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Profile: Lewis Libby

 
  

Positions that Lewis 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

 
  

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Relations

 
  

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Lewis Libby actively participated in the following events:

 
  

March 8, 1992      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Defense Planning Guidance document, 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 paper causes controversy, because it hadn't yet been “scrubbed” to replace candid language with euphemisms. [New York Times, 3/10/92; New York Times, 3/11/92; The Observer, 4/7/02] 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; New York Times, 3/8/92 [B]] 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.” [The Observer, 4/7/02] The document is mainly written by Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis Libby, who hold relatively low posts at the time, but under Bush Jr. become Deputy Defense Secretary and Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, respectively. [Newsday, 3/16/03] The document conspicuously avoids 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] It also calls for “punishing” or “threatening punishment” against regional aggressors before they act. Interests to be defended pre-emptively 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 [Bush Jr.'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, in May 1992 the US releases an updated version of the document that stresses the US will work with the United Nations and its allies (see also January 1993). [The Washington Post, 5/24/92; Harper's, 10/02]
People and organizations involved: Lincoln Chafee, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Lewis Libby, Paul Wolfowitz
          

June 3, 1997      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a neoconservative think tank formed in the spring of 1997, issues its statement of principles. PNAC states that its aims are “to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests,” to achieve “a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad,” “to increase defense spending significantly,” to challenge “regimes hostile to US interests and values,” and to “accept America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.” [Sources: Statement of Principles, 6/3/97] The statement is significant because it is signed by a group who will become “a rollcall of today's Bush inner circle.” [Guardian, 2/26/03] ABC's Ted Koppel will later say PNAC's ideas have “been called a secret blueprint for US global domination” (see January 26, 1998) (see also September 2000, August 21, 2001 (B)). [ABC News, 3/5/03 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz, Steve Rosen, Peter Rodman, Henry S. Rowen, Vin Weber, Midge Decter, George Weigel, Norman Podhoretz, Aaron Friedberg, Francis Fukuyama, Elliott Abrams, Steve Forbes, Donald Rumsfeld, William J. Bennett, Dick Cheney, Zalmay M. Khalilzad, Lewis Libby, Dan Quayle, Jeb Bush, Donald Kagan, Fred C. Ikle, Eliot A. Cohen, Paula J. Dobriansky, Hasam Amin, Frank Gaffney
          

September 2000      Complete Iraq timeline

       The neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century writes a “blueprint” for the “creation of a ‘global Pax Americana’ ” (see also June 3, 1997). The document, titled, Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century, was written for the Bush team even before the 2000 Presidential election. It was written for future Vice President Cheney, future Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, future Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Florida Governor and President Bush's brother Jeb Bush, and future Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff Lewis Libby. The report calls itself 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.” The plan shows that the Bush team intended to take military control of Persian Gulf oil whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power and should retain control of the region even if there is no threat. It says: “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.” The report calls for the control of space through a new “US Space Forces,” the political control of the internet, 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.” (see also Spring 2001 and April 2001 (D)). [Sunday Herald, 9/7/02 Sources: Rebuilding America's Defenses] However, the report complains that these 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] In an NBC interview at about the same time, Vice Presidential candidate Cheney defends Bush Jr.'s position of maintaining Clinton's policy not to attack Iraq because 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] This report and the Project for the New American Century generally are mostly ignored until a few weeks before the start of the Iraq war (see February-March 20, 2003).
People and organizations involved: Robert Killebrew, Dov Zakheim, Robert Kagan, Fred Kagan, Donald Kagan, William Kristol, David Fautua, Dan Goure, Mark Lagon, Barry Watts, Michael Vickers, Mackubin Owens, Abram Shulsky, Gary Schmitt, David Epstein, Phil Meilinger, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Martinage, James Lasswell, Lewis Libby, Thomas Donnelly, Devon Gaffney Cross, Eliot A. Cohen, William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton, Roger Barnett, Alvin Bernstein, Stephen Cambone, Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Steve Rosen  Additional Info 
          

September 16, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Two days before the CIA is to issue an assessment (see (August 2002)) on Iraq's supposed links to terrorism, 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, 7/11/2004; Newsweek, 7/19/2004]
People and organizations involved: Stephen Hadley, Lewis Libby
          

January 29, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       US Secretary of State Colin Powell gives his chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, a 48-page report from the White House on Iraq's arsenal of banned weapons. The dossier—written in the office of Dick Cheney under the guidance of his two hawkish aids, Lewis “Scooter” Libby and John Hannah—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. The analysts at the agency will quickly determine that the documents are based on unreliable sources (see January 30, 2003-January 31, 2003). [Vanity Fair, 5/2004]
People and organizations involved: Lewis Libby, Colin Powell, John Hannah, Larry Wilkerson
          

February 1, 2003-February 4, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       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. [Gentlemen's Quarterly (GQ), 4/29/2004; US News and World Report, 6/9/2003] Several other officials drop in during the pre-speech sessions, including George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, Lewis Libby, and CIA deputy director John McLaughlin. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230] Cheney's staff continues to pressure Powell to include several unsubstantiated and dubious allegations. 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, during one of the rehearsals, Powell says, “I'm not reading this. This is bullshit.” [US News and World Report, 6/9/03; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 230] “[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]
People and organizations involved: Larry Wilkerson, Richard Armitage, Condoleezza Rice, John McLaughlin, Lewis Libby, George Tenet, Colin Powell
          

2:00 a.m. February 5, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       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: Larry Wilkerson, Lewis Libby, George Tenet
          

(10:00 a.m.) February 5, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       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: Lewis Libby, Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powell
          

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