become advocates for the CIA. David Ignatius of the Washington Post is a cheerleader for the CIA. Only a couple of papers take the intelligence beat seriously; the New York Times has some good people, particularly Mark MazzettiScott Shane has done some good work. James Risen has been outstanding, and you have Greg Miller at the Washington Post. But after those two papers, there’s very little attempt to try to understand the CIA and it’s a difficult beat. I talk to journalists from time to time and I try to give them an introduction of how you gather sources about the CIA, when you have a bureaucracy that is reluctant to speak, even when people go into retirement. Even though there’s a lot that can be said about the CIA without compromising sources and methods, I don’t think the press is rigorous enough and that should be part of oversight. That’s the job of a rigorous press. Which is why the First Amendment is the freedom of the press, and I think it’s being observed in the breach.

Q: And  it’s also coming under some pressure. We have a lot of whistleblowers – intelligence officials – who have come forward – or leaked information – who have come under investigation, even been charged with espionage. And journalists, actually, coming under investigation.

GOODMAN: Well, I think the outrageous case of Thomas Drake, who was charged on the Espionage Act which led the judge to throw all of the charges out of court and lecture the Government that this is not the Soviet Union, you can’t come into court with a case such as this. Thomas Drake was a whistleblower. He didn’t compromise any sensitive information.  And there’s a terrible double standard because Bob Woodward can write all of his books with high level sources, with compromising information, and no one raises an eyebrow over this! But then, when you have someone lower down in the pecking order reveal material that’s thought to be very sensitive, then you have a problem.

Q: And what Thomas Drake revealed was gross waste and abuse, that in a national security agency would seem to harm our ultimate security, and yet he’s still treated as if – literally – as if he’s an enemy of the…

GOODMAN: He was charged on the Espionage Act of 1917. And I think I read that Obama has charged more people under the Espionage Act than all of the presidents since 1917. Obama seems to lack trust in the American system, which I find ironic – he’s a Harvard-trained lawyer; he taught Constitutional Law. He’s been very hostile towards whistleblowers; he’s been very hostile towards the Office of the Inspector General. The State Department went years without an Inspector General. When an old colleague of mine, John Helgerson resigned in January of 2009, it was a year and a half before the White House named David Buckley, who’s really not up to the task. And that’s by design because the CIA and the White House do not want genuine inspections of transgressions. So the good work that the Office of the Inspector General did in the '80s and '90s that dealt with the intelligence failure which 9/11 was; the shootdown of a Peruvian missionary plane in a drug operation that went awry; and then the cover-up of the CIA’s role, the torture and abuse, the detentions policy – there was some excellent work done about the CIA. But it upset former directors such as Tenet. And then you get operational people who have very good links with journalists because they’ve met them overseas, and then pursue these relationships when they come home, you get the argument out there that the Inspector General was a threat to running a well-managed Central Intelligence Agency. So you weaken the whole process. You created the statutory IG in 1989 because of abuse, because of Iran-Contra.  Now we’ve lost that very important instrument of oversight.

Q: And  I think most people understand oversight is essential to effective performance. It’s not just to uncover abuse but if you know there’s nobody looking over your shoulder, you tend not to dot the I’s and cross the T’s as often as you would if you did know somebody was checking your work. And with a $70 billion intelligence budget you would think they would do a lot of self-analysis and review. Are they doing that kind of work to evaluate their programs?

GOODMAN: No. That’s what’s really been lost in the defensiveness you’ve got at the CIA. The CIA really since 9/11 has circled the wagons. They’re hostile toward the criticism and they don’t know how to deal with their critics. They tend to marginalize their critics. They have a double standard about who can publish. If you praise the CIA, you can pretty much write anything you want. Jose Rodriguez wrote a book that the CIA approved, that essentially denied that torture and abuse ever took place, which we know to be false. Even Leon Panetta has conceded that one. So that double standard hurts and the unwillingness of anyone on the Hill except for maybe a few key senators – Ron Wyden and Mark Udall have been very good. Merkley in New Mexico has been a welcome surprise. But generally, people don’t want to deal with the Central Intelligence Agency because they don’t see what can be gained politically or personally by getting involved in these issues. It takes a pretty rare bird to pursue these issues but they’re very important issues.

Q: You mentioned a number of works but what other written material would you suggest somebody who wants to learn more about these issues take a look at?

GOODMAN: Well, I think the new book – I’ve just ordered it, I haven’t seen it yet – the new book by James Risen, Pay Any Price. There’s an example of a courageous, investigative journalist who’s done some great work, who I think understands how we’ve scared ourselves to death in this country since 9/11. So Risen’s book is very important. And I know his name is controversial but Glenn Greenwald has done some excellent work. When you look at Edward Snowden revelations, the only reason why we know what we do about the intelligence budget is because of Edward Snowden. And granted, Edward Snowden is in a lot of trouble, I mean, laws were violated. He has virtually conceded that. But the laws that he has exposed are far more dangerous to my personal freedom and the freedom of this nation than the laws that he broke, in my estimation. So we have to look at the material that we now have, to take advantage of this. The website that Steven Aftergood runs at the Federation of American Scientists has some very useful information on it. And Congressional briefings from time to time. A lot can be learned. So there’s a lot of material out there. Mark Danner’s articles for the New York Review of Books have been outstanding. So it’s not a dearth of information. It’s there! Its people being energetic enough and rigorous enough to take advantage of that.

Q: And what would you recommend to reform this enterprise?

GOODMAN: Well, I think more oversight and genuine oversight is needed. The partisanship of the report is worrisome. The process clearly has to be demilitarized. This is the one thing Truman said. In fact, he wrote in an op-ed in 1963, when he came out with criticism of what Eisenhower and Kennedy had done to the Central Intelligence Agency that he, Truman, had created. He didn’t want the CIA to become another branch of the Pentagon. The CIA has become a paramilitary organization with the hiring of retired military people and contractors; the budget has gone out of control because of the military work that they’re involved in, so demilitarization has to take place and some decentralization of intelligence analysis. There needs to be more competition among intelligence analysts. You’re never going to get the whole truth – truth is an elusive substance in the intelligence world.  You’re going to get a mosaic; you’re going to have a lot of the stones and a lot of the stones are going to be missing. So competition I think, and even some redundancy, these are good things. These are necessary things. But we don’t have that now.

Q: Okay. Well, I really appreciate your being here.

GOODMAN: Thank you.