Washington, DC - March 7, 2014 8AM-5PM at the National Press Club


"..a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils."

-George Washington, Farewell Address




Intelligence Community

Philip Giraldi is a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Giraldi is a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues. He is a regular contributor to in a column titled “Smoke and Mirrors” and is a Contributing Editor who writes a column called “Deep Background” on terrorism, intelligence, and security issues for The American Conservative magazine. He has written op-ed pieces for the Hearst Newspaper chain, has appeared on Good Morning America, MSNBC, National Public Radio, and local affiliates of ABC television. He has been a keynote speaker at the Petroleum Industry Security Council annual meeting, has spoken twice at the American Conservative Union’s annual CPAC convention in Washington, and has addressed several World Affairs Council affiliates. He has been interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Britain’s Independent Television Network, FOX News, Polish National Television, Croatian National Television, al-Jazeera, al-Arabiya, 60 Minutes, and Court TV. He prepares and edits a nationally syndicated subscription service newsletter on September 11th issues for corporate clients. Giraldi is the Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a group that advocates for more even handed policies by the U.S. government in the Middle East. Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript

Raymond McGovern is a retired CIA officer who holds an M.A. in Russian Studies from Fordham University, a certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University, and who is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

McGovern was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990

In the 1980s he chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President's Daily Brief. He received the Intelligence Commendation Medal at his retirement.   

McGovern's current work includes commentating on intelligence issues and in 2003 co-founding Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript


Paul Pillar retired in 2005 from a 28-year career in the U.S. intelligence community, in which his last position was National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia. Earlier he served in a variety of analytical and managerial positions, including as chief of analytic units at the CIA covering portions of the Near East, the Persian Gulf, and South Asia. Professor Pillar also served in the National Intelligence Council as one of the original members of its Analytic Group. He has been Executive Assistant to CIA's Deputy Director for Intelligence and Executive Assistant to Director of Central Intelligence William Webster. He has also headed the Assessments and Information Group of the DCI Counterterrorist Center, and from 1997 to 1999 was deputy chief of the center. He was a Federal Executive Fellow at the Brookings Institution in 1999-2000. Professor Pillar is a retired officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and served on active duty in 1971-1973, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript

Defense and Law Enforcement Community

James J. David is a retired Brigadier General, and a graduate of the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College, and the National Security Course, National Defense University, Washington DC. He served nearly 3 years of Army active duty in and around the Middle East from 1967-1969. General David was assigned to the Republic of Vietnam as a company commander with the 101st Airborne Division from 1969-1970. After his tour in Vietnam General David commanded a Chaparral-Vulcan Air Defense Artillery battery and received one of Europe's highest awards for missile battery proficiency when his missile battery scored a perfect score in its annual service practice on the Island of Crete. After his active duty tours, General David commanded the 429th, and the 434th Chemical Detachments in Chamblee, Georgia, United States Army Reserves. The 434th Chemical Detachment received unit honors when it was later mobilized and served in the first Gulf war. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Medal with Overseas Ribbon and bar, the Vietnam Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Bronze Star Medal. Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript

M.E. "Spike" Bowman is a specialist in national security affairs. Bowman was most recently the Deputy, National Counterintelligence Executive. Previously, he was Senior Research Fellow at the National Defense University (Center for Technology and National Security Policy). He retired from the Senior Executive Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation where he served successively as Deputy General Counsel (National Security Law) Senior Counsel for National Security Law and Director, Intelligence Issues and Policy Group (National Security Branch). He is a former intelligence officer, an international lawyer and a recognized specialist in national security law with extensive experience in espionage and terrorism investigations. Bowman is also a retired U.S. Navy Captain who has served as Head of International Law at the Naval War College, as a diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy and as Chief of Litigation for the U.S. Navy. Video, MP3 Audio,  Transcript

Karen U. Kwiatkowski retired from the U.S. Air Force with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel following service at the top echelons of the Pentagon, including the Office of Special Plans during the run-up to the war in Iraq. She served as Political-military affairs officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Under Secretary for Policy, in the Sub-Saharan Africa and Near East South Asia (NESA) Policy directorates; worked on the North Africa desk; served on the Air Force Staff, Operations Directorate at the Pentagon; served on the staff of the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Meade, as well as tours of duty in Alaska, Massachusetts, Spain and Italy. Kwiatkowski is the author of two books about U.S. foreign policy towards Africa: African Crisis Response Initiative: Past Present and Future (US Army Peacekeeping Institute, 2000) and Expeditionary Air Operations in Africa: Challenges and Solutions (Air University Press, 2001). Kwiatkowski has an MA in Government from Harvard University, MS in Science Management from the University of Alaska, and completed both Air Command and Staff College and the Naval War College seminar programs. She earned her Ph.D. in World Politics from Catholic University of America in 2005. Kwiatkowski's analysis of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has been featured in a number of documentaries, including Why We Fight in 2005. She has written for The American Conservative and for since 2003. Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript

Elected Representatives

Paul Findley served the 20th District of Illinois during eleven terms from 1961 to 1983.  Findley wrote the very first book to analyze the pervasive influence of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on American politics, policy, and institutions from the perspective of Congress. Carefully documented with specific case histories, They Dare Speak out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby reveals how the Israel lobby helps to shape important aspects of U.S. foreign policy and influences congressional, senatorial, and presidential elections. First published in 1985 and reprinted several times since, the book criticizes the undue influence AIPAC exerts in the Senate and the House and the pressure AIPAC brings to bear on university professors and journalists who seem too sympathetic to Arab and Islamic states or too critical of Israel and its policies.  Findley is co-founder of the Council for the National Interest. Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript

Cynthia McKinney served six terms in the United States House of Representatives between 1993-2003.  McKinney was the first African-American woman to represent Georgia in the House. McKinney was the Green Party presidential candidate in 2008. McKinney earned a B.A. in international relations from the University of Southern California, an M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Before entering politics, she worked as a high school teacher and later as a university professor.  Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript




Jeffrey Blankfort is a journalist and radio programmer. His articles have appeared in CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Mondoweiss, Pulse Media, Left Curve, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and the Encyclopedia of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. He currently hosts a twice monthly program on international affairs for KZYX, the public radio station for Mendocino County in Northern California where he now lives.

Blankfort was a founding member of the November 29th Committee on Palestine, a co-founder of the Labor Committee on the Middle East and editor of its publication, The Middle East Labor Bulletin (1988-1995).  Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript



Allan C. Brownfeld is a syndicated columnist, associate editor of The Lincoln Review and the editor of Issues, the quarterly journal of the American Council for Judaism. He is a contributing editor to The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Brownfeld served on the faculties of St. Stephen's Episcopal School, Alexandria, Virginia, and the University College of the University of Maryland. Mr. Brownfeld has written for such newspapers as The Houston Press, The Richmond Times Dispatch, The Washington Evening Star, and The Cincinnati Enquirer.  His weekly column appeared for more than a decade in Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill. His articles have also appeared in such journals as The Yale Review, The Texas Quarterly, the North American Review, Orbis and Modern Age. Mr. Brownfeld served as a member of the staff of the U.S. Senate Internal Security Subcommittee and also served as Assistant to the Research Director of the House Republican Conference. Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript

Delinda Hanley is the executive director and news editor at The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Before joining the magazine in 1996, Hanley spent decades in the Middle East, studying in Lebanon, volunteering with the Peace Corps and later working in Oman and Saudi Arabia. From 1990 to 1996 Hanley worked as a researcher, editor and writer for Empire Press (now Weider History Group) and Sovereign Media. Hanley writes for the Washington Report on an array of topics, and her articles have also been published in the Arab News, the Minaret, Islamic Horizons, Jewish Spectator and other publications. She is the winner of the NAAJA 2011 Excellence in Journalism award for her dedication to accuracy and professionalism. Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript


Scott McConnell is an American journalist and founder of The American Conservative.  After working on the 1976 presidential campaign of Jimmy Carter, McConnell earned a Ph.D in history at Columbia University, During this time he became attracted to the neoconservative movement and began writing for Commentary and National Review. In 1989, McConnell became an editorial writer and later columnist for the New York Post and served as editorial page editor in 1997. McConnell was fired from the Post later that year.

McConnell has since emerged as one of the leading figures in the broadly defined paleoconservative movement. After spending many years as a columnist for the New York Press and, in 2002 he collaborated with Pat Buchanan and Taki Theodoracopolous in founding The American Conservative, a magazine which has served as a voice for traditionalist conservatives opposed to both liberalism and the policies of the George W. Bush administration. By the end of 2004, McConnell became the sole editor of The American Conservative. Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript 

Janet McMahon is the managing editor at The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. She earned her B.A. in English at Reed College and has a graduate diploma in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo. She is an expert on the Israel lobby and pro-Israel political action committees (PACs). She co-edited Seeing the Light: Personal Encounters With the Middle East and Islam, and Donald Neff’s 50 Years of Israel, both compilations of feature articles from The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. In addition to her editorial duties, she has written special reports on Israel and Palestine, and has contributed articles to special issues of the Washington Report on Iran, Tunisia, Cyprus and Libya. Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript

Mark Perry is an American author specializing in military, intelligence, and foreign affairs analysis who has authored eight books: Four Stars: The Inside Story of the Forty-Year Battle Between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and America's Civilian Leaders, Eclipse: The Last Days of the CIA, A Fire In Zion: Inside the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, Conceived in Liberty, Lift Up Thy Voice, Grant and Twain, Partners In Command, and Talking To Terrorists: Why America Must Engage with its Enemies. Perry’s articles have been featured in a number of leading publications including The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Newsday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Plain Dealer. He is a graduate of Northwestern Military and Naval Academy and of Boston University. Perry is the former co-Director of the Washington, D.C., London, and Beirut-based Conflicts Forum, which specializes in engaging with Islamist movements in the Levant in dialogue with the West. Perry served as co-Director for over five years. Perry served as an unofficial advisor to PLO Chairman and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat from 1989 to 2004. Perry has appeared on numerous national and international televised forums and is a frequent guest commentator and expert on Al-Jazeera television, has appeared regularly on CNN’s The International Hour and on Special Assignment. Perry’s books have met with critical acclaim from Kirkus Reviews, The Washington Post, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and many other publications. He has served as editor of Washington D.C.’s City Paper, and The Veteran, the largest circulation newspaper for veterans. Perry was also Washington correspondent for The Palestine Report, and is currently a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center. Perry is the recipient of both the 1995 National Jewish Book Award for his second book, A Fire In Zion, as well as journalism’s prestigious “Project Censored" Award. Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript

Gareth Porter Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian who specializes in U.S. national security policy. He writes regularly for IPS and has also published investigative articles on, the Nation, the American Prospect, Truthout and The Raw Story. His blogs have been published on Huffington Post, Firedoglake, Counterpunch and many other websites. Porter was Saigon bureau chief of Dispatch News Service International in 1971 and later reported on trips to Southeast Asia for The Guardian, Asian Wall Street Journal and Pacific News Service. He is the author of four books on the Vietnam War and the political system of Vietnam. His most recent book is Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare. The book highlights the impact that the United States' alliance with Israel had on Washington's turning the International Atomic Energy Agency into a tool of its anti-Iran policy. Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript

John B. Quigley is a professor of law at the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University, where he is the Presidents' Club Professor of Law. In 1995 he was recipient of The Ohio State University Distinguished Scholar Award. Before joining the Ohio State faculty in 1969, Professor Quigley was a research scholar at Moscow State University, and a research associate in comparative law at Harvard Law School. Professor Quigley teaches International Law and Comparative Law and holds an adjunct appointment in the Political Science Department. In 1982-83 he was a visiting professor at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. John Quigley is active in international human rights work. He has published many articles and books on human rights, the United Nations, war and peace, east European law, African law, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, including The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective, Duke University Press, 2005 and The Statehood of Palestine, Cambridge University Press. 2011 Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript

Stephen M. Walt is professor of International Affairs at Harvard University; previously taught at Princeton University, University of Chicago; consultant for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Center for Naval Analyses, and the National Defense University. He presently serves on the editorial boards of Foreign Policy, Security Studies, International Relations, and Journal of Cold War Studies.

Walt also serves as Co-Editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs. Author of The Origins of Alliances, which received the 1988 Edgar S. Furniss National Security Book Award and, with co-author John J. Mearsheimer of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript


Dr. Geoffrey Wawro is Professor of History and Director of the Military History Center at the University of North Texas in the Dallas Metroplex. From 2000-2005 he was Professor of Strategic Studies at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. A Modern European historian by training, Dr. Wawro’s Ph.D is from Yale University, his B.A. Magna Cum Laude from Brown University. Dr. Wawro is the author of four highly regarded books: Quicksand: America’s Pursuit of Power in the Middle East (Penguin Press, 2010), The Franco-Prussian War (Cambridge, 2003), Warfare and Society in Europe, 1792-1914 (Routledge, 2000), and The Austro-Prussian War (Cambridge, 1996). He is the co-editor (with Oxford’s Hew Strachan) of The Cambridge Military Histories — published by Cambridge University Press — and is a member of the History Book Club Review Board. Wawro has published articles in The Journal of Military History, War in History, The International History Review, The Naval War College Review, American Scholar, and European History Quarterly, and op-eds in the Los Angeles Times, New York Post, Miami Herald, Hartford Courant and Providence Journal. Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript

Philip Weiss is an American journalist who co-edits Mondoweiss, a news website devoted to covering American foreign policy in the Middle East, chiefly from a progressive Jewish perspective.

Weiss has written for the New York Times Magazine, Harper's Magazine, Esquire, and the New York Observer. In 2006 he began writing a daily blog called Mondoweiss on The New York Observer website. In the spring of 2007 he started Mondoweiss as an independent blog because of 9/11, Iraq, Gaza, the Nakba, the struggling people of Israel and Palestine, with the aim of building a diverse community, with posts from many authors.

He co-edited The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict (2011) with Adam Horowitz and Lizzy Ratner.  Video, MP3 Audio,  Transcript



Nonprofits / Public Policy /  Authors

Ernest A. Gallo is president of the USS Liberty Veterans Association.  He is a former Communications Technician, Second Class in the Navy Reserve. 

Following his active duty with the U.S. Navy Gallo had a 28-and-a-half year career with the CIA supporting U.S. communications around the world. 

Gallo is the author of the 2013 book, Liberty Injustices: A Survivor's Account of American Bigotry. Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript





Justin Raimondo is an American author and the editorial director of In addition to his thrice-weekly column for, Raimondo is a regular contributor to The American Conservative and Chronicles magazines. Raimondo's books include Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993), reissued in 2008 with new introduction by George W. Carey, by Intercollegiate Studies Institute.  Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (AFPAC, 1996). Colin Powell and the Power Elite (America First Books, 1996). An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard, (Prometheus Books, July 2000). Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript


Grant F. Smith is the director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) in Washington, DC. He is the author of two unofficial histories of AIPAC–America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department's Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government and Foreign Agents: AIPAC from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal, as well as the books Divert, Spy Trade, Deadly Dogma, Visa Denied and editor of the book Neocon Middle East Policy. Before joining IRmep, Smith was senior analyst and later program manager at Yankee Group Research, Inc. in Boston. Smith has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Minnesota and a Masters in International Management from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Jeff Stein of The Washington Post designated Smith “a Washington D.C. author who has made a career out of writing critical books on Israeli spying and lobbying.” Nathan Guttman of The Jewish Daily Forward recognizes Smith as leading a public effort to “call attention of the authorities to AIPAC’s activity and demands public scrutiny of the group’s legal status.” John J. Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago claims “Grant Smith’s new book is a major step forward in correcting that problem. He provides a fascinating–and disturbing–account of how I. L. Kenen laid the groundwork for AIPAC, the most powerful organization in the lobby." Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript

Stephen J. Sniegoski Ph.D. earned his doctorate in American history, with a focus on American foreign policy, at the University of Maryland. His focus on the neoconservative involvement in American foreign policy is the subject of his book The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel.  The book asserts that although it is generally understood that American neoconservatives pushed hard for the war in Iraq, the neocons' goal was not the spread of democracy, but the protection of Israel's interests in the Middle East. Showing that the neocon movement has always identified closely with the interests of Israel's Likudnik right wing, the discussion contends that neocon advice on Iraq was the exact opposite of conventional United States foreign policy Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript


Alison Weir is president of the Council for the National Interest, created by ambassadors and former Congressmen in 1989 and executive director of If Americans Knew, a nonprofit organization she founded following an independent investigation as a freelance journalist to the West Bank and Gaza in early 2001. She writes and speaks widely on Israel-Palestine, and is considered the foremost analyst on media coverage of the region. Her book on the history of US-Israel relations will be published in February. Her articles have appeared in Censored 2005, The Encyclopedia of Palestine-Israel, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, CounterPunch, Editor & Publisher, The Link, and other books and publications. She has spoken in England, Wales, Qatar, Baghdad, Ramallah, Asia Media Summits in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, on Capitol Hill, and at numerous American universities, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Berkeley, Georgetown, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and the Naval Postgraduate Institute. In 2004 she was inducted into honorary membership of Phi Alpha Literary Society at Illinois College. The award cited her as a: “Courageous journalist-lecturer on behalf of human rights. She is the first woman in history to receive an honorary membership in Phi Alpha.” The New York Times reported of her presentation: “When the speech ended, Ms. Weir was met with thunderous applause, and across the room there was a widespread sense of satisfaction that someone was saying what needed to be said.” Former US Senator Tom Campbell stated: “Ms. Weir presents a powerful, well documented view of the Middle East today. She is intelligent, careful, and critical. American policy makers would benefit greatly from hearing her first-hand observations and attempting to answer the questions she poses.” Video, MP3 Audio, Transcript

The list above is final. 

The following speakers also served as panel moderators during the event: Philip Giraldi, Delinda Hanley, Janet McMahon, Grant F. Smith and Alison Weir.

The event master of ceremonies who presented the host organizations, rules for question and answers and who served as moderator of panel five was radio host Scott Horton of Antiwar Radio for 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles and founder of the Scott Horton Show on Liberty Express. 

Scott has conducted more than 3,000 interviews since 2003, including with many of the experts who spoke at the National Summit. Most are archived online and may be downloaded at Scott Horton Show.


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