Ray McGovern was born and raised in the Bronx and was a graduate, summa cum laude, of Fordham University. A "Distinguished Military Graduate", he served in the US Army from 1962-64 as an intelligence officer. Ray also received an M.A. in Russian Studies from Fordham University, a certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University and was a graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program. He was a mid level officer in the CIA in the 1960s where his focus was analysis of Soviet policy toward Vietnam. Ray was one of President Ronald Reagan's intelligence briefers from 1981-85 when he was in charge of preparing daily security briefs for the President, the Vice President, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Cabinet and National Security Advisor. Later, McGovern was one of several senior CIA analysts who prepared the President's Daily Brief (PDB) for President George H.W. Bush. Upon retirement, McGovern was awarded the Intelligence Commendation Medal from Bush (which he later returned, see below) and worked for Washington-based non-profits before becoming co-director of the Servant Leadership School in Washington.
FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley discussed the problems facing the FBI and the intelligence community, as well as the bombshell memo she had written to her superiors about Al Qaeda prior to the 9/11 attacks. She was joined by Michael German and Ray McGovern of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).