David MacMichael

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Person.png David MacMichael   Amazon C-SPAN IMDB SourcewatchRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(spook, whistleblower, detective)
David MacMichael.jpg
BornJune 6, 1926
Albany, New York State, USA
DiedMay 16, 2022 (Age 95)
Alma materUniversity of Oregon
Exposed • CIA
• US/Foreign policy
• “Iran-Contra”
• Contras
Member ofNational Security Whistleblowers Coalition, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
CIA whistleblower who went public with information that the Reagan Administration was planning a coup d’état against the Nicaraguan government.

David Charles MacMichael worked for the CIA, but resigned in July 1983 because he felt the Agency was misrepresenting intelligence for political reasons.[1][2] A ten-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, he was a counter-insurgency expert in South-East Asia for four years.[3] He was also an analyst for the National Intelligence Council from 1981-1983.

He exposed the 1984 US State Department's White Paper on Central America.[4]

Early life and education

MacMichael was born in Albany, New York in 1926. He graduated with an MA and Ph.D. in History from the University of Oregon.[5]


MacMichael was a contract analyst in the CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence. With clearance access two levels above Top Secret, his job was to go through all-source intelligence from the State Department, CIA officers working abroad, NSA intercepts, Defense Department reporting, and even the media, to find the truth about what was happening in Central America.[6]

MacMichael resigned from the CIA in July 1983 because he felt the Agency was misrepresenting intelligence for political reasons,[7] and went public with information that the Reagan Administration was planning a coup d’état against the Nicaraguan government of Daniel Ortega.[6]

His public resignation from the Agency gave credence and notability to his vocal indictment of the Reagan Administration's policy toward Central America.[8] He was considered the "key witness" in Nicaragua v. United States. The case was heard in 1986 before the International Court of Justice, which ruled that the United States had violated international law by supporting the Contras in their war against the Nicaraguan government and by mining Nicaragua's harbors. MacMichael also testified in front of Congress on this matter.[9]

A former investigator for the Christic Institute, he was an outspoken critic of the Institute's reliance on conspiracy theory, arguing that the Institute "was eager, perhaps overeager, to demonstrate that this enterprise was responsible for everything since Cain slaying Abel."[10] In July 2005, he testified at a special joint hearing of Congressional and Senate Democrats about the consequences of the Plame affair.

MacMichael was a founding member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS),[5] as well as its predecessor Association of National Security Alumni and the Association for Responsible Dissent,[11] and an outspoken critic of the Iraq War and the Bush Administration. He has participated in six documentary films from 1988-2003.[12] Journalist John Pilger has described him as a "CIA renegade."[13]

In August 2014 he was among the signatories of an open letter by the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity to German chancellor Angela Merkel in which they urged the Chancellor to be suspicious of U.S. intelligence regarding the alleged invasion of Russia in Eastern Ukraine.[14]

In September 2015 MacMichael and 27 other members of VIPS steering group wrote a letter to the President challenging a recently published book, that claimed to rebut the report of the United States Senate Intelligence Committee on the Central Intelligence Agency's use of torture.[15] MacMichael died on May 16, 2022, at his home in Front Royal, Virginia, at the age of 95.[5]


  • He wrote the forward to Ralph McGehee's Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA


Documents by David MacMichael

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)Description
Document:Ex-Intelligence Officers, Others See Plusses in WikiLeaks Disclosuresstatement7 December 2010WikileaksA statement of support for Wikileaks. "The big question is not whether Americans can 'handle the truth.' We believe they can..."
Document:US Intel officials say Syria NOT responsible for chemical attackmemo6 September 2013Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack


  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1985/09/08/americans-to-testify-against-us-in-nicaraguan-world-court-case/33a4de99-a528-4770-8fcf-55eb03211532/
  2. https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/document/cia-rdp89g00643r001000080007-1
  3. Jonathan Steele, "The CIA man who turned to the Nicaraguans / Profile of David MacMichael," The Guardian (9 January 1985).
  4. https://www.alternativeradio.org/collections/spk_david-macmichael
  5. a b c https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/01/us/politics/david-c-macmichael-dead.html
  6. a b https://covertactionmagazine.com/2022/06/13/cia-whistleblower-david-c-macmichael-who-helped-ignite-iran-contra-affair-dies-at-95/
  7. Philip Taubman, "In from the Cold and Hot for Truth," The New York Times (11 June 1984) p. B6.
  8. See Philip Taubman, "In from the Cold and Hot for Truth," The New York Times (11 June 1984) p. B6; "Moynihan: data lacking on Nicaragua arms traffic," The Christian Science Monitor (14 June 1984) p. 2; "Nicaragua, Pro and Contra" The New York Times (18 June 1984) p. A18; Joan Edwards, "Reagan's charges 'total untruths,' ex-CIA man says," The Globe and Mail (29 June 1984).
  9. Shirley Christian, "Nicaragua's American Lawyers Prepare Case," The New York Times (8 September 1985) p.23; Associated Press, "Ex-CIA Aide Testifies in The Hague," The New York Times (14 September 1985) p. 3.
  10. https://www.nytimes.com/1989/03/17/us/the-law-giving-law-teeth-and-using-them-on-lawyers.html
  11. "Ex-CIA spies set up group fighting to ban covert action" Toronto Star (27 November 1987) p. A3.
  12. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0533984/
  13. John Pilger, "Having a fun time in New Orleans: the latest recruits (sorry, 'alumni') of latter-day Reaganism," New Statesman (13 November 1998).
  14. The State Department Says Russia Is Invading Ukraine—Should We Believe It?, The Nation, September 2, 2014
  15. https://web.archive.org/web/20150928060211/http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2015/09/27/28-veterans-of-us-intelligence-fight-back-against-cia-claims-that-the-bush-torture-program-was-useful-and-necessary/
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