Nov 1, 2023
Op-Ed response in the Washington Post
Published Wednesday, November 1, 2023 in the Washington Post
In his Oct. 27 op-ed, “The U.S. walks an old tightrope with Israel,” David Ignatius stated that “Russia threatened to intervene militarily to protect Egypt during negotiations to end the 1973 war,” which led to President Richard M. Nixon’s order to place U.S. forces on Defcon 3, “a heightened state of alert for possible nuclear conflict.” I served as a senior intelligence analyst on the CIA’s task force for the war and can state authoritatively that there was no intelligence to support the idea of a Soviet intervention.
Nixon did not attend the National Security Council meeting that called for Defcon 3, which was ordered by Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger over the objections of the defense secretary, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA director. Mr. Kissinger’s decision was reckless and could have led to an unnecessary escalation at a time when the Soviets and the United States were trying to maintain a cease-fire.
The current war in the Middle East is particularly dangerous because there is no possibility of negotiations between Washington and Moscow to arrange a much-needed cease-fire.
Melvin A. Goodman, Bethesda
The writer, a former CIA intelligence analyst, is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy.
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