David C. MacMichael, CIA whistleblower, dies at 95

Congress rejected Reagan’s request for more aid to the Contras. Cut off, the administration turned to an already established illegal effort to sell arms to Iran and use the money to fund the contras. It’s a program that, when unveiled in 1986, became one of the biggest political scandals of the 20th century.

Credit…via MacMicheal Family

An expert in Latin American history, Dr. MacMichael saw the Nicaraguan episode as just one more episode in a long list of attempts by the United States to exert its will over the region.

“We are, in a very real sense here, dealing with an obsession, and it is not an obsession limited to the current administration,” he said in a 1985 speech. “The United States is accustomed to wielding absolute power in Central America.”

David Charles MacMichael was born June 6, 1926 in Albany, NY, and grew up in Leonia, NJ. Her father, Charles MacMichael, worked for the HJ Heinz Company, and her mother, Gertrude (Mahood) MacMichael, was a homemaker.

David enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school in 1946 and served two years before enrolling at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia on the GI Bill. He graduated in 1952 with a degree in history and immediately returned to the corps, this time as an officer.

The Marines sent him to Korea where, in 1953, during the last weeks of the war, he was seriously injured in a mortar attack. He spent over a year recovering, then returned to service, this time to train as a counterinsurgency expert.

He married Martha Ostrander in 1953. They later divorced. He married Barbara Jentsch, a journalist, in 2003. Besides his daughter Alicia, his wife survives him, as does his brother, Charles MacMichael; his sister, Joann Marsh; another daughter, Stephanie Kolkka; and his son, John MacMichael.

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