Did they have outside help?
Two former CIA officers, Abigail Spanberger and Elissa Slotkin, won reelection on Tuesday night, while anti-CIA candidate Geoff Young was defeated in Kentucky’s 6th district.
Spanberger, a Democrat, defeated her Republican challenger Yesli Vega with 51.9 percent of the vote in Virginia’s 7th district, while Slotkin, also a Democrat, defeated Tom Barrett, a former army pilot, with 50.8 percent of the vote in Michigan’s 7th district.
Young lost to Republican incumbent Andy Barr after receiving 26.3 percent of the vote.
In an exclusive interview with CAM on Tuesday night, Young said that he had “done better than expected without having nearly the amount of money that Andy Barr had,” and “had similar vote totals to establishment Democrats in Kentucky in past races.”
The problem, Young said, is that “both parties are structurally corrupt, the media is biased against any candidate who is radical on foreign policy, and there is no domestic force strong enough to stop our headlong rush towards the abyss.”
Young continued: “Since February 2022, we have been living through the worst propaganda campaign—the most thorough, sustained and intense—in my lifetime over the conflict in Ukraine, and when the bottom crashes out like Afghanistan, the media will have nothing to say and people will be clueless about what happened and our own decline as a country.”
Young’s views are obviously not ones shared by Slotkin or Spanberger who are gung-ho supporters of the war in Ukraine and would chafe at the notion that the U.S. is in decline or that the CIA is the “most deadly terrorist organization in the world,” as Young characterized it.
Class of 2018
Spanberger and Slotkin were both first elected to Congress in 2018 as part of a larger wave of Democratic Party representatives with backgrounds in the military and/or intelligence.
Patrick Martin of the World Socialist Website put out an important pamphlet at the time entitled “The CIA Democrats” in which he wrote that “an extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democrat candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The potential influx of military-intelligence personnel into the legislature has no precedent in political history.”
As it turned out, some 30 of these candidates won primary contests and became the Democratic candidates in the November 2018 election, and 11 of them won the general election.
For Martin this trend signified the complete abandonment by the Democratic Party of the working class and move to the right of its upper-middle class base that has enthusiastically supported the military-intelligence apparatus, which “in the final analysis, guarantees its own social position against potential threats, both foreign and domestic [as they believe].”
After gaining election, the CIA Democrats promoted the Russia Gate conspiracy theory and denounced President Donald Trump not for his right-wing policies primarily, but because he was “insufficiently committed to confronting Russia militarily in the Middle East, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Baltics.”
Spanberger had worked as a CIA case officer from 2006 to 2014 in the Middle East after previously working on money laundering and narcotics cases for the U.S. Postal Service. Defeating a Tea Party candidate, she advertised herself as a “former CIA Operative, [and] Girl Scout leader, ready to represent Virginia’s 7th District in Congress.”
Stating her firm belief that “the United States of America is the world’s superpower, and we have a responsibility to be a stabilizing force,” Spanberger had the backing of Foreign Policy for America, a political action committee promoting the anti-Russian campaign being waged by the Democrats and the military-intelligence apparatus.
Spanberger used her bully pulpit to defend the intelligence agencies for allegedly “providing good information that allowed presidential administrations to make good decisions on policy initiatives and engagement with foreign countries.” She also led the charge about Russian election meddling, stating: “the fact that Donald Trump would at times seemingly take the side of foreign adversaries over the well-sourced intelligence of the intelligence community [in denying Russian election meddling on his behalf] is troubling as an American—not just as a former intelligence officer.”
Spanberger further criticized Trump for meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, stating that “I think any time we see the president of the United States warmly greeting an authoritarian leader and later professing to have fallen in love with him, no matter how tongue-in-cheek those comments are, is deeply concerning.”
But Spanberger was later silent when Joe Biden met with Saudi Prince Bin Salman and many other autocratic foreign leaders allied with the United States. And as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Spanberger voted to provide billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine—whose president banned eleven opposition parties and sanctioned terrorist attacks on political rivals and journalists.
As a reflection of her hawkish views, Spanberger has led the attempt to get the State Department to designate Russia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Spanberger told MSNBC that she believed the U.S. should be as “absolutely supportive of Ukraine as we possibly can” and to “give them enough weapons to win this war.”
Just as the CIA and military-industrial complex want.
First elected to Congress with Spanberger in 2018, Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) is a former CIA officer with three tours in Iraq who was charged with providing assistance to Ukraine as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs following the U.S.-backed Maidan coup in 2014 that triggered the current conflict.
In February 2021, Slotkin was appointed Chairwoman of the Intelligence & Counterterrorism Subcommittee within the House Committee on Homeland Security. In that capacity, she has pleased her former employer by hyping threats to public safety from domestic extremists and alleged foreign terrorists, while pushing for ever more draconian anti-terrorism legislation than what is already on the books.
According to her website, Slotkin’s category of domestic extremists includes people that oppose pandemic restrictions, despite their harmful effect on mental health and violation of constitutional liberties, along with those whom she brands as “conspiracy theorists”—a term that was made pejorative by the CIA in the 1960s in order to try to validate the corrupt Warren Commission and its false conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone assassin of JFK.
A super-hawk on Ukraine, Slotkin was part of a congressional delegation in July that met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom she characterized as a “man who has risen to the occasion in war.” Slotkin subsequently told an NPR reporter: “I think we got to give them [Ukraine] what they need. But I think there’s—this is a black-and-white issue. Our weapons have made a huge difference.”
When the war broke out last February, Slotkin supported a bill that aimed to expedite security assistance to Ukraine, and another designed to eliminate Europe’s energy dependence on Russia.
Inserting a clause in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would direct the Pentagon to better capitalize on commercial innovation in Michigan’s auto industry, Slotkin has also sponsored the “Dictator Act” which would investigate whether the Chinese government is helping Vladimir Putin evade Western sanctions.
When asked by a reporter about her favorite CIA movie, Slotkin tellingly responded: “Zero Dark Thirty” which glorified the use of torture in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
In the same interview, Slotkin praised the CIA’s Hollywood liaison office, which she said helps Hollywood to “really understand what is going on”—comments that are in line with the CIA’s official cover story for their PR operations in Hollywood, and make it seem like the Agency is merely concerned with greater accuracy, not covering up their crimes or trying to rehabilitate their public image.
Once a CIA agent, always a CIA agent
The popular maxim “once a CIA agent, always a CIA agent” seems to generally fit both Slotkin and Spanberger as they continue to promote the Agency’s interests in Congress in violation of the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.
The extent to which Spanberger and Slotkin function as actual spies remains uncertain, but these neocons continue to ply their trade by advancing anti-Russian propaganda and other disinformation whose purpose is to ratchet up conflicts with Russia and China and expand the evolution of the United States into a police state.
Patrick Martin, The CIA Demcrats (World Socialist Website Pamphlet, 2018). ↑
Martin, The CIA Democrats, 22. ↑
Martin, The CIA Democrats, 22. ↑
Spanberger’s husband Adam incidentally is a software engineer at L3 Harris, a leading military contractor. ↑
Slotkin worked as Iraq director for the National Security Council in the Obama White House and as a top aide to John Negroponte, the first Director of National Intelligence and U.S. ambassador to Iraq (Negroponte had earlier overseen death squads as U.S. ambassador to Honduras during the 1980s). Until 2017, Slotkin served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, where she oversaw policy on Russia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at the Pentagon. ↑
Slotkin, for example, expressed outrage over an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) by right-wing extremists without acknowledging that the plot was actually promoted by the FBI in an attempt tp manufacture a false crisis. ↑
Slotkin characterized the Ukrainian military as “scrappy” in learning the mechanisms and how to use weaponry from the U.S. with no training on how to use American weapon systems. ↑
CovertAction Magazine is made possible by subscriptions, orders and donations from readers like you.
Blow the Whistle on U.S. Imperialism
Click the whistle and donate
When you donate to CovertAction Magazine, you are supporting investigative journalism. Your contributions go directly to supporting the development, production, editing, and dissemination of the Magazine.
CovertAction Magazine does not receive corporate or government sponsorship. Yet, we hold a steadfast commitment to providing compensation for writers, editorial and technical support. Your support helps facilitate this compensation as well as increase the caliber of this work.
Please make a donation by clicking on the donate logo above and enter the amount and your credit or debit card information.
CovertAction Institute, Inc. (CAI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and your gift is tax-deductible for federal income purposes. CAI’s tax-exempt ID number is 87-2461683.
We sincerely thank you for your support.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s). CovertAction Institute, Inc. (CAI), including its Board of Directors (BD), Editorial Board (EB), Advisory Board (AB), staff, volunteers and its projects (including CovertAction Magazine) are not responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. This article also does not necessarily represent the views the BD, the EB, the AB, staff, volunteers, or any members of its projects.
Differing viewpoints: CAM publishes articles with differing viewpoints in an effort to nurture vibrant debate and thoughtful critical analysis. Feel free to comment on the articles in the comment section and/or send your letters to the Editors, which we will publish in the Letters column.
Copyrighted Material: This web site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. As a not-for-profit charitable organization incorporated in the State of New York, we are making such material available in an effort to advance the understanding of humanity’s problems and hopefully to help find solutions for those problems. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. You can read more about ‘fair use’ and US Copyright Law at the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School.
Republishing: CovertAction Magazine (CAM) grants permission to cross-post CAM articles on not-for-profit community internet sites as long as the source is acknowledged together with a hyperlink to the original CovertAction Magazine article. Also, kindly let us know at info@CovertActionMagazine.com. For publication of CAM articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: info@CovertActionMagazine.com.
By using this site, you agree to these terms above.
About the Author
Jeremy Kuzmarov is Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine.
He is the author of five books on U.S. foreign policy, including Obama’s Unending Wars (Clarity Press, 2019), The Russians Are Coming, Again, with John Marciano (Monthly Review Press, 2018), and Warmonger. How Clinton’s Malign Foreign Policy Launched the U.S. Trajectory From Bush II to Biden (Clarity Press, 2023).
He can be reached at: email@example.com.