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Profile: Lewis ("Scooter") Libby

 
  

Positions that Lewis ("Scooter") Libby has held:

  • Managing partner of the Washington office of the international law firm Dechert Price & Rhoads
  • Chief of staff, Office of Dick Cheney


 

Quotes

 
  

No quotes or excerpts for this entity.


 

Relations

 
  

Related Entities:


 

Lewis ("Scooter") Libby actively participated in the following events:

 
  

March 8, 1992: Raw US World Dominance Plan Is Leaked to the Media      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       The Defense Planning Guidance, “a blueprint for the department's spending priorities in the aftermath of the first Gulf War and the collapse of the Soviet Union,” is leaked to the New York Times. [New York Times, 3/8/92; Newsday, 3/16/03] The document causes controversy, because it hadn't yet been “scrubbed” to replace candid language with euphemisms. [New York Times, 3/11/92; Observer, 4/7/02; New York Times, 3/10/92] The document argues that the US dominates the world as sole superpower, and to maintain that role, it “must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.” [New York Times, 3/8/92 (B); New York Times, 3/8/92] As the Observer summarizes it, “America's friends are potential enemies. They must be in a state of dependence and seek solutions to their problems in Washington.” [Observer, 4/7/02] The document is mainly written by Paul Wolfowitz and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who hold relatively low posts at the time, but become deputy defense secretary and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, respectively, under George W. Bush. [Newsday, 3/16/03] The authors conspicuously avoid mention of collective security arrangements through the United Nations, instead suggesting the US “should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted.” [New York Times, 3/8/92] They call for “punishing” or “threatening punishment” against regional aggressors before they act. Interests to be defended preemptively include “access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, [and] threats to US citizens from terrorism.” [Harper's, 10/02] Senator Lincoln Chafee (R) later says, “It is my opinion that [George W. Bush's] plan for preemptive strikes was formed back at the end of the first Bush administration with that 1992 report.” [Newsday, 3/16/03] In response to the controversy, US releases an updated version of the document in May 1992, which stresses that the US will work with the United Nations and its allies. [Washington Post, 5/24/92; Harper's, 10/02]
People and organizations involved: Lincoln Chafee, United States, Soviet Union, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Paul Wolfowitz
          

September 2000: PNAC Report Recommends Policies That Need New Pearl Harbor for Quick Implementation      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

      
People involved in the 2000 PNAC report (from top left): Vice President Cheney, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Cheney Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby, Undersecretary of State John Bolton, Undersecretary of Defense Dov Zakheim, and author Eliot Cohen.
PNAC drafts a strategy document, “Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” for George W. Bush's team before the 2000 Presidential election. The document was commissioned by future Vice President Cheney, future Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, future Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Florida Governor Jeb Bush (Bush's brother), and future Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis Libby. [Sources: Rebuilding America's Defenses]
The document outlines a “blueprint for maintaining global US preeminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests.”
PNAC states further: “The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”
PNAC calls for the control of space through a new “US Space Forces,” the political control of the Internet, and the subversion of any growth in political power of even close allies, and advocates “regime change” in China, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Iran, and other countries.
It also mentions that “advanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.”
However, PNAC complains that thes changes are likely to take a long time, “absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor.” [Los Angeles Times, 1/12/03] Notably, while Cheney commissioned this plan (along with other future key leaders of the Bush administration), he defends Bush's position of maintaining Clinton's policy not to attack Iraq during an NBC interview in the midst of the 2000 presidential campaign, asserting that the US should not act as though “we were an imperialist power, willy-nilly moving into capitals in that part of the world, taking down governments.” [Washington Post, 1/12/02] A British member of Parliament will later say of the report: “This is a blueprint for US world domination—a new world order of their making. These are the thought processes of fantasist Americans who want to control the world.” [Sunday Herald, 9/7/02] Both PNAC and its strategy plan for Bush are almost virtually ignored by the media until a few weeks before the start of the Iraq war (see February-March 20, 2003).
People and organizations involved: Aaron Friedberg, Steve Forbes, Elliott Abrams, Francis Fukuyama, Norman Podhoretz, Henry S. Rowen, Vin Weber, Eliot A. Cohen, Hasam Amin, William J. Bennett, Midge Decter, George Weigel, John Ellis ("Jeb") Bush, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Project for the New American Century, Paula J. Dobriansky, Frank Gaffney, Donald Kagan, Steve Rosen, Saddam Hussein, Peter Rodman, Zalmay M. Khalilzad, Dan Quayle, Syria, China, United States, Lybia, North Korea, Iraq, Fred C. Ikle
          

Shortly after September 11, 2001: Feith Sets Up the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group      Complete 911 Timeline, Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith and Middle East specialist Harold Rhode recruit David Wurmser, the director of Middle East studies for the American Enterprise Institute, to serve as a Pentagon consultant. Wurmser is a known advocate of regime change in Iraq, having expressed his views in a 1997 op-ed piece published in the Wall Street Journal (see November 12, 1997) and having participated in the drafting of a 1996 policy paper for Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” (see July 8, 1996). Wurmser works at Feith's office, where he and F. Michael Maloof, a former aide to Richard Perle, head a secret intelligence unit, named the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group, or the “Wurmser-Maloof” project. Neither Wurmser nor Maloof are intelligence professionals. The four- to five- person unit, a “B Team” commissioned by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, uses powerful computers and software to scan and sort already-analyzed documents and reports from the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and other agencies in an effort to consider possible interpretations and angles of analysis that these agencies may have missed due to deeply ingrained biases and out-of-date worldviews. [New York Times, 10/24/02; Los Angeles Times, 2/8/04; Reuters, 2/19/04; Mother Jones, 1/04; Washington Times, 1/14/02] The Pentagon unit's activities cause tension within the traditional intelligence community. Critics claim that its members manipulate and distort intelligence, “cherry-picking” bits of information that fit their preconceived conclusions. “There is a complete breakdown in the relationship between the Defense Department and the intelligence community, to include its own Defense Intelligence Agency,” a defense official will tell the New York Times. “Wolfowitz and company disbelieve any analysis that doesn't support their own preconceived conclusions. The CIA is enemy territory, as far are they're concerned.” [New York Times, 10/24/02 Sources: Unnamed defense official] Defending the project, Paul Wolfowitz will tell the New York Times that the team's purpose is to circumvent the problem “in intelligence work, that people who are pursuing a certain hypothesis will see certain facts that others won't, and not see other facts that others will.” He insists that the special Pentagon unit is “not making independent intelligence assessments.” [New York Times, 10/24/02] One of the cell's projects includes sorting through existing intelligence to create a map of relationships demonstrating links between militant Islamic groups and state powers. This chart of links, which they name the “matrix,” leads the intelligence unit to conclude that Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and other groups with conflicting ideologies and objectives are allowing these differences to fall to the wayside as they discover their shared hatred of the US. The group's research also leads them to believe that al-Qaeda has a presence in such places as Latin American. For weeks, the unit will attempt to uncover evidence tying Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks, a theory advocated by both Feith and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. [Mother Jones, 1/04; Los Angeles Times, 2/8/04; Washington Times, 1/14/02] The group is later accused of stovepiping intelligence directly to the White House. Former DIA chief of Mideast operations, Pat Lang, later tells the Washington Times: “That unit had meetings with senior White House officials without the CIA or the Senate being aware of them. That is not legal. There has to be oversight.” According to Lang and another US intelligence official, the two men go to the White House several times to brief officials, bypassing CIA analysts whose analyses they disagreed with. They allegedly brief White House staffers Stephen Hadley, the deputy national security adviser, and Lewis “Scooter” Libby, chief of staff for Vice President Richard Cheney, according to congressional staffers. [Washington Times, 7/29/2004] According to unnamed Pentagon and US intelligence officials, the group is also accused of providing sensitive CIA and Pentagon intercepts to the US-funded Iraqi National Congress, which then passed them on to the government of Iran. [Washington Times, 7/29/2004] David Wurmser will later be relocated to the State Department where he will be the senior advisor to Undersecretary Of State for Arms Control John Bolton.(see September 2002). [American Conservative, 12/1/03; Mother Jones, 1/04]
People and organizations involved: Stephen Hadley, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, Harold Rhode, Richard Perle, F. Michael Maloof, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz
          

(9:00 a.m.): Cheney Perplexed over WTC Footage on Television      Complete 911 Timeline

       Vice President Cheney later says he is in his White House office watching the television images of the first WTC crash wreckage. According to his recollection, he was puzzled. “I was sitting there thinking about it. It was a clear day, there was no weather problem—how in hell could a plane hit the World Trade Center?” His staff members elsewhere in the White House are apparently unaware of the emerging crisis. For instance, his chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, sees the television images briefly, but turns off the television so as not to be distracted from a conversation on another topic. [Newsweek, 12/31/01]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby
          

(9:52 a.m.): Lynne Cheney Joins Husband in White House Bunker; Vice President Repeatedly Hangs up Clarke Telephone      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Lynne Cheney.
According to the 9/11 Commission, Lynne Cheney joins her husband, Vice President Cheney, in the PEOC (Presidential Emergency Operations Center) bunker below the White House. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] She had been at a downtown office around 9:00 a.m. when she was escorted by the Secret Service to the White House. [Newsweek, 12/31/01] Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke describes the people in the PEOC as “decidedly more political” than those in his bunker below the other wing of the White House. In addition to Cheney and his wife, most of the day the PEOC contains National Security Adviser Rice, political adviser Mary Matalin, Cheney's Chief of Staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Deputy White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, and White House Communications Director Karen Hughes. Clarke is told later in the day by someone else in the PEOC, “I can't hear the crisis conference [led by Clarke] because Mrs. Cheney keeps turning down the volume on you so she can hear CNN ... and the vice president keeps hanging up the open line to you.” Clarke notes that the “right-wing ideologue” Lynne Cheney frequently offers her advice and opinions during the crisis. [Clarke, 2004, pp 18]
People and organizations involved: Karen Hughes, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Lynne Cheney, Secret Service, Mary Matalin, Joshua Bolten, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Richard A. Clarke, Condoleezza Rice
          

(10:30 a.m.): Medevac Helicopter Provides Scare for Bunkered Cheney, Others      Complete 911 Timeline

       Vice President Cheney and others in the White House bunker are given a report of another airplane heading toward Washington. Cheney's Chief of Staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, later states, “We learn that a plane is five miles out and has dropped below 500 feet and can't be found; it's missing.” Believing they only have a minute or two before the plane crashes into Washington, Cheney orders fighters to engage the plane, saying, “Take it out.” However, reports that this is another hijacking are mistaken. It is learned later that day that a Medevac helicopter five miles away was mistaken for a hijacked plane. [Newsweek, 12/31/01; 9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

August 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. forms the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG, which aims to “educate the public” about the alleged threat from Iraq. A senior official involved with the group later describes it as “an internal working group, like many formed for priority issues, to make sure each part of the White House was fulfilling its responsibilities.” Members of the group include Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, James R. Wilkinson, Nicholas E. Calio, and policy advisers led by Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley, and I. Lewis Libby. They meet weekly in the White House Situation Room. A “strategic communications” task force under the WHIG is charged with planning speeches and writing white papers. [Washington Post, 8/10/2003] According to an intelligence source interviewed by the New York Daily News in October 2005, the group, on “a number of occasions,” will attempt “to push the envelope on things,”—“The [CIA] would say, ‘We just don't have the intelligence to substantiate that.’” [New York Daily News, 10/19/2005] An important part of the WHIG strategy is to feed their messages to friendly reporters such as New York Times reporter Judith Miller. James Bamford, in his book A Pretext for War, writes: “First OSP [Office of Special Plans] supplies false or exaggerated intelligence; then members of the WHIG leak it to friendly reporters, complete with prepackaged vivid imagery; finally, when the story breaks, senior officials point to it as proof and parrot the unnamed quotes they or their colleagues previously supplied.” [Bamford, 2004, pp 325]
People and organizations involved: Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, James R. Wilkinson, Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove, Andrew Card, White House Iraq Group, Stephen Hadley, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Mel Sembler
          

September 16, 2002      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Two days before the CIA is to issue an assessment (see (August 2002)) on Iraq's supposed links to militant Islamic groups, Pentagon officials working in the Office of Special Plans give a briefing directly to the White House; Vice-President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby; and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice's deputy, Stephen Hadley. The briefing says that there were “fundamental problems” with CIA intelligence-gathering methods and includes a detailed breakdown of the alleged April 2001 Prague meeting between Mohammed Atta and Iraqi diplomat Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani. [Telegraph, 7/11/04; Newsweek, 7/19/04]
People and organizations involved: Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Stephen Hadley
          

January 29, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell gives his chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, a 48-page report from the White House on Iraq's alleged arsenal of banned weapons. The report is meant to serve as the basis for Powell's upcoming speech to the UN (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003). Powell, skeptical of the report's data, instructs Wilkerson to have it looked over by the CIA. According to a senior official interviewed by James Bamford, the dossier was written primarily by John Hannah. I. Lewis Libby, Hannah's boss, may have also contributed to the report, according to Bamford's source. [Bamford, 2004, pp 368; Vanity Fair, 5/2004] The analysts at CIA will quickly determine that the documents are based on unreliable sources (see January 30, 2003-January 31, 2003).
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Larry Wilkerson, John Hannah
          

February 1, 2003-February 4, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       On February 1, Secretary of State Colin Powell begins rehearsing for his February 5 presentation to the UN Security Council (see 10:30 a.m. February 5, 2003) in which he will argue that Iraq represents a serious and imminent threat to the US. Powell is assisted by members of his staff, including his chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. [US News and World Report, 6/9/2003; Bamford, 2004, pp 368-9; Gentlemen's Quarterly (GQ), 4/29/2004] Several members of the White House Iraq Group drop in during the pre-speech sessions, including Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley, and Lewis Libby. George Tenet and his deputy director, John McLaughlin, are also present at times. [Bamford, 2004, pp 369; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230] Cheney's staff continues to pressure Powell to include several unsubstantiated and dubious allegations. The allegations that are most contested are the ones dealing with Iraq's alleged ties to terrorism. For example, the group insists that Powell “link Iraq directly to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington” and include the widely discredited allegation (see October 21, 2002) that Mohammed Atta had met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence officer (see April 8, 2001). [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230.; US News and World Report, 6/9/2003] But Powell and his staff reject a good portion of the hawks' material. At one point, Powell reportedly says, “I'm not reading this. This is bullsh_t.” [US News and World Report, 6/9/03; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230] An official later recalls: “On a number of occasions, ... [Powell] simply said, ‘I'm not using that, I'm not using that, that is not good enough. That's not something that I can support.’ And on each occasion he was fought by the vice president's office in the person of Scooter Libby, by the National Security Advisor [Condoleezza Rice] herself, by her deputy [Steve Hadley], and sometimes by the intelligence people—George [Tenet] and [Deputy CIA Director] John [McLaughlin].” [Bamford, 2004, pp 370] “[W]e fought tooth and nail with other members of the administration to scrub it and get the crap out,” Larry Wilkerson, Powell's Chief of Staff later tells GQ. [Gentlemen's Quarterly (GQ), 4/29/2004] In some instances, material rejected by Powell occasionally reappear in subsequent versions of the speech. “One of the most outrageous ones was the Mohammed Atta meeting in Prague. Steve Hadley on one occasion [put] it back in. We cut it and somehow it got back in. And the secretary said, ‘I thought I cut this?’ And Steve Hadley looked around and said, ‘My fault, Mr. Secretary, I'll put it back in.’ ‘Well, cut it, permanently!’ yelled Powell. It was all cartoon. The specious connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, much of which I subsequently found came probably from the INC and from their sources, defectors and so forth, [regarding the] training in Iraq for terrorists. ... No question in my mind that some of the sources that we were using were probably Israeli intelligence. That was one thing that was rarely revealed to us—if it was a foreign source.” [Bamford, 2004, pp 370-1]
People and organizations involved: Stephen Hadley, Larry Wilkerson, Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, John E. McLaughlin, Richard Armitage, White House Iraq Group, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Colin Powell
          

2:00 a.m. February 5, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet calls Colin Powell's hotel room at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City. Powell's chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson picks up the phone. Tenet says that he is concerned that too much has been cut from Powell's speech and tells Wilkerson that he wants to take one last look at the final draft. A copy of the speech is quickly sent to Tenet who is staying at another hotel. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230-31]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Larry Wilkerson
          

(10:00 a.m.) February 5, 2003      Events Leading to Iraq Invasion

       Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, attempts to telephone Colin Powell's chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, in order to persuade Powell to link Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda and include the widely discredited claim (see October 21, 2002) that Mohammed Atta had met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence officer in April 2001 (see April 8, 2001). Wilkerson refuses to take the call. “Scooter,” one State Department aide later explains to Vanity Fair magazine, “wasn't happy.” [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 232]
People and organizations involved: Larry Wilkerson, Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, Colin Powell
          

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