• Government Watch Lists, Ray McGovern and Post-Constitutional America

    February 24, 2014

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Embassy/State, Post-Constitution America

    The Passion of Ray McGovern

    Ray McGovern is a hell of a guy. An Army veteran, he worked for the CIA from the Kennedy administration up through the first Bush presidency, preparing the president’s daily intel brief and other important stuff. Along the way, McGovern began to see the fraud and evil of much of the government’s work, and has since become an outspoken critic of the intelligence world and an advocate for free speech. He speaks on behalf of people like Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

    McGovern is also a very nice person, soft-spoken, serious, kinda looks like your uncle playing Santa Claus, full of fascinating Cold War history. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Ray. He’s the kind of guy you meet and like almost immediately. I bet he was a hell of a spy.

    A Wanted Man

    Ray McGovern is also on the State Department’s BOLO list– Be On the Look Out– one of a series of government watch lists.

    The old-timey wanted poster State’s Diplomatic Security printed up cites McGovern’s “considerable amount of political activism” and “significant notoriety in the national media” as if those points were somehow relevant to his inclusion on the watch list. Though McGovern is a thin man, age 75 with no history of violence, Diplomatic Security warns that its agents should USE CAUTION (their emphasis) when stopping McGovern and conducting the required “field interview.”

    A Dangerous Man

    What did McGovern do to end up on Diplomatic Security’s dangerous persons list? His offense was to turn his back on Hillary Clinton, literally.

    In 2011, at George Washington University during a public event where Clinton was speaking, McGovern stood up and turned his back to the stage. He did not say a word, or otherwise disrupt anything. University cops grabbed McGovern in a headlock and by his arms and dragged him out of the auditorium by force, their actions directed by a from the side by a third man whose name was redacted from public records of the event. Photos of the then-71 year old man taken at the time of his arrest show the multiple bruises and contusions he suffered while being arrested. He was secured to a metal chair with two sets of handcuffs. McGovern was at first refused medical care for the bleeding caused by the handcuffs. It is easy to invoke the words thug, bully, goon.

    The charges of disorderly conduct were dropped, McGovern was released and it was determined that he committed no crime.

    And one more thing: the speech Clinton was making at the time of McGovern’s protest and arrest? She was condemning authoritarian governments who repress dissenters and internet freedom. As McGovern was being dragged out, Clinton stated that “The government does not want the world to watch,” in reference to Egypt, not her America as unfolding before her eyes. Clinton did not acknowledge the arrest, never broke character as it happened.

    An Enemy of the State

    In old-timey America, that might have been the end of McGovern’s troubles. However, in our post-Constitutional America, it was only the beginning.

    Despite all charges having been dropped against McGovern and despite having determined that he engaged in no criminal activity, the Department of State then opened an investigation into McGovern, including his political beliefs, activities, statements and associations. The investigative report noted “McGovern does
    seem to have the capacity to capture a national audience – it is possible his former career with the CIA has the potential to make him ‘attractive’ to the media.” The investigation ran nearly seven months, and resulted in the Be On The Lookout Alert.

    Subjects of such alerts are considered potential threats to the Secretary of State. Their whereabouts are typically tracked to see if they will be in proximity of the Secretary. If Diplomatic Security sees one of the subjects nearby, they detain and question them. Other government agencies and local police are always notified. The alert essentially constitutes a standing directive by Diplomatic Security that the subject be stopped and seized in the absence of reasonable suspicion or probable cause that he is committing an offense. Stop him for being him. It is easy to see how these directives slash across the Fourth Amendment’s prohibitions against unwarranted search and seizure.

    Subjects are also not allowed inside any State Department facility, including embassies and consulates abroad where typical Americans are by treaty allowed to seek refuge and protection. But not for Ray McGovern.

    McGovern v. John Kerry

    As we’ve said, McGovern is no typical guy. On February 15 he filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State John Kerry and his State Department, as well as George Washington University where the arrest took place, claiming his First Amendment rights were violated by unlawful police misconduct in retaliation for his act of protest. He also is suing over violation of his Fourth Amendment rights due to excessive use of force and his wrongful arrest. McGovern seeks injunctive relief prohibiting the State Department from directing law enforcement stop and question him on sight.

    We’ll keep track of the lawsuit and report on its progress.

    Why I Know So Much about BOLO Alerts

    Information reluctantly made available to me as the State Department sought to persecute, prosecute and /or fire me for my whistleblowing book, We Meant Well, showed that I too was and may still be subject to a Diplomatic Security alert.

    After a blog post I wrote in 2011 that was deemed insulting to then-Secretary of State Clinton, and after over two decades of public service, my State Department access card was impounded, I was marched out of the building and I was given a letter stating I was prohibited from entering any State Department facility, domestic or abroad. When a bit of necessary bureaucratic business came up a week or two later, I was told that I could only enter the State Department building as far as the public lobby, where I would be met by the appropriate Human Resources person in the presence of security personnel.

    State later was forced to reveal that not only was I placed on its own Diplomatic Security watch list, but also on the Secret Service’s watch list, as they share responsibility for Clinton’s security as a former First Lady. McGovern may want to check on that.

    My lawyers sought to have State remove me from the lists. State refused to confirm or deny my continued presence on the lists. State did not respond to my several requests for this information under the Freedom of Information Act.

    Post-Constitutional America

    Diplomatic Security knew of course I was no threat to anyone. I’m a fat old guy, short, and had a clean track record inside the Department since the 1980′s. Same for Ray McGovern; the cops that mistreated and arrested him for standing silently knew damn well he was neither disrupting anything nor a threat. They knew exactly what the First and Fourth Amendments said.

    And they didn’t care.

    This is what post-Constitutional America is about. The government, from major issues such as extrajudicial drone killings down to the pettiness which preoccupies the bullies in places like Diplomatic Security, no longer cares whether its actions are legal, and no longer cares if everyone knows it.

    From the Founders forward, government has always done illegal things, naughty things, things that it knew were likely unconstitutional. What is new is that the acts have scaled up significantly, moving from analog to digital, and that the government is so sure that neither the courts nor the People will object that they no longer even go through the motions of hiding what they do.

    Remember, both the Stasi and the Nazis did what they did quite openly, and kept excellent records.

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    Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

  • Recent Comments

    • wemeantwell said...



      02/24/14 6:03 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      The NSA is reading you loud and clear.

      02/24/14 6:21 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      McGovern? Didn’t he run for president a long time ago?

      Speaking of presi-dense, IF Hillary runs in 2016, we should all turn our backs on her.

      02/24/14 6:22 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      test-Dear NSA eat me.

      02/24/14 8:29 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      “The old-timey wanted poster State’s Diplomatic Security printed up…”

      WTF kind of King George 111 bullshit is THAT????????

      This is unbelievable. Is there a Federal STATUTE that allows this unmitigated gall???? To BRAND someone in this way and to be put on a “list”, when one hasn’t been convicted of a crime is beyond comprehension. I’m now fully convinced that these psychopathic bureaucrats have stepped over a legal line. The Gestapo’s got nothing up on these deviant tyrants. Somehow, they’ve got to be stopped.

      02/24/14 8:40 PM | Comment Link

    • draftmama said...


      Mike Lofgren’s recent interview with Bill Moyers and with Brian Lamb on C-SPAN discussing his book The Party is Over, is must watch, and the book is must read. We are so screwed.

      02/24/14 10:22 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      One other thing. During my younger indoctrination to the reality of USG affairs, I began to see how “personal” vindictiveness of politicians and civil “servants” in seats of power, used their positions under color of law and administrative power, to punish those who would dare expose any machinations, malfeasance, collusion, graft, corruption etc etc etc, as Peter well knows. This is precisely why I am here, because Peter put his life, reputation and future on the line in no uncertain terms to continue the fight against this truly insidious feature of those who wield power and influence in government.

      Peter..you are a true patriot and bearer of truth and justice. May you reap the rewards of liberty’s historical bounty.

      Oh, and maybe I can buy you a cold beer some day too.

      02/25/14 12:52 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      “Speaking of presi-dense, IF Hillary runs in 2016, we should all turn our backs on her.”

      OMG. Wouldn’t that be marvelous, if a WHOLE audience to a presi-dense speech..stood and turned their backs. I think that’s a great IDEA for a protest T-shirt. TURN YOUR BACK-2016!!

      02/25/14 12:57 AM | Comment Link

    • Hillary Clinton’s Strongarm Tactics : NO QUARTER USA NET said...


      [...] want to be outraged? Please read the following from Peter Van Buren. Ray’s travails continue. The Passion of Ray McGovern by Peter Van [...]

      02/25/14 12:59 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      “Hillary Clinton’s Strongarm Tactics : NO QUARTER USA NET said…”

      Notwithstanding who you are..how did you make a link out of that? pretty cool.

      In the meantime..Peter, this is exactly why I contacted you today….


      These fuckers are insane ..and dangerous.

      02/25/14 1:45 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      One last thought for tonight.

      Thank you Ray McGovern for your courage.

      02/25/14 1:56 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      What’s just as disturbing is the reaction, or non-reaction, by the sheep in the GW audience when am Anerican, both a vet and a senior citizen, is arrested for basically – wearing a Veterans for Peace shirt and standing quietly. These are the people who going to populate the offices of our government??

      That’s up there with the arrest and tackling of another senior citizen at a California town council meeting – only because she went past the 5 minute-alloted time from for speaking at the council meeting. Her arrest was thrown out

      Apparently, Al Qaeda has met their match — American’s seniors. Who says questions or tee shirts are not dangerous? Are these not subversive?? Do our politicos not have every right to cower behind their desks and produce Bolo lists? Never mind that a book’s author is put on a Bolo list because it concerns waste and mismanagement on Iraq — which coincidentally — echo central themes in a presidential election that were a reason for bringing to office people who propagate Bolo lists.

      If Mrs Clinton should be elected, it’s going to be both a very long and short four years if her team fail to learn a lesson and diminish the huge gulf between eloquent, ironic speech-making and real-world disparities in not-so-best practices. Do they want to propagate and emulate the practices of neo-cons?

      If any politician of any party can’t respect the Constitution, including the First Amendment, no way are they getting my vote

      “You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again.”

      Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

      02/25/14 11:59 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Would a real law enforcement agency embarrass itself like the DS Flying Monkeys? You almost have to feel sorry for the pinheads in DS who created that poster of Enemy of State McGovern. DS motto: Where “intelligence can’t keep up with technology.”

      02/25/14 1:56 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      “But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again.”

      Especially when he permanently leaves the country of those who have robbed him of everything, and changes his citizenship, as I have done.

      Come here and try to fuck with me, DS and FBI! I have no criminal record and you have no authority in my country. Meanwhile:


      02/25/14 2:43 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...



      Hahahahahahaahahaaha! OMG. Yes, we have a First Amendment..sort of.

      02/25/14 3:11 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      “Come here and try to fuck with me, DS and FBI! I have no criminal record and you have no authority in my country. Meanwhile:”

      Yes..meanwhile… they droned 16-year-old American citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.

      02/25/14 3:15 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      My friend Pitch wrote:

      “Yes..meanwhile… they droned 16-year-old American citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.”

      So they can go ahead and drone me too. I’m not afraid. One of the peculiar things about being a hard core believer in the Catholic Church, is that it liberates you from giving a flying f-ck about what any powers of this world do! HAHA!

      Cf: http://en.gloria.tv/?media=171459

      02/25/14 4:13 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      my friend melov says:

      “..it liberates you from giving a flying f-ck about what any powers of this world do! HAHA!”



      02/25/14 5:55 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      melove..you never cease to amaze me.

      02/25/14 5:55 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...


      I’m not sure what is more awful: that these things are happening in the US or that so few people seem to notice.

      The year after McGovern was arrested for merely turning his back on Her Majesty (and just watch the pinheads elect Hillary in ’16, as though having a few “royal” families having the “right” to inherit the throne is democracy and not creating an unhealthy monarchy in this country), a presidential candidate (Jill Stein, Green Party) and her running mate were arrested for daring to protest their exclusion from the debates. They were zip-tied to chairs for 8 hours in a storeroom in some warehouse and finally released after the debates were over. Charges were dropped (because, duh, they hadn’t done anything illegal).

      In America. A presidential candidate zip-tied to a chair for eight hours. For taking a step onto a “street” and “impeding traffic”. (The incident took place on a campus road, there was no traffic, and the cops forced her off the sidewalk and onto said street.) I’m going to link to my own post about this – something I normally wouldn’t do because it appears so self-promoting – because I am too lazy to google for other articles, not that this got much coverage when it happened in any case.


      Hey, Peter, sometimes when I come here, I get a little warning box stating that your “security certificate” cannot be verified and that I may be logging onto an “unsecured site”, or some such shit to that effect. Is someone trying to scare people from reading your blog?


      02/26/14 11:08 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote”.. a presidential candidate (Jill Stein, Green Party) and her running mate were arrested for daring to protest their exclusion from the debates. They were zip-tied to chairs for 8 hours in a storeroom in some warehouse and finally released after the debates were over. Charges were dropped (because, duh, they hadn’t done anything illegal).”unquote

      Infuckingdeed. I saw it happen only because of the net. At the time, I remember thinking..living proof ‘murica had truly become a third world voting lie by virtue of the ruling class Stazi. Meanwhile, the MSM yawns and is silent. And speaking of Stazi, day after day, brutal assaults and murder of innocent citizens occur by local LEO’s and SWAT teams, who are routinely acquitted by either their superiors or jury’s who are idiots of biblical proportions. Some of which are so sadistically viscous and barbaric it’s impossible to comprehend this is happening in Amerika. What we are seeing is the step by step transformation to a Totalitarianism state. Given the secret laws, secret courts, secret surveillance all over Amerika by millions of cams and every conceivable communication by the NSA etc, parallel construction false arrests, the militarization of every LEO in the country..I’d submit by 2016 we will have arrived.

      Meanwhile, the Dumbest Country on the Planet(DCOTPtm) can’t get enough of Kirdashian’s or Mily Cyrus’s ass or enough hours playing video games. Well, they deserve what’s coming.

      02/26/14 12:41 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      ps…Fortunately..there are STILL some people in this country who refuse to surrender to further “infringement” of their god given right to defense of life and property…no matter WHAT laws the collectivist bastards in government pass and then threaten their constituents with…


      There is MUCH MORE to this story than you know…what we are witnessing in Connecticut is MASS defiance whereby ..IF..the State police begin to arrest those citizens who further defy their diktats to register “assault” weapons and magazines, the Law of Unintended Consequences WILL go into effect..big time.

      02/26/14 1:15 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      Those security certificates seem to be generated by either your browser, google or your antivirus software. It may be that Yahoo, who hosts this site, has something expired, or that your software is generating a false positive or something else I don’t understand. If you can tell from the warning what generated it, I can dig deeper. I almost wish these sorts of problems were more nefarious instead of tedious…

      02/26/14 1:23 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...



      The actions detailed by Glenn Greenwald mirror the ILLEGAL actions (SOP) Diplomatic Security agents use to harass and defame “dangerous” DOS workers. I wrongly assumed it was because DIP SHIT agents were poorly trained, given DS is not a real law enforcement agency. They really are just a bunch of Flying Monkeys with gun and badges. (btw – the DEEDY Murder transcripts have been released) And now we know this is SOP for other “intelligence” agencies. Getting difficult to tell who the real criminals are.

      02/26/14 6:29 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      02/26/14 11:11 PM | Comment Link

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