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VIPS Demand Obama Release Evidence
on MH17 Crash

by Jeffrey Steinberg
July 2014

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July 30, 2014 --Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a group of retired US intelligence officers from the CIA, NSA, FBI, and military intelligence branches, have issued an Open Letter to President Obama, demanding that the Administration halt the inflammatory propaganda accusing Russia of downing the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, and actually present whatever actual evidence has been gathered by US intelligence agencies on the crash. Without such a change in posture, the veterans warned, the US is pushing the world in the direction of a new Cold War or an actual "hot" war between the United States and Russia.

The VIPS's ten-person steering committee wrote this week to President Obama: "As veteran intelligence analysts accustomed to waiting, except in emergency circumstances, for conclusive information before rushing to judgment, we believe that the charges against Russia should be rooted in solid, far more convincing evidence. And that goes in spades with respect to inflammatory incidents like the shoot-down of an airliner. We are also troubled by the amateurish manner in which fuzzy and flimsy evidence has been served up, some of it via social media. As intelligence professionals we are embarrassed by the unprofessional use of partial intelligence information. As Americans, we find ourselves hoping that, if you indeed have more conclusive evidence, you will find a way to make it public without further delay...

"If the intelligence on the shoot-down is as weak as it appears judging from the fuzzy scraps that have been released, we strongly suggest you call off the propaganda war and await the findings of those charged with investigating the shoot-down. If, on the other hand, your administration has more concrete, probative intelligence, we strongly suggest that you consider approving it for release, even if there may be some risk of damage to sources and methods. Too often this consideration is used to prevent information from entering the public domain where, as in this case, it belongs. There have been critical junctures in the past in which presidents have recognized the need to waive secrecy in order to show what one might call a decent respect for the opinions of mankind or even to justify military action...

"We reiterate our recommendations of May 4, that you remove the seeds of this confrontation by publicly disavowing any wish to incorporate Ukraine into NATO and that you make it clear that you are prepared to meet personally with Russian President Putin without delay to discuss ways to defuse the crisis and recognize the legitimate interests of the various parties. The suggestion of an early summit got extraordinary resonance in controlled and independent Russian media. Not so in mainstream media in the U.S. Nor did we hear back from you. The courtesy of a reply is requested."