Ex-NSA Director, US Intelligence Veterans Write Open Letter To Merkel To Avoid All-Out Ukraine War

Tyler Durden's picture

Alarmed at the anti-Russian hysteria sweeping Washington, and the specter of a new Cold War, U.S. intelligence veterans one of whom is none other than William Binney, the former senior NSA crypto-mathematician who back in March 2012 blew the whistle on the NSA's spying programs more than a year before Edward Snowden, took the unusual step of sending the following memo dated August 30 to German Chancellor Merkel challenging the reliability of Ukrainian and U.S. media claims about a Russian "invasion."

Via AntiWar and ConsortiumNews, highlights ours

MEMORANDUM FOR: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Ukraine and NATO

We the undersigned are longtime veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5.

You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian "invasion" of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the "intelligence" seems to be of the same dubious, politically "fixed" kind used 12 years ago to "justify" the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicions of charges made by the US State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

President Barack Obama tried yesterday to cool the rhetoric of his own senior diplomats and the corporate media, when he publicly described recent activity in the Ukraine, as "a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now … it’s not really a shift."

Obama, however, has only tenuous control over the policymakers in his administration – who, sadly, lack much sense of history, know little of war, and substitute anti-Russian invective for a policy. One year ago, hawkish State Department officials and their friends in the media very nearly got Mr. Obama to launch a major attack on Syria based, once again, on "intelligence" that was dubious, at best.

Largely because of the growing prominence of, and apparent reliance on, intelligence we believe to be spurious, we think the possibility of hostilities escalating beyond the borders of Ukraine has increased significantly over the past several days. More important, we believe that this likelihood can be avoided, depending on the degree of judicious skepticism you and other European leaders bring to the NATO summit next week.

Experience With Untruth

Hopefully, your advisers have reminded you of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s checkered record for credibility. It appears to us that Rasmussen’s speeches continue to be drafted by Washington. This was abundantly clear on the day before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq when, as Danish Prime Minister, he told his Parliament: "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. This is not something we just believe. We know."

Photos can be worth a thousand words; they can also deceive. We have considerable experience collecting, analyzing, and reporting on all kinds of satellite and other imagery, as well as other kinds of intelligence. Suffice it to say that the images released by NATO on August 28 provide a very flimsy basis on which to charge Russia with invading Ukraine. Sadly, they bear a strong resemblance to the images shown by Colin Powell at the UN on February 5, 2003 that, likewise, proved nothing.

That same day, we warned President Bush that our former colleague analysts were "increasingly distressed at the politicization of intelligence" and told him flatly, "Powell’s presentation does not come close" to justifying war. We urged Mr. Bush to "widen the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic."

Consider Iraq today. Worse than catastrophic. Although President Vladimir Putin has until now showed considerable reserve on the conflict in the Ukraine, it behooves us to remember that Russia, too, can "shock and awe." In our view, if there is the slightest chance of that kind of thing eventually happening to Europe because of Ukraine, sober-minded leaders need to think this through very carefully.

If the photos that NATO and the US have released represent the best available "proof" of an invasion from Russia, our suspicions increase that a major effort is under way to fortify arguments for the NATO summit to approve actions that Russia is sure to regard as provocative. Caveat emptor is an expression with which you are no doubt familiar. Suffice it to add that one should be very cautious regarding what Mr. Rasmussen, or even Secretary of State John Kerry, are peddling.

We trust that your advisers have kept you informed regarding the crisis in Ukraine from the beginning of 2014, and how the possibility that Ukraine would become a member of NATO is anathema to the Kremlin. According to a February 1, 2008 cable (published by WikiLeaks) from the US embassy in Moscow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, US Ambassador William Burns was called in by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who explained Russia’s strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine.

Lavrov warned pointedly of "fears that the issue could potentially split the country in two, leading to violence or even, some claim, civil war, which would force Russia to decide whether to intervene." Burns gave his cable the unusual title, "NYET MEANS NYET: RUSSIA’S NATO ENLARGEMENT REDLINES," and sent it off to Washington with IMMEDIATE precedence. Two months later, at their summit in Bucharest NATO leaders issued a formal declaration that "Georgia and Ukraine will be in NATO."

Just yesterday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk used his Facebook page to claim that, with the approval of Parliament that he has requested, the path to NATO membership is open. Yatsenyuk, of course, was Washington’s favorite pick to become prime minister after the February 22 coup d’etat in Kiev. "Yats is the guy," said Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland a few weeks before the coup, in an intercepted telephone conversation with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. You may recall that this is the same conversation in which Nuland said, "Fuck the EU."

Timing of the Russian "Invasion"

The conventional wisdom promoted by Kiev just a few weeks ago was that Ukrainian forces had the upper hand in fighting the anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine, in what was largely portrayed as a mop-up operation. But that picture of the offensive originated almost solely from official government sources in Kiev. There were very few reports coming from the ground in southeastern Ukraine. There was one, however, quoting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, that raised doubt about the reliability of the government’s portrayal.

According to the "press service of the President of Ukraine" on August 18, Poroshenko called for a "regrouping of Ukrainian military units involved in the operation of power in the East of the country. … Today we need to do the rearrangement of forces that will defend our territory and continued army offensives," said Poroshenko, adding, "we need to consider a new military operation in the new circumstances."

If the "new circumstances" meant successful advances by Ukrainian government forces, why would it be necessary to "regroup," to "rearrange" the forces? At about this time, sources on the ground began to report a string of successful attacks by the anti-coup federalists against government forces. According to these sources, it was the government army that was starting to take heavy casualties and lose ground, largely because of ineptitude and poor leadership.

Ten days later, as they became encircled and/or retreated, a ready-made excuse for this was to be found in the "Russian invasion." That is precisely when the fuzzy photos were released by NATO and reporters like the New York Times’ Michael Gordon were set loose to spread the word that "the Russians are coming." (Michael Gordon was one of the most egregious propagandists promoting the war on Iraq.)

No Invasion – But Plenty Other Russian Support

The anti-coup federalists in southeastern Ukraine enjoy considerable local support, partly as a result of government artillery strikes on major population centers. And we believe that Russian support probably has been pouring across the border and includes, significantly, excellent battlefield intelligence. But it is far from clear that this support includes tanks and artillery at this point – mostly because the federalists have been better led and surprisingly successful in pinning down government forces.

At the same time, we have little doubt that, if and when the federalists need them, the Russian tanks will come.

This is precisely why the situation demands a concerted effort for a ceasefire, which you know Kiev has so far been delaying. What is to be done at this point? In our view, Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk need to be told flat-out that membership in NATO is not in the cards – and that NATO has no intention of waging a proxy war with Russia – and especially not in support of the ragtag army of Ukraine. Other members of NATO need to be told the same thing.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

  •     William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)
  •     David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
  •     Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)
  •     Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East (ret.)
  •     Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (Ret.)
  •     Coleen Rowley, Division Counsel & Special Agent, FBI (ret.)
  •     Ann Wright, Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned)

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cifo's picture

These guys (and girls) have big balls indeed.

saratogaprepper's picture

I'd stay away from nailguns if I were them.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Told ya the Armed Forces told TPTB "Go fuck yourselves, we're not fighting Russia."

sunaJ's picture

How un-patriotic of them!  Sadly, you don't have to be an ex- or current NSA employee to see it.  All it takes is a reasonable person to pay attention (I know, this is the problem) to the web of disinfo and it is obviously a shit show.  As far as I can tell, here is where we are:


The Western political regime has been failing for a long time, and has maintained a constant "crisis-mode" in order to keep the facade up and the dissent down. 

The financial fraud has long since engulfed the entire economic system of the west, to where now virtually every market is dominated by these fraudsters.

To placate the inattentive masses, the narratives (political, social and economic) must become more and more bizzare in order to maintain the look of "sanity."

The corporate press are so desperate to maintain the failed narratives and faux polarities that little or no truth is revealed by the former 4th estate.

Because of the ongoing narrative, people die every day - through murder, hardship and suicide - so that a few can benefit from this failed society.

The most powerful and technologically advanced military in the world is still serving this failed regime.


If you try to find reason or good social conscience in any of it, it will do nothing but make you mentally ill, because all it is there to do is to hide the truth and to cover the tracks of traitor elites that will destroy everyone rather than relinquish power.   All of these tools and centralized powers will soon be turned upon Americans in true and all-out snake-eats-tail fashion. 


Since I have let go of the otherwise meaningless narratives peddled on MSM and by gov talking heads, I really do see where much of it all fits together.  What I'm saying is, there is much less cognitive dissonance when you realize that your society actually is caving in on itself.   The best thing I can suggest if and when you come to these conclusions is to set long-term constructive goals that assume the above is true.  Don't panic.  Make goals.  Here are some I came up with:

-become as self-reliant as possible, and as little reliant upon the gov as possible.

-without evangelizing it, always be prepared to help your loved ones understand it.

-have an emergency action plan (or plans) to cover a variety of contingencies.

-teach yourself as many skills and trades that would be important in a post-financial collapse world.

-network with your neighbors (face-to-face, not on FB, ffs).

-stay in shape.

-don't wallow in the sadness of a society that is destroying itself, or you will reflect it in one way or another (substance abuse, depression, etc).


Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Yep, exercise.  I am involved in coaching the youngsters (soccer), and its important for me that they LOVE physical exercise.

Chupacabra-322's picture

Modern day Hero's. the Pressititue media will not utter a word of it.

TeamDepends's picture

Good thing no one pays attention to them anymore. They are sinking like a stone.

nope-1004's picture

Sanity, finally.  I guess if anyone normal is given airtime, or allowed to have their views published, then basically anything of common sense is seen as sane against the current Banker Cabal trying to protect a dead petro-currency with their insane acts of agression, false flags, empty threats, and money market manipulation.


Bananamerican's picture

CIA, you done fucked up...
You accidentally hired some people of intelligence AND principle

Stuart's picture

ZeroHedge needs to keep this post on top of main page for many days.  It's important enough to do so... to spread this POV.

Drunk In Church's picture

I'm not sure what to do with Russia.  But I trust Obama's wisdom completely.  He's my favorite dictator.

jeff montanye's picture

at first read this link seems incredible but it seems to connect the dots with a minimum of fuss.


GetZeeGold's picture



I trust Obama's wisdom completely.  He's my favorite dictator.


Winner of the John Boehner/John McCain award for complicity.

Occident Mortal's picture

Foreign policy in Washington has been a complete shambles for a decade now. Perhaps longer but the last 10 years have been just attrocious.


There is no strategy, no long term goal and no planning. It is clear as day to everyone. What doctrine are they following? PIVOTING towards 8,000 miles of open water?

You don't have to be Vladimir Putin to spot that US foreign policy has collapsed into some kind of strategic infancy.


Trying to spark a war with the Kremlin on Asian soil is nothing short of absolute suicide. Not even the entire world combined could defeat Russia in war. Just like the entire world combined could not defeat the US or China, or India you cannot defeat an indigenous population on their home turf, it's impossible to hold the ground. All that can be achieved with war is to assassinate a regime. Unless you follow Adolf Hitler down the road of genocide it is impossible to defeat any population of 100 million people.


The USA failed to convincingly defeat the Viet Cong and failed to bring change to Iraq. What do they think will happen when that go toe to toe with Russian military prowess and all the strategic and tactical sophistication that the Russians repeatedly show. Fire and Brimstone would rain down on North America from the Arctic Circle.


A hot war with Russia would yield nothing. Even if the West assassinated Putin, it is likely that an even more radical anti-West hardman would take his place.


If you're going to start a war, don't go after a strategically astute country who command a third of the worlds resources. With slavery abolshied, what can war actually achieve? In this day and age you cannot subjugate the defeated population. There are no spoils, only blowback.



g speed's picture

except if you're a tribe inside a country --

be very afraid of nukes going off in Russia ala 9/11 alse flag style-- courtesy of your frendly neighborhood Dual citizenship fifth column (collum)

omniversling's picture

The unstrategy main course is going very well thanks, with chaos theory for dessert. Ordo ab Chao with cigars for afters. At the table of Tabula Rasa, with the NuHistory pre-written in predictive programming, including Revelations, by those who are 'specially chosen to inherit the Earth'. Russia, like Serbia and Greece, are Orthdox, and therefore their traditions must also be destroyed.

Ziology: [Herzlese zio-, zio- + Greek -logi, -logy.] 1. The science of death on 'unchosen' living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, and distribution. It includes botany and zoology and all their subdivisions. 2. The death processes or characteristic phenomena of a group or category of living organisms: the biology of viruses. 3. The surplanting of plant and animal life of a specific area or region.

When was the word/concept of Zion first used? From the Herzl Museum portal (I suppose it's authentic or would have been shot down):

The origin of the word Zionism is, of course, the word Zion. That word, in itself, is one of the stranger words in the Hebrew language, meaning at one and the same time, both a place and an idea. Even the place identified as Zion has changed with time. Originally identified with a Jebusite (Canaanite) citadel, conquered by David and first mentioned in our sources, in that context, the place of Zion shifted substantially with time. Always it meant part of Jerusalem, but which precise part changed to include different parts of the city in different periods. At some times it was used to refer to the whole city.


This is an incredibly informative website, and very highly recommended. Good to know who is a mortal threat to all I hold dear. 

"By thine own hand shall ye be judged"

nmewn's picture

"Um, errr ahhh, anyone seen my strategy round here?" - Obama

"I stuck it in the Comprehensive-Ominibus Package to Keep the Government Open Bill." - Boehner

"Thanks! No wonder I couldn't find it!" - Obama

GetZeeGold's picture



We're gonna bomb ISIS in Iraq....and arm ISIS in Syria.


Hopefully they won't get together and compare notes.

CheapBastard's picture

This means War!


Based on:

1) 89% of Merikans are against war in the Ukraine;

2) slim, spurious, suspicious, spacious evidence of Russian invasion; and,

3) strong economic, "Summa of Rekovery."

El Vaquero's picture

Oddly enough, this gives me some hope for the past.  It shows that, at one point, there were players who stood for some of the things that myself and many others felt were good about this country. 

COSMOS's picture

Bankers and the IMF make money from wars and the misery of people.  All so that the select few can have their seaside villas with open concept kitchens and granite countertops, while the common folk get a granite marker for their graves if they are lucky.

DavidC's picture

Drunk In Church,
I don't why you got down ticked so many times! Hilarious!


TheReplacement's picture

Can we trade this one and get the goat dude back?

QQQBall's picture

Will they all be moving to Russia via Hong Kong?

Keyser's picture

Perhaps you should look up the definition of treason as you seem to be confused... No wonder with the indoctrination you Merkans go through since birth... 

Anusocracy's picture

I certainly hope Russia cheated on all its arms control treaties.

Judging by all the pathological liars here, I'm sure the US has.

El Vaquero's picture

But probably only where they think it counts.  I wouldn't be surprised if we stuck to all of the various START treaties, because we could still annhilate the world while adhearing to them.  OTOH, Russia has made many of its newer ICBMs and SLBMs such that they could be made to violate those treaties in a hurry while not actually deploying them in a way that violates them, or so we're told.  They've built them with the potential to MIRV the fuck out of them, while not actually deploying them with more warheads than the treaties allow. 


Speaking of, since ZH is doing a lot of geopolitics these days, it might be worth it for the Tylers to compile all that exists in the public domain on Russia's current nuclear arsenal.  Such a compilation wouldn't be 100% accurate, but as with all things involving nuclear warheads, close is good enough.

BraveSirRobin's picture

Sorry, but which one is "Ex-NSA" director? They all look to be a bunch of pretty junior guys to me, and some have been out of the loop for decades. 

This link takes you to a link of all former, that is "Ex" directors of the NSA: https://www.nsa.gov/about/leadership/former_directors.shtml

All directors of the NSA have held three star general officer or flag officer rank. None of the guys on this letter came close. The head line to this article is, in fact, false. 

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Nice attempt at subterfuge via conflation, Brave Sir Robin.

"William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA"

Perhaps you should try a different logical fallacy. Maybe you'll have better luck.

TheReplacement's picture

The top dog at the NSA is called the Director of.  The headline is misleading.  We are on the same side here but facts are facts.

UGrev's picture

Well technically he is "A" director. Perhaps not "THE" director, but the article title doesn't specifcy that which is ambiguously assumed by people reading it. Semantics aside, who cares.. this letter has the potential to be a thorn at worst; at best, a spear in the side of this administration. 

Flagit's picture

Who exactly is he writing the letter for?

Merkle knows whats up, and has since the beginning. Its not like she will look up from the letter and say "Holy Shit!".

StupidEarthlings's picture


Nothing gets out unless they want it too. Its a letter for the little people to chew on..to make sure we have "enemy's of the state" that will be rallied up and taken away.


Seems suspicious to me. .but maybe im just paranoid. 

g speed's picture

Its so people know she knows--

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Ding ding ding. We got a winner. It is not like any of these people really want to solve problems or doing anything new besides the usual modus operandi at the end of the day. It is just about taking away their cover for their actions after everything goes bad.


acetinker's picture

And this means what, exactly?  Niether your greenie nor your junk, but do you expect that the leaders of these esteemed organizations are not asshole deep in the obfuscation of the actual goals of said organizations?

Headlines be damned!  Whatever it takes to get eyeballs on even a glimmer of truth is a worthwhile effort.

BraveSirRobin's picture

You truly are a moron. 

"Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA" is not the director of the NSA, who have always been 3 star general and flag officers of the US military.

William Binney was essentially the guy who developed and administered computer networks for a directorate in the NSA. He was never Senior Executive Service. I think the highest paygrade he achieved was GS-14, which is small potatos in DC. He never ran any directorate, division or branch within NSA. He has not been in the loop at NSA for 13 years, and really has no clue what he is talking about at this point. No one disconeected from an organization for 13 years, especially one as compartmentalized and secretative as the NSA, possible could. 

Again, the headline of the article is blatantly factually incorrect, and so the rest of the article's contents should be treated with great suspicion. 

I am not a friend of the NSA. I think their spying on US citizens without warrant is uncontitutional and people there need to be fired and/or sent to jail, starting with Clapper who lied to congress. But facts are facts, and you do your cause no service by just making shit up.

caustixoid's picture

your question: "but which one is "Ex-NSA" director?"

your answer: "I think the highest paygrade he achieved was GS-14...he has not been in the loop at NSA for 13 years".

The gentleman knows more than he lets on methinks

acetinker's picture

This is no gentleman, caustix.

long-shorty's picture

BraveSirRobin is a statist whore! Or else just a dude who can use Google to search the web and find readily available facts. Either way, we'd better burn him at the stake just to be sure!

g speed's picture

prima facie evidence suggests he is the worst sort--by all means burn him--

acetinker's picture

Prima facie evidence suggests we should burn you as well. As you hoist your petard, know that there are lots of fuckers like me, and we're all over this world.  You smug fuckers think you own the world?  Think again.  Your days are numbered in tens, not thousands.

UGrev's picture

Credit where credit is due: 


Binney was a Russia specialist and worked in the operations side of intelligence, starting as an analyst and ending as Technical Director prior to becoming a geopolitical world Technical Director. In the 1990s, -Wikipedia

BraveSirRobin's picture

Oh, BTW, his last job at NSA was as "Technical Lead," which looks to me like a demotion. My take is he is disgruntled. Perhaps it is because he did not like what he saw there and tried to stop it, but he resigned one month after 9/11, before the NSA started all this domestic spying crap. In the end, it may not really matter what his motives are, but you do have to take everything he claims with a grain of salt and try to verify all. His self-puffery does not lend him credence, however. Having said that, trust no one, and do not swallow anyone's tripe just because of a personal inclination or bias, and facts really are facts. Ignore them at your own peril.

TeethVillage88s's picture


I guess you are a Patriarch and we should believe you and whatever political or interest groups you are exposed to??

So, you didn't see his videos. You don't know his public story. You have no links to share in what he said or his interviews? What you didn't work professionally and were expected to be specific, use logic, reference philosophy?

- The very fact that they didn't prosecute him for the things he was saying seems 51% in his advantage that he is a smart guy that outsmarted the Federal Government, DOJ, and the FBI.

But maybe that is too specific for you since it draws readers to look for videos and to read documents(dangerous).