Ray Close

Ray Close is from a long line of Middle East experts. From the outset of the Iraq campaign, he fearlessly organized fellow colleagues from the CIA to speak out against the misuse of intelligence. He has been a relentless campaigner to return professionalism to our intelligence community and to rebuild the firewall separating it from politics. Here is a short bio:

Ray Close comes from a family with deep roots in the Middle East. He and many of his immediate relatives have been teachers, diplomats or businessmen in the Arab Middle East for four generations, since his maternal great-grandfather arrived in 1853 and began establishing schools in southern Lebanon. His father, Harold Close, was a professor and later Dean of Arts and Sciences at the American University of Beirut from 1910 until 1955. His mother’s brother, Colonel William Eddy, served as the interpreter between President Roosevelt and King Ibn Saud at their historic meeting aboard a US Navy cruiser in the Suez Canal immediately following the Yalta Conference in February 1945.

After graduating from Princeton University in 1951, Ray served for 26 years as a Middle East specialist with the Operations Directorate of the CIA. During his career, he served under cover as a political officer at American Embassies in Lebanon, Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. For seven years before his retirement in 1977, he was the CIA’s senior representative in Saudi Arabia.

Source: http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/L/Joshua.M.Landis-1/syriablog/2004/05/more-dubious-def-dept-allegations.htm

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Author's posts

May 18 2007

Expert testimony

 Dear Friends:

(1) General Charles Krulak is a former Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and his fellow Marine
General Joseph Hoar was Commander of CENTCOM (1991-94) and Chief of Staff of the USMC during the 1991 first Gulf War.

ALst week, these two old leathernecks co-authored a powerful op-ed piece that appeared in the Washington Post on 17 May 2007 entitled “It’s Our Cage, Too;  Torture Betrays Us and Breeds New Enemies”.

I have pasted a brief summary of … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2007/05/18/expert-testimony/

May 04 2007

Mercenaries?

 Dear Mr. Spencer:

I am tardy in responding to your interesting comments about the historical role of Gurkha units in the British Indian Army.

In referring to the Gurkha as “mercenaries”, I most assuredly did not intend to impugn their honor or integrity in the slightest — or, in particular, the steadfast loyalty that they consistently displayed toward their British comrades-in-arms.  I cannot recall that there has ever been a similar relationship historically that earned and deserved more lasting credit … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2007/05/04/750/

Apr 30 2007

Woolsey disgraces himself again

 Dear Friends:

Former CIA Director James Woolsey gave a talk at Princeton University last week.  I decided not to attend, fearing that I might be unable to restrain myself from causing an ugly scene.  But I am extremely pleased and proud to forward to you a letter written to the campus newspaper the next morning by a young Princeton sophmore (a girl, presumabnly 18 or 19 years old) protesting Mr. Woolsey’s speech in very strong and eloquent language.  I have … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2007/04/30/woolsey-disgraces-himself-again/

Apr 26 2007

The real meaning of “surge”

 I have noted from several recent newspaper and TV accounts covering the “surge” in Iraq that a significant percentage of the “Iraqi Army” soldiers engaged in joint operations with the US Army are actually members of Kurdish units — presumably peshmerga militia forces assigned temporarily to Baghdad and the surrounding area as part of the surge campaign.

I believe we can reasonably assume that these Kurdish units are administratively and operationally separate from Arab units of the regular “Iraqi Army” … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2007/04/26/the-real-meaning-of-surge/

Feb 09 2003

War coming

 A talk given at Long Branch Plantation, Clarke County, Virginia, on February 9, 2003…

It’s been almost exactly a year since I was here talking about the subject of terrorism. The title of my talk last year was “Terrorism — Some Unconventional Perspectives.”

This year I’m going to talk about a closely related subject, but one that is of much more immediate concern: the coming American war against Iraq.

Today, I have no choice but to speculate about the future, … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2003/02/09/war-coming/