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Profile: Donald Rumsfeld

 
  

Positions that Donald Rumsfeld has held:

  • US Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush


 

Quotes

 
  

Summary, 2:40PM (EST), September 11, 2001

   “[I want the] best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time. Not only UBL [Osama bin Laden].... Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.” [CBS News 9/4/02]

Associated Events

Quote, January 19, 2002

   “The test is, is Saddam cooperating or is he not cooperating. That is what ought to be measured. That's what the UN asked for. .. The President said time is running out and if the test is, are the Iraqis going to co-operate, that's something you're going to know in a matter of weeks, not in months or years.” [The Australian, 1/20/03, New York Times, 1/19/03, International Herald Tribune, 1/20/03]

Associated Events

Quote, February 8, 2002

   “In short, we will continue to treat [Afghan and al-Qaeda detainees] consistent with the principles of fairness, freedom and justice that our nation was founded on, the principles that they obviously abhor and which they sought to attack and destroy. Notwithstanding the isolated pockets of international hyperventilation, we do not treat detainees in any manner other than a manner that is humane.” [US Department of State, 2/08/2002]

Associated Events

Quote, August 20, 2002

   “Think of the prelude to World War Two. Think of all the countries that said, well, we don't have enough evidence. I mean, Mein Kampf had been written. Hitler had indicated what he intended to do. Maybe he won't attack us. Maybe he won't do this or that. Well, there were millions of people dead because of the miscalculations. The people who argued for waiting for more evidence have to ask themselves how they are going to feel at that point where another event occurs.... There are al-Qaeda in a number of locations in Iraq.... The suggestion that ... [Iraqi government officials] who are so attentive in denying human rights to their population aren't aware of where these folks [al-Qaeda] are or what they're doing is ludicrous in a vicious, repressive dictatorship.... it's very hard to imagine that the government is not aware of what's taking place in the country.” [Telegraph 8/21/02, Fox News, 8/20/03, Guardian 8/22/02, New York Times 8/20/02]

Associated Events

Quote, September 3, 2002

   “We know that they were a lot closer than any of the experts had estimated they would be with respect to [developing] a nuclear weapon. To the extent that they have kept their nuclear scientists together and working on these efforts, one has to assume they've not been playing tiddlywinks.” [UPI 9/3/02, Associated Press 9/3/02, Centcom, 9/3/2002]

Associated Events

Quote, September 19, 2002

   “I was, for a period in late '83 and early '84, asked by President Reagan to serve as Middle East envoy after the Marines—241 Marines were killed in Beirut. As part of my responsibilities I did visit Baghdad. I did meet with Mr. Tariq Aziz. And I did meet with Saddam Hussein and spent some time visiting with them about the war they were engaged in with Iran. At the time our concern, of course, was Syria and Syria's role in Lebanon and Lebanon's role in the Middle East and the terrorist acts that were taking place. As a private citizen I was assisting only for a period of months.” [US Congressional Record: September 20, 2002 (Senate) Page S8987-S8998]

Associated Events

Quote, Fall 2002

   “If you [Source: worry about just] the cost, the money, Iraq is a very different situation from Afghanistan ... Iraq has oil. They have financial resources.” [Financial Times, 1/16/04]

Associated Events

Quote, December 3, 2002

   “Any country on the face of the earth with an active intelligence program knows that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.” [BBC, 12/4/02]

Associated Events

Quote, January 7, 2003

   “To the extent that prior to using force he were to reveal intelligence information in a way that damaged the ability to conduct the conflict, it would be, needless to say, unfortunately, risky for the coalition forces' lives engaged,” said Rumsfeld. “And I don't know what calibration would be made there. On the one hand, you have the advantage of persuading the publics in the world and countries of the facts of the matter, and on the other hand, by so doing, you weaken your ability to do that which you have decided to do.” [The Times of London 1/9/03]

Associated Events

Quote, January 29, 2003

   Saddam's regime had “the design for a nuclear weapon; it was working on several different methods of enriching uranium, and recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” [Washington Post, 8/8/03]

Associated Events

Quote, March 24, 2003

   “We have seen intelligence over many months that they have chemical and biological weapons, and that they have dispersed them and that they're weaponized and that, in one case at least, the command and control arrangements have been established.” [Village Voice, 6/18/03]

Associated Events

Quote, March 27, 2003

   “When it comes to reconstruction, before we turn to the American taxpayer, we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government and the international community.” [Financial Times, 1/16/04]

Associated Events

Quote, March 30, 2003

   “We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.” [Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 7/17/03]

Associated Events

Undefined, April 13, 2003

   “The task is to create an environment that is sufficiently permissive that the Iraqi people can fashion a new government. And what they will do is come together in one way or another and select an interim authority of some kind. Then that group will propose a constitution and a more permanent authority of some kind. And over some period of months, the Iraqis will have their government selected by Iraqi people.” [US Department of Defense, 4/13/2003]

Associated Events

Undefined, April 24, 2003

   “If you're suggesting, how would we feel about an Iranian-type government with a few clerics running everything in the country, the answer is: That isn't going to happen.” [Asssociated Press, 4/25/2003, The Guardian, 4/25/2003]

Associated Events

Undefined, May 27, 2003

   “While our goal is to put functional and political authority in the hands of Iraqis as soon as possible, the Coalition Provisional Authority has the responsibility to fill the vacuum of power . . . by asserting temporary authority over the country. The coalition will do so. It will not tolerate self-appointed "leaders."” [US Department of Defense, 5/27/2003]

Associated Events

Undefined, May 29, 2003

   “[When asked: When do you think there might be a government in place, even a provisional government in place in Iraq? Rumsfeld reponds:] I don't know.” [Department of Defense, 5/29/2003]

Associated Events

Quote, September 16, 2003

   “I've not seen any indication that would lead me to believe that” Iraq had a hand in the September 11 attacks. [Associated Press, 9/16/03]

Associated Events


 

Relations

 
  

Related Entities:


 

Donald Rumsfeld actively participated in the following events:

 
  

December 19, 1983      US support of Iraq WMD

       President Reagan dispatches US envoy to the Middle East, Donald Rumsfeld, to convey the administration's intention to “resume [US] diplomatic relations with Iraq.” [American Gulf War Veterans Association, 9/10/2001; Seattle Post Intelligencer, 9/24/2002]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Ronald Reagan
          

March 24, 1984      US support of Iraq WMD

       The US State Department briefs Donald Rumsfeld who is preparing to make another visit to Baghdad (see (March 26, 1984)). In a memo to Rumsfeld, Secretary of State George Shultz laments that relations with Iraq have soured because of the State Department's March 5 condemnation (see March 5, 1984) of Iraq's use of chemical weapons and expresses considerable concern over the future of the Aqaba pipeline project [to be built by Bechtel (see December 2, 1983)] which the US is pushing. Shultz writes:“Two event have worsened the atmosphere in Baghdad since your last stop there in December: (1) Iraq has only partly repulsed the initial thrust of a massive Iranian invasion, losing the strategically significant Majnun Island oil fields and accepting heavy casualties; (2) Bilateral relations were sharply set back by our March 5 condemnation of Iraq for CW [chemical weapons] use, despite our repeated warnings that this issue would emerge [as a public issue] sooner or later. Given its wartime preoccupations and its distress at our CW statement, the Iraqi leadership probably will have little interest in discussing Lebanon, the Arab-Israeli conflict, or other matters except as they may impinge on Iraq's increasingly desperate struggle for survival. If Saddam or Tariq Aziz receives you against consider, and to reject, a pending application from Westinghouse to participate in a $160 million portion of a $1 billion Hyundai thermal power plant project in Iraq, this decision will only confirm Iraqi perceptions that ExIm [Export-Import Bank] financing for the Aqaba pipeline is out of the question. Eagleburger tried to put this perception to a rest, however, emphasizing to Kittani the administration's firm support for the line (see March 15, 1984). The door is not yet closed to ExIm or other USG [US government] financial assistance to this project....” At the very end of the cable, it is noted that “Iraq officials have professed to be at a loss to explain our actions as measured against our stated objectives. As with our CW statement, their temptation is to give up rational analysis and retreat to the line that US policies are basically anti-Arab and hostage to the desires of Israel.” [Institute for Policy Studies, 3/24/03 Sources: US Department of State briefing to Donald Rumsfeld, March 24, 1984]
People and organizations involved: George Shultz, Lawrence Eagleburger, Elda James, Esq., Donald Rumsfeld
          

(March 26, 1984)      US support of Iraq WMD

       Donald Rumsfeld travels to Baghdad to meet with Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz. While in Iraq, Rumsfeld discusses the proposed Iraq-Jordan Aqaba pipeline [to be built by Bechtel (see December 2, 1983)], relays an Israeli offer to help Iraq in its war against Iran, and expresses the Reagan administration's hope that Iraq will obtain Export-Import Bank credits. [Institute for Policy Studies, 3/24/03; American Gulf War Veterans Association 9/10/2001; Common Dreams, 8/2/2002 Sources: Teicher Affidavit]
People and organizations involved: Tariq Aziz, Donald Rumsfeld
          

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
          

January 26, 1998      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), an influential neoconservative think tank, publishes a letter to President Clinton urging war against Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein because he is a “hazard” to “a significant portion of the world's supply of oil.” In a foretaste of what eventually happens, the letter calls for the US to go to war alone, attacks the United Nations, and says the US should not be “crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.” The letter is signed by many who will later lead the 2003 Iraq war. 10 of the 18 signatories later join the Bush Administration, including (future) Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Assistant Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Undersecretaries of State John Bolton and Paula Dobriansky, presidential adviser for the Middle East Elliott Abrams, and Bush's special Iraq envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. [Sunday Herald, 3/16/03 Sources: January 26, 1998 Open Letter to Bill Clinton] Clinton does heavily bomb Iraq in late 1998, but the bombing doesn't last long and its long-term effect is the break off of United Nations weapons inspections. [New York Times, 3/22/03]
People and organizations involved: Richard Perle, William Schneider Jr., Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, Jeffrey T. Bergner, William Kristol, Donald Rumsfeld, Zalmay M. Khalilzad, Robert Kagan, Francis Fukuyama, Peter Rodman, Paula J. Dobriansky, John R. Bolton, Vin Weber, Paul Wolfowitz, James Woolsey, William J. Bennett, William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton, Robert B. Zoellick
          

February 19, 1998      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Committee for Peace and Security publishes an open letter to President Bill Clinton outlining a 9-point “comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam and his regime.” The letter is signed by a litany of former US government officials known for their neoconservative viewpoints. Several of the signatories are also involved with the Project for the New American Century and had endorsed a similar letter published by that organization the previous month. [Committee For Peace and Security, 2/19/98; CNN, 2/20/98 Sources: February 19, 1998 Open Letter to Bill Clinton]
People and organizations involved: William Kristol, Robert Kagan, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams, Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, Donald Rumsfeld, Dov Zakheim, Paul Wolfowitz, Joshua Muravchik, Robert A. Pastor, Martin Peretz, Roger Robinson, Peter Rodman, Robert C. McFarlane, Jarvis Lynch, Frederick L. Lewis, Bernard Lewis, Paula J. Dobriansky, William B. Clark, Fred C. Ikle, Sven F. Kraemer, David Wurmser, Zalmay M. Khalilzad, Frank Gaffney, Frank Carlucci, Max Singer, Richard Armitage, Richard V. Allen, Stephen Solarz, John R. Bolton, Gary Schmitt, Jeffrey T. Bergner, Stephen Bryen, Jeffrey Gedmin, Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Caspar Weinberger, Peter Rosenblatt, Leon Wienseltier, Richard Burt
          

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 
          

January 11, 2001      US Military

       The Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization, chaired by Donald Rumsfeld, issues its report to Congress warning that the US military's satellites are vulnerable to attack. The military has some 600 satellites that it depends on for photo reconnaissance, targeting, communications, weather forecasting, early warning and intelligence gathering. An attack on these satellites, or on those belonging to US businesses, would be disastrous for the US economy and military, the report says. The report argues that the US must establish a military presence in space to protect its assets from a “Space Pearl Harbor” and asserts that warfare in space is a “virtual certainty.” To counter this vulnerability, the commission recommends that the US develop “superior space capabilities,” including the ability to “negate the hostile use of space against US interests.” It must project power “in, from and through space,” the report says. The president should “have the option to deploy weapons in space to deter threats to and, if necessary, defend against attacks on US interests.” [MSNBC, 4/27/2001; Agence France Presse, 1/29/2004; Toronto Globe and Mail, 5/9/2001; American Foreign Services Association, 4/2001 Sources: Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

(January 30, 2001)      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Bush White House holds its first National Security Council meeting. The lead discussion of the meeting centers on the need to remove Saddam Hussein from power. US Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neill, recalling the meeting, will tell CBS News two years later: “From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go ... From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime. Day one, these things were laid and sealed.” O'Neill will say officials never questioned the logic behind this policy. No one ever asked, “Why Saddam?” and “Why now?” Instead, the issue that needed to be resolved was how this could be accomplished. “It was all about finding a way to do it,” O'Neill will explain. “That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this.’ ” [CBS News, 1/10/04; New York Times, 1/12/04; Guardian, 1/12/04; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 234 Sources: Paul O?Neill] After information of this meeting is revealed by Paul O'Neill, the White House will attempt to downplay its significance. “... The stated policy of my administration toward Saddam Hussein was very clear,” Bush will tell reporters during a visit to Mexico In January 2004. “Like the previous administration, we were for regime change. ... And in the initial stages of the administration, as you might remember, we were dealing with desert badger or fly-overs and fly-betweens and looks, and so we were fashioning policy along those lines.” [New York Times, 1/12/04] But another official, who is also present at the meeting, will later say that the tone of the meeting implies a policy much more aggressive than that of the previous administration. “The president told his Pentagon officials to explore the military options, including use of ground forces,” the official will tell ABC News. “That went beyond the Clinton administration's halfhearted attempts to overthrow Hussein without force.” [ABC News, 1/13/04 Sources: Unnamed senior official of the Bush administration] Other people, in addition to O'Neill and Bush, who are likely in attendance include Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers. [Sources: National Security Presidential Directives—NSPD-1, 2/13/01]]
People and organizations involved: Paul O?Neill, Colin Powell, Richard B. Myers, Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush
          

February 1, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Bush White House holds its second National Security Council meeting. Again, the issue of regime change in Iraq is a central topic. One of the memos discussed during the meeting is titled, “Plan for post-Saddam Iraq.” It reportedly discusses the need for troops in a post-Saddam occupation, war crimes tribunals, and how to divvy up Iraq's oil wealth. [CBS News, 1/10/04; New York Times, 1/12/04 Sources: Paul O?Neill] In attendance is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who speaks in favor of removing Saddam Hussein. It would “demonstrate what US policy is all about,” he says, and help transform the Middle East. According to Paul O'Neill, Rumsfeld talks at the meeting “in general terms about post-Saddam Iraq, dealing with the Kurds in the north, the oil fields, the reconstruction of the country's economy, and the ‘freeing of the Iraqi people.’ ” [New York Times, 1/12/04 Sources: Paul O?Neill] Other people, in addition to O'Neill, Bush, and Rumsfeld, who are likely in attendance include Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard B. Myers. [Sources: National Security Presidential Directives—NSPD-1, 2/13/01]]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Richard B. Myers, Condoleezza Rice, Paul O?Neill, George W. Bush, George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld
          

Shortly after September 11, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       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 another neocon, 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. 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. [Washington Times, 1/14/02; Mother Jones, 1/04; New York Times, 10/24/02; Los Angeles Times, 2/8/04; Reuters, 2/19/04] 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 terrorist 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. [Washington Times, 1/14/02; Mother Jones, 1/04; Los Angeles Times, 2/8/04] 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). [Mother Jones, 1/04; American Conservative, 12/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, F. Michael Maloof, Harold Rhode, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle
          

2:40PM (EST), September 11, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       About five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld learns that three of the names on the airplane passenger manifests are suspected al-Qaeda operatives. Notes taken by one of the aides, read: “[I want the] best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time. Not only UBL [Usama bin Laden]. ... Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.” However, at this time, there is no intelligence indicating that Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks. [CBS News, 9/4/02; Bamford, 2004, p. 285 Sources: Notes taken by an aide of Rumsfeld on 9/11]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld  Additional Info 
          

September 12, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       White House counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke meets with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush, and Secretary of State Colin Powell. During the briefing Rumsfeld suggests that the US should bomb Iraq in retaliation for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. “Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq,” Clarke will later recall in his book, Against All Enemies. “... We all said, ‘but no, no. Al-Qaeda is in Afghanistan’ and Rumsfeld said, ‘There aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq.’ ” [Clarke, 2004.; Associated Press, 3/20/04; Reuters, 3/19/04; Washington Post, 3/22/2004 Sources: Richard Clarke] Secretary of State Powell agrees with Clarke that the immediate focus should be on al-Qaeda. However, Powell also says, “Public opinion has to be prepared before a move against Iraq is possible.” Clarke complains to him, “Having been attacked by al-Qaeda, for us now to go bombing Iraq in response would be like our invading Mexico after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor.” President Bush notes the goal should be replacing the Iraqi government, not just bombing it, but the military warns an invasion would need a large force and many months to assemble. [Clarke, 2004.] Rumsfeld's view is said to be closely aligned with that of his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, who believes Saddam, not Osama bin Laden or al-Qaeda, should be the principal target of the “war on terrorism.” [Woodward, Bob. Bush at War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002. Pg. 49] Commenting on his feelings after the meeting, Clarke will later write: “At first I was incredulous that we were talking about something other than getting al-Qaeda. I realized with almost a sharp physical pain that (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to try to take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda about Iraq. Since the beginning of the administration, indeed well before, they had been pressing for a war with Iraq. My friends in the Pentagon had been telling me that the word was we would be invading Iraq sometime in 2002.” [Washington Post, 3/22/2004] Bush administration officials will contest the accusations Clarke—who was a registered Republican in 2000—makes in his book, dismissing them as politically motivated comments made during an election year. [Associated Press, 3/22/04] But another source had provided a similar account a year earlier. In his book, Bush at War, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward stated that during a White House meeting, Rumsfeld had suggested that the US should attack Iraq. (Note: It is not clear whether or not this meeting is the same one referred to by Clarke.) [Woodward, Bob. Bush at War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002. Pg. 49] Clarke also says in his book, referring to unspecified administration officials, “They were talking about Iraq on 9/11. They were talking about it on 9/12.” [Clarke, Richard. Against All Enemies. Free Press, 2004.; Associated Press, 3/20/04; Reuters, 3/19/04 Sources: Richard Clarke]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, George W. Bush, Richard Clarke, Donald Rumsfeld  Additional Info 
          

September 15, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       George W. Bush, CIA Director George Tenet, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, Paul Wolfowitz, and perhaps other officials as well, meet at Camp David to discuss war plans in Afghanistan. The meeting reportedly begins at 9:30 AM with a prayer. [Washington Post, 1/31/02; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 232] There is discission on a paper submitted by the Defense Department depicting Iraq, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda as priority targets. Paul Wolfowitz pushes for regime change in Iraq, claiming that there is a 10 to 50 percent chance that Iraq was involved in the attacks. [Woodward, Bob. Bush at War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002. Pg. 83; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 232; Washington Post, 7/23/2004]
People and organizations involved: George Tenet, George W. Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert S. Mueller III, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul O?Neill, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell  Additional Info 
          

September 19, 2001-September 20, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Defense Policy Board (DPB) meets in secrecy in Rumsfeld's Pentagon conference room on September 19 and 20 for nineteen hours to discuss the option of taking military action against Iraq. This is reported in detail by the New York Times three weeks later on October 12 [New York Times, 10/12/01] Among those attending the meeting are the 18 members of the Defense Policy Board, Paul Wolfowitz, and Donald Rumsfeld, Ahmed Chalabi, and Bernard Lewis. [New York Times 10/12/01; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 236] Secretary of State Colin Powell and other State Department officials in charge of US policy toward Iraq are not invited and are not informed of the meeting. A source will later tell the New York Times that Powell was irritated about not being briefed on the meeting. [New York Times 10/12/01] During the seminar, two of Richard Perle's invited guests, Princeton professor Bernard Lewis and Ahmed Chalabi, the president of the Iraqi National Congress, are given the opportunity to speak. Lewis says that the US must encourage democratic reformers in the Middle East, “such as my friend here, Ahmed Chalbi.” Chalabi argues that Iraq is a breeding ground for terrorists and asserts that Saddam's regime has weapons of mass destruction. [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 232] During another part of the meeting, the attendees write a letter to President Bush calling for the removal of Saddam Hussein. “[E]ven if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism,” the letter reads. The letter is published in The Washington Times on September 20 (see September 20, 2001) in the name of The Project for a New American Century (PNAC), a conservative think tank that believes the US needs to shoulder the responsibility for maintaining “peace” and “security” in the world by strengthening its global hegemony. [Project for a New American Century, 9/20/01; Manila Times, 7/19/03] They also discuss how to overcome some of the obvious diplomatic and political pressures that will impede a policy of regime change in Iraq. [New York Times 10/12/01] Bush reportedly rejects the proposal, as both Cheney and Powell agree that there is no evidence implicating Saddam Hussein in the attacks. [New York Times 10/12/01 Sources: Unnamed senior administration officials and defense experts]
People and organizations involved: Adm. David E. Jeremiah, James Woolsey, Henry A. Kissinger, Newt Gingrich, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Harold Brown, Defense Policy Board, Dan Quayle, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, Bernard Lewis, James R. Schlesinger, Ahmed Chalabi
          

November 21, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld speak in private. Bush asks the Defense Secretary what kind of plan the Pentagon has for invading Iraq. When Rumsfeld says its current plan is outdated, Bush instructs him to devise a new one. “Let's get started on this,” Bush will later tell Bob Woodward. “And get Tommy Franks looking at what it would take to protect America by removing Saddam Hussein if we have to.” Bush requests that discussion about Iraq remain low-key. “I knew what would happen if people thought we were developing a potential war plan for Iraq,” Bush will say to Woodward. Bush does not share the details of his conversation with Condoleezza Rice, only telling her that Rumsfeld would be working on Iraq. [Woodward, 2004 cited in Associated Press, 4/16/2004; Woodward, 2004 cited in New York Times, 4/17/2004; Woodward, 2004 cited in Washington Post 1/18/2004 Sources: George Bush and other top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward] When General Tommy Franks—who already has his hands full with the operation in Afghanistan—learns that the administration is considering plans to invade Iraq, he utters “a string of obscenities.” [Woodward, 2004 cited in Associated Press, 4/16/2004 Sources: Top officials interviewed by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward] General Franks will meet with Bush and brief him on the plan's progress on December 28 (see December 28, 2001).
People and organizations involved: Thomas Franks, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld
          

(Late 2001)      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld authorizes the creation of a “special-access program,” or SAP, with “blanket advance approval to kill or capture and, if possible, interrogate ‘high value’ targets in the Bush administration's war on terror.” The operation, known as “Copper Green,” is approved by Condoleezza Rice and known to President Bush. [The New Yorker, 5/24/2004 Sources: Unnamed former US intelligence official] Less than two hundred operatives and officials, including Donald Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers, are “completely read into the program.” The operatives are given advanced approval to carry out “instant interrogations—using force if necessary—at secret CIA detention centers scattered around the world.” Information obtained through the program is sent to the Pentagon in real-time. “The rules are ‘Grab whom you must. Do what you want,’ ” one former intelligence official will explain to journalist Seymour Hersh. [The New Yorker, 5/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Richard B. Myers
          

2002-2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       The Bush administration develops plans for post-war Iraq. But the process is plagued with infighting between a small, highly secretive group of planners in the Pentagon and experts at the CIA and State Department who are involved with the “Future of Iraq Project” (see April 2002-March 2003). The two opposing groups disagree on a wide range of topics, but it is the Pentagon group which exerts the strongest influence on the White House's plans (see Fall 2002) for administering post-Saddam Iraq. One State Department official complains to The Washington Post in October 2002 “that the Pentagon is seeking to dominate every aspect of Iraq's postwar reconstruction.” The group of Pentagon planners includes several noted neoconservatives who work in, or in association with, the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans (see September 2002) and the Near East/South Asia bureau. The planners have close ties to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), two think tanks with a shared vision of reshaping the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East in favor of US and Israeli interests. The Pentagon planning group “had a visionary strategy that it hoped would transform Iraq into an ally of Israel, remove a potential threat to the Persian Gulf oil trade and encircle Iran with US friends and allies,” Knight Ridder Newspapers will later observe. The group's objectives put it at odds with planners at the CIA and State Department whose approach and objectives are much more prudent. The Pentagon unit works independently of the CIA and State Department and pays little attention to the work of those two agencies. Critics complain that the group is working in virtual secrecy and evading the scrutiny and oversight of others involved in the post-war planning process by confining their inter-agency communications to discussions with their neoconservative colleagues working in other parts of the government. The Pentagon planners even have a direct line to the office of Dick Cheney where their fellow neoconservative, Lewis Libby, is working. [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03; Washington Post, 4/2/03; Associated Press, 11/12/02] In the fall of 2002, the various groups involved in planning for post-war Iraq send their recommendations to the White House's Executive Steering Committee, which reviews their work and then passes on its own recommendations to the cabinet heads (see Fall 2002). According to a July 2003 report by Knight Ridder Newspapers, the ultimate responsibility for deciding the administration's post-war transition plans lay with Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03]
The Office of Special Plans -
The civilian planners at the Pentagon believe that the UN should exert no influence over the structure, make-up, or policy of the interim Iraqi post-Saddam government. They seek to limit the UN's role to humanitarian and reconstruction projects, and possibly security. The State Department, however, believes that the US will not be able to do it alone and that UN participation in post-Saddam Iraq will be essential. [Observer, 4/6/03; Los Angeles Times, 4/2/03]
The Pentagon group wants to install Ahmad Chalabi, the controversial Iraqi exile leader of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), as leader of post-Saddam Iraq. [American Prospect, 5/1/03; Knight Ridder, 7/12/03 Sources: Richard Perle] The group thinks that the Iraqis will welcome Chalabi, who claims he has a secret network inside and outside the Ba'ath government which will quickly fill in the power vacuum to restore order to the country. Chalabi is a notorious figure who is considered untrustworthy by the State Department and CIA and who has a history of financial misdealings. [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03] But the Pentagon is said to be enamored with Chalabi “because he [advocates] normal diplomatic relations with Israel” which they believe will “‘ [take] off the board’ one of the only remaining major Arab threats to Israeli security.” Another geopolitical benefit to installing Chalabi is that he can help the US contain “the influence of Iran's radical Islamic leaders in the region, because he would ... [provide] bases in Iraq for US troops,” which would “complete Iran's encirclement by American military forces around the Persian Gulf and US friends in Russia and Central Asia.” [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03 Sources: Unnamed Bush administration official] Danielle Pletka, vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, with close ties to the Pentagon's planning group, tells Robert Dreyfuss of American Prospect Magazine that the State Department's perception of Chalabi is wrong. “The [Defense Department] is running post-Saddam Iraq,” said Pletka, almost shouting. “The people at the State Department don't know what they are talking about! Who the hell are they? ... the simple fact is, the president is comfortable with people who are comfortable with the INC.” [American Prospect, 5/1/03]
The Pentagon's planning unit believes that the Iraqis will welcome US troops as liberators and that any militant resistance will be short-lived. They do not develop a contingency plan for persistent civil unrest. [Knight Ridder, 7/12/03] However the State Department's “Future of Iraq” planning project is more prudent, noting that Iraqis will likely be weary of US designs on their country. [New York Times, 10/19/03]
The Pentagon planners believe that Iraq's oil reserves—estimated to contain some 112 billion barrels of oil—should be used to help fund the reconstruction of Iraq. They also advocate a plan that would give the US more control over Iraq's oil. “[The Pentagon] hawks have long argued that US control of Iraq's oil would help deliver a second objective,” reports the Observer. “That is the destruction of OPEC, the oil producers' cartel, which they argue is ‘evil’—that is, incompatible with American interests.” The State Department, however, believes such aggressive policies will surely infuriate Iraqis and give credence to suspicions that the invasion is motivated by oil interests. One critic of the plan says “that only a puppet Iraqi government would acquiesce to US supervision of the oil fields and that one so slavish to US interests risks becoming untenable with Iraqis.” [Observer, 11/3/02; Insight, 12/28/02]
People and organizations involved: Project for the New American Century (PNAC), Donald Rumsfeld, Ahmed Chalabi, Condoleezza Rice, Danielle Pletka, American Enterprise Institute  Additional Info 
          

January 8, 2002      US Military

       Congress receives an edited version of the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), a comprehensive review laying “out the direction for American nuclear forces over the next five to ten years.” [Sources: Nuclear Posture Review (Excerpts)] Congress requested the review in September 2000. [Los Angeles Times, 3/9/2002] The classified document, signed by Donald Rumsfeld and now being used by the US Strategic Command to prepare a nuclear war plan, advocates that the US adopt a “New Triad” of weapon types for its strategic arsenal that would include an “offensive strike leg” (nuclear and conventional forces), “active and passive defenses” (anti-missile systems and other defenses) and “a responsive defense infrastructure” (ability to develop and produce nuclear weapons and resume nuclear testing). The new triad would replace the United States' current triad of bombers, long-range land-based missiles and submarine-launched missiles. [Los Angeles Times, 3/9/2002; Los Angeles Times, 3/10/2002; Globe and Mail, 3/12/2002 Sources: Nuclear Posture Review (Excerpts)] The report asserts that the new strategy is necessary in order to assure “allies and friends,” “dissuade competitors,” “deter aggressors” like rogue states and terrorist organizations, and “defeat enemies.” [Globe and Mail, 3/12/2002 Sources: Nuclear Posture Review (Excerpts)] The review offers several possible scenarios where nuclear weapons might be used. For example, the document explains such weapons could be deployed to “pre-empt” the use of weapons of mass destruction against American or allied troops; in retaliation for an attack involving nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons; “in the event of surprising military developments;” or against targets that the US is incapable of destroying by conventional means, such as bunkers located deep underground. The NPR even names countries that could become targets of US nuclear weapons. For example, it says that they could be used against China, North Korea, Russia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, or any Arab country that threatens Israel. [Los Angeles Times, 3/9/2002; Telegraph, 3/10/2002; Los Angeles Times, 3/10/2002] The NPR says that nuclear weapons could be deployed using ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, or other modified conventional weapons. US Special Forces on the ground could be used to pin-point the targets and direct the weapon's deployment. [Telegraph, 3/10/2002; Los Angeles Times, 3/10/2002] Arms control advocates warn that the document shows that the Bush administration does not view its nuclear arsenal only as a weapon of last resort or as a deterrent. They also say that the new policy would encourage other countries to develop their own nuclear programs. [Los Angeles Times, 3/9/2002]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

February 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Vice President Dick Cheney prepares for a March trip to the Middle East. According to public statements by the Bush administration, Cheney will be conferring with Arab leaders on US Iraq policy. However, a senior Bush administration official tells the Philadelphia Inquirer: “He's not going to beg for support. He's going to inform them that the President's decision has been made and will be carried out, and if they want some input into how and when it's carried out, now's the time for them to speak up.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/13/02 Sources: Unnamed Bush administration official]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

February 8, 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Donald Rumsfeld says during a Pentagon press briefing that the US will “continue” to treat Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners humanely. “In short, we will continue to treat them consistent with the principles of fairness, freedom and justice that our nation was founded on, the principles that they obviously abhor and which they sought to attack and destroy. Notwithstanding the isolated pockets of international hyperventilation, we do not treat detainees in any manner other than a manner that is humane.” [US Department of State, 2/08/2002]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

March 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Retired Lieutenant-General Brent Scowcroft leads a presidential panel which proposes that control of the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency be transferred from the Department of Defense to the director of central intelligence (DCI). The plan is favored by the Congressional 911 commission but opposed by Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney. For years experts have argued that the US intelligence community's 13 disparate agencies— “85 percent of whose assets reside in the Defense Department” —should be consolidated under the DCI. [US News and World Report, 8/12/2002; The Washington Post, 8/19/2004]
People and organizations involved: Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Brent Scowcroft
          

June 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       The CIA issues a classified report titled, “Iraq and al-Qaeda: A Murky Relationship,” which reportedly expresses doubts that Iraq is involved in international terrorism. [The Washington Post, 10/20/2002; New York Times, 4/28/2004; Telegraph, 7/11/2004] Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith informs Donald Rumsfeld that the report should be read “for content only—and CIA's interpretation should be ignored.” [Telegraph, 7/11/2004]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Douglas Feith
          

June 21, 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sends his special assistant, Stephen A. Cambone, to the Armed Services Committee to deliver and explain a request that Congress create a new top-level Pentagon position—the undersecretary of defense for intelligence. The proposal is quietly slipped into the fiscal 2003 defense authorization bill as an amendment and approved by the Senate on August 1, by the Conference Committee on November 12 and signed by the President on December 2 (see December 2, 2002). The move is seen by some as an attempt to preempt the Scowcroft Plan (see March 2002). [US News and World Report, 8/12/2002; The Washington Post, 8/19/2004; USA Today, 10/24/2004] US News and World Report calls it a “bureaucratic coup” that “accomplishes many Pentagon goals in one fell swoop” and notes that “members of Congress aren't even aware it is happening, let alone what it means.” [US News and World Report, 8/12/2002] Intelligence expert James Bamford warns about the implications of creating this new post in an October 24 op-ed piece: “Creating a powerful new intelligence czar under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld could shift [the] delicate balance [between CIA and the DoD] away from the more independent-minded Tenet and increase the chances that intelligence estimates might be ‘cooked’ in favor of the Pentagon.... [I]f the Pentagon runs the spy world, the public and Congress will be reduced to a modern-day Diogenes, forever searching for that one honest report.” [USA Today, 10/24/2004] In 1998, then-Deputy Defense Secretary John J. Hamre had proposed a similar idea, but Congress opposed the suggested reform “in part from concern at the CIA that the new Pentagon official would have too much power.” [The Washington Post, 8/19/2004]
People and organizations involved: John J. Hamre, James Bamford, Stephen Cambone, Donald Rumsfeld
          

July 2002      US Military

       President George Bush issues an executive order transferring control of the covert operation Gray Fox (it now has a new codename) from the Army to Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in Tampa at the insistence of Rumsfeld's office. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed former high-level intelligence official interviewed by Seymour Hersh]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush
          

August 20, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, citing various “intelligence reports,” claims that the Iraqi government is “hosting, supporting or sponsoring” an al-Qaeda presence in Iraq. When asked if he has evidence to support this claim Rumsfeld responds: “There are al-Qaeda in a number of locations in Iraq.... The suggestion that ... [Iraqi government officials] who are so attentive in denying human rights to their population aren't aware of where these folks [al-Qaeda] are or what they're doing is ludicrous in a vicious, repressive dictatorship.” He also says, “It's very hard to imagine that the government is not aware of what's taking place in the country.” [US Department of Defense, 8/20/02; New York Times, 8/20/02] Shortly after the Defense Secretary's allegations, an unnamed intelligence official tells the Guardian, “They are not the official guests of the Government,” adding that any al-Qaeda in the region are still “on the run.” A month later, Knight Ridder reports that according to an anonymous US official, Rumsfeld's charge is based on information from Kurdish opposition groups which are feeding information to the Pentagon. [Guardian, 8/22/02; Knight Ridder, 9/25/02 Sources: Unnamed US official, Unnamed US intelligence official]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

August 27, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Speaking to US Marines of the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton in California, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says: “Leadership in the right direction finds followers and supporters.... It's less important to have unanimity than it is making the right decision and doing the right thing, even though at the outset it may seem lonesome.” [US Department of Defense, 8/27/03; Associated Press, 8/28/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

September 3, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       During a Defense Department news briefing, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says: “We know that they were a lot closer than any of the experts had estimated they would be with respect to [developing] a nuclear weapon. To the extent that they have kept their nuclear scientists together and working on these efforts, one has to assume they've not been playing tiddlywinks.” [Centcom, 9/3/2002; Associated Press 9/3/02; UPI 9/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

September 10, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       In an appearance on Good Morning America with Charlie Gibson, Rumsfeld dismisses the notion that the administration needs to disclose evidence about Iraq's banned weapons to the public before going to war. Gibson asks: “One of the sentinel moments of my life was when John Kennedy went on television and showed satellite photos of Soviet missiles on Cuban soil. Isn't it going to take and do you have that kind of direct evidence?”In response, Rumsfeld states: “You know, the idea of direct evidence is not like a court of law under Article 3 of our Constitution where your goal is to punish somebody for doing something wrong. That really isn't the case here. This is self defense, and the United States task is to see that we don't allow an event to happen that then one has to punish someone.” Gibson then follows with another question: “But you can't go to war without American public support and I'm asking don't you need that kind of direct evidence? Or do you have it, to get the American public support or to get a coalition?” Rumsfeld replies: “The evidence is certainly there. The President has to decide what precisely he believes is the best approach. And one thing he'd say is, the one course of action that's not acceptable is doing nothing.” [Financial Times, 9/11/02; US Department of Defense, 9/11/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

September 16, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says that President Bush has not decided to go to war. [Associated Press, 9/16/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush
          

September 18, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warns the House Armed Services Committee of the serious and imminent threat that Saddam Hussein poses to the West. He says: “No terrorist state poses a greater and more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein.” He adds: “What has not changed is Iraq's drive to acquire those weapons of mass destruction, and the fact that every approach that the United Nations has taken to stop Iraq's drive has failed. This is a critical moment for our country and for the world. Our resolve is being put to the test. It is a test unfortunately the world's free nations have failed before in recent history with unfortunate consequences.” [US Department of Defense, 9/18/02; Telegraph, 9/19/02; Agence France Presse, 9/19/02] The Secretary of Defense also says that Congress must authorize the President to use military force against Iraq before the Security Council votes on the issue. “Delaying a vote in the Congress would send a message that the US may be unprepared to take a stand, just as we are asking the international community to take a stand and as we are cautioning the Iraqi regime to consider its options,” argues Rumsfeld, adding, “Our job today—the President's, the Congress' and the United Nations'—is to ... anticipate vastly more lethal attacks before they happen and to make the right decision as to whether or not it's appropriate for this country to take action.... The goal is not inspections, the goal is disarmament.” [US Department of Defense, 9/18/02; Associated Press, 9/19/02] He also tries to discredit Iraq's September 16 (see September 16, 2002) offer to admit UN inspectors without conditions. He says: “There's no doubt in my mind but that the inspection program that currently is on the books wouldn't work because it's so much weaker than the earlier one. The more inspectors that are in there, the less likely something is going to happen. The longer nothing happens, the more advanced their weapons programs go along.” [US Department of Defense, 9/18/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

September 19, 2002      US support of Iraq WMD

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is subjected to intense questioning by Senator Robert Byrd about the United States' role in providing Iraq with the materials for its chemical and biological weapons and Rumsfeld's December 20, 1983 visit to Baghdad (see December 20, 1983). [Sources: US Congressional Record: September 20, 2002 (Senate) Page S8987-S8998]
Sen. Robert Byrd - “Mr. Secretary, to your knowledge, did the United States help Iraq to acquire the building blocks of biological weapons during the Iran-Iraq War? Are we, in fact, now facing the possibility of reaping what we have sown?” [Sources: US Congressional Record: September 20, 2002 (Senate) Page S8987-S8998]
Defense Secr. Donald Rumsfeld - “Certainly not to my knowledge. I have no knowledge of United States companies or government being involved in assisting Iraq develop chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.” [Sources: US Congressional Record: September 20, 2002 (Senate) Page S8987-S8998]
Sen. Robert Byrd - “[After reading Mr. Rumsfeld excerpts from a Newsweek article] Let me ask you again: Did the United States help Iraq to acquire the building blocks of biological weapons during the Iran-Iraq War? Are we, in fact, now facing the possibility of reaping what we have sown?” [Sources: US Congressional Record: September 20, 2002 (Senate) Page S8987-S8998]
Defense Secr. Donald Rumsfeld - “I have not read the article.... I was, for a period in late '83 and early '84, asked by President Reagan to serve as Middle East envoy after the Marines—241 Marines were killed in Beirut. As part of my responsibilities I did visit Baghdad. I did meet with Mr. Tariq Aziz. And I did meet with Saddam Hussein and spent some time visiting with them about the war they were engaged in with Iran. At the time our concern, of course, was Syria and Syria's role in Lebanon and Lebanon's role in the Middle East and the terrorist acts that were taking place. As a private citizen I was assisting only for a period of months. I have never heard anything like what you've read, I have no knowledge of it whatsoever, and I doubt it.” [Sources: US Congressional Record: September 20, 2002 (Senate) Page S8987-S8998]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Robert C. Byrd
          

September 26, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Rumsfeld claims the US government has “bulletproof” confirmation of ties between Baghdad and al-Qaeda members, including “solid evidence” that al Qaeda maintains a presence in Iraq. The allegation refers to Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Palestinian who is the founder of al-Tawhid, an organization whose aim is to kill Jews and install an Islamic regime in Jordan (see Late 2001-May 2002). No evidence ever surfaces to suggest that the group works with al-Qaeda. Rumsfeld's statement is based on intercepted telephone calls in which Al Zarqawi was overheard calling friends or relatives. But Knight Ridder Newspapers reports that according to US intelligence officials, “The intercepts provide no evidence that the suspected terrorist was working with the Iraqi regime or that he was working on a terrorist operation while he was in Iraq.” [Knight Ridder Newspapers, 10/7/02 Sources: Unnamed US Intelligence Officials] Shortly after the Defense Secretary's allegations, an unnamed intelligence official tells the Guardian, “They are not the official guests of the Government,” adding that any members of militant Islamist organizations in the region are still “on the run.” [Guardian, 8/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi, Donald Rumsfeld  Additional Info 
          

Fall 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tells Fortune magazine, “If you [worry about just] the cost, the money, Iraq is a very different situation from Afghanistan ... Iraq has oil. They have financial resources.” [Financial Times, 1/16/04]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

November 18, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       US and British warplanes attack sites northeast of Mosul after Iraqi defense forces fire anti-aircraft artillery at coalition aircraft patrolling the so-called “no-fly” zones. In a separate incident, warplanes attack two Iraqi air defense communications facilities and one air defense radar site in southern Iraq in Wassit and Dhi Oar after “Iraqi air defenses fired multiple surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery at coalition aircraft.” [New York Times, 11/19/2002; Scotsman, 11/19/02; Associated Press, 11/20/02; Reuters, 11/19/02] According to Iraqi authorities, four Iraqi civilians were wounded as a result of the attacks in southern Iraq. [Associated Press, 11/20/02] White House spokesperson Scott McClellan says in a press briefing, “The United States believes that firing upon our aircraft in the no-fly zone, or British aircraft, is a violation—it is a material breach.” [White House, 11/18/02; New York Times, 11/19/02] And Donald Rumsfeld, who is in Chile, says: “I do find it unacceptable that Iraq fires. It is for the President of the United States and the UN Security Council to make judgments about their view of Iraq's behavior over a period of time.” [New York Times, 11/19/02; Telegraph, 11/19/02; CNN, 11/23/02] This is the second time the US has bombed Iraq since the passing of UN resolution 1441. The US will conduct at least 22 more aerial attacks on Iraq before the March 19, 2003 invasion. [Colorado Campaign for Middle East Peace] UN officials disagree with Washington's assessment. Secretary-General Kofi Annan states, “Let me say that I don't think that the council will say this is in contravention of the resolution of the Security Council.” [Independent, 11/20/02; Associated Press, 11/20/02; Peoples Weekly World News, 11/23/02; Reuters, 11/19/02; Reuters, 11/19/02] Responding to Annan's remarks, Rumsfeld argues, “I don't know that he (Annan) necessarily reflects the UN, the center of gravity of the Security Council, on any particular issue at any particular time.... Whenever resolutions are passed, they tend to be compromises, and there tend to be calculated ambiguities written into them to gain votes. So it does not come as a surprise to me.... The United Nations sat there for years with 16 resolutions being violated. So, just as we've seen a pattern of behavior on the part of Saddam Hussein, we've seen a pattern of behavior on the part of the United Nations.” [US Department of Defense, 11/19/02; CNN, 11/19/02] No comments supporting the US position are made by the British. [Telegraph, 11/19/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Scott McClellan, Kofi Annan  Additional Info 
          

November 25, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       18 international arms monitors, including 12 inspectors from the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission and 8 from the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, arrive in Baghdad with their cargo of high-tech sensors, computers and other gear. [Associated Press, 11/25/2002; New York Times, 11/25/2002; Independent, 11/24/2002]
Make-up of Inspection Team - The complete roster of UN inspectors expected to participate in the inspections includes some 300 chemists, biologists, missile and ordnance experts and other specialists of UNMOVIC, as well as a few dozen engineers and physicists from the IAEA. Hans Blix of UNMOVIC will head the effort to search for chemical and biological weapons and Jacques Baute of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency will lead the team seeking to determine if Iraq has reconstituted its nuclear weapons program. [Associated Press, 11/25/2002]
Purpose of Inspections - The stated purpose of the inspections, according to the UN resolution, is to bring “to full and verified completion the disarmament process established by resolution 687 (1991) and subsequent resolutions of the Council.” [Sources: UN Resolution 1441] However, since the passing of the resolution the Bush administration has maintained that the purpose of inspections is much broader. For instance, US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld will claim in January that inspectors are not to act as “discoverers” trying to locate things. Rather the purpose of the inspections, according to Rumsfeld, is to determine whether Iraq is cooperating. [BBC, 1/22/03]
Methods - The inspectors will “revisit the previously monitored sites to check if the equipment installed [by the previous weapons inspectors] is still functional,” explains a UN spokesperson. “It will take some time to do that work. We can't rule out other activities, but it's quite likely we will start with that.” Inspectors also says that they will not immediately conduct “intrusive” inspections into Iraq's more sensitive areas. As an aide to Hans Blix explains to The Washington Post, “We're not going to do in-your-face inspections. He [Blix] wants effective inspections. It's not our job to provoke, harm or humiliate.” The inspections teams will also investigate new sites that the US and Britain allege are involved in the development of weapons of mass destruction. Inspectors will have the option to interview Iraqi scientists without the presence of Iraqi officials. The interviews may be conducted outside of Iraq. [The Washington Post, 11/23/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Hans Blix, Jacques Bautes
          

December 3, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Iraq reiterates its claim that it has no weapons of mass destruction in the country, foreshadowing the content of its formal declaration, which is due in five days. Responding to the statement, US Secretary of Defense says, “Any country on the face of the earth with an active intelligence program knows that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.” And Bush says, “He [Saddam Hussein] says he won't have weapons of mass destruction; he's got them.” [BBC, 12/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

December 11, 2002      US Military

       US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sends President Bush a memo requesting authority to appoint US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) commander Adm. James O. Ellis Jr. in charge of all of the United States' “strategic” warfare options to combat terrorist states and organizations. By giving STRATCOM warplanners jurisdiction over the full range of the country's warfare options, the president would effectively remove a decades-old firewall between conventional and nuclear weapons which had served to prevent nuclear arms from being anything but a weapon of last resort. According to William Arkin, a columnist for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the request, if approved, would remove “nuclear weapons out of their long-established special category and [lump] them in with all the other military options.” Bush approves the request early the following month (see Early January 2003). [Los Angeles Times, 1/26/2003 Sources: Unnamed senior military officials at US Central Command, Memo obtained by the LA Times]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, James O. Ellis Jr, Donald Rumsfeld
          

Late December, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld signs a directive, ordering the deployment of an additional 50,000 reinforcements to the gulf region. The order includes some 4,000 soldiers from the Third Infantry Division, who are specialists in desert warfare. Orders to deploy or prepare for deployment are also given to several naval ships and Air Force squadrons. [New York Times, 1/1/03; Times, 1/2/03] Military “experts” tell the Guardian of London that given the amount of resources that have so far been allocated in preparation for invading Iraq, it is very unlikely that war can be avoided. An unnamed source from the neoconservative Project for a New American Century tells the newspaper, “It's very hard for a country to mobilize for war, and not to go for war without a very serious reason. If you signal to the world that you're serious, and you don't do anything, then you're saying you're not a serious country.” [Guardian, 12/31/01 Sources: Unnamed source from the Project for a New American Century]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

January 7, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       At a press briefing, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says, “There is no doubt in my mind but that they currently have chemical and biological weapons.” [AP, 1/7/03b]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

January 19, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Top Bush administration officials appear to suggest that war can be avoided if Saddam Hussein steps down. Donald Rumsfeld, speaking on ABC's “This Week” says, “I ... personally would recommend that some provision be made so that the senior leadership in that country and their families could be provided haven in some other country, and I think that that would be a fair trade to avoid a war.” He also says that if Saddam goes into exile he might be granted immunity from prosecution for war crimes. Similarly, Colin Powell says on CNN, “I think the Iraqi people would be a lot better off, and this whole situation would be resolved, if Saddam Hussein ... his sons and the top leadership of the regime would leave.” [ABC, 1/19/03; New York Times, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03b; CNN, 1/19/03; CNN, 1/20/03; Agence France Presse, 1/19/03] It is not clear, however, if Rumsfeld and Powell's comments are sincere, or if they are just trying to appear as though they are providing Saddam Hussein with an alternative to military confrontation. Their comments are seemingly contradicted by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice who says on NBC's “Meet the Press” , “I ... think that it is unlikely that this man is going to come down in any other way than to be forced.” [International Herald Tribune, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03; New York Times, 1/20/03b; http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,75993,00.html]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell
          

January 22, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       During a joint press conference, French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announce that they intend to work together to oppose the Bush administration's plan to invade Iraq. Schroeder says to a crowd of hundreds of French and German students in Berlin, “We are both of the opinion... that one can never accept it when it is said that war is unavoidable.” [BBC, 1/22/03; BBC, 1/23/03] Back in Washington, a reporter asks Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld if he thinks the actions of France and Germany would leave the United States without European support. To this Rumsfeld, responds: “Now, you're thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don't. I think that's old Europe. If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the center of gravity is shifting to the east.... Germany has been a problem, and France has been a problem.... But you look at vast numbers of other countries in Europe. They're not with France and Germany on this, they're with the United States.” [Department of Defense, 1/22/03; BBC, 1/23/03]
People and organizations involved: Jacques Chirac, Donald Rumsfeld, Gerhard Schroeder
          

January 29, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Donald Rumsfeld says at the beginning of a press conference that Saddam's “regime has the design for a nuclear weapon; it was working on several different methods of enriching uranium, and recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” [The Washington Post, 8/8/03]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld  Additional Info 
          

February 5, 2003      US Military

       US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, inform the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee that they intend to seek permission from George Bush to use calmative agents (see February 12, 2001-March 30, 2001) against Iraqi civilians, in cave systems or to take prisoners. [Independent article; Newsmax, 2/6/2003] Rumsfeld calls the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) a “straightjacket” [The Guardian, 4/8/2003; Baltimore Sun, 3/27/2003] and insists that “there are times when the use of non-lethal riot agents is perfectly appropriate.” [Newsmax, 2/6/2003; The Guardian, 3/12/2003; The Guardian, 4/8/2003; Christian Science Monitor 2/14/2003] Under the provisions of the CWC, military use of chemicals—including non-lethal gases like tear gas—is prohibited. The treaty only permits the use of non-lethal agents for law enforcement purposes. [Christian Science Monitor 2/14/2003; Newsmax, 2/6/2003]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Richard B. Myers, George W. Bush
          

February 27, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Iraq agrees to destroy all the equipment associated with its Al Samoud missile program, including warheads, SA-2 missile engines, machinery to produce missile motors, fuel, launchers, testing equipment, components as well as all software and documentation. The UN had earlier concluded that the missile program was in violation of UN resolutions because the range of the missiles exceeds the 150km limit imposed in 1991 after the Gulf War (see February 12, 2003). Responding to news of Iraq's decision, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer dismisses any suggestion that it is an example of Iraqi cooperation. Instead he describes it as “deception.” He says, “This is the deception the president predicted. We do expect that they will destroy at least some of their missiles.” He also says that Iraq's actions is “propaganda, wrapped in a lie, inside a falsehood.” And Donald Rumsfeld offers a similar interpretation of Iraq's actions. He says: “I don't see a change in the pattern at all. You know, this is exactly what's been going to for years.... They refuse to cooperate, don't cooperate, drag it out, wait until someone finally nails them with one little piece of the whole puzzle and refuse to do anything about it and then finally when they see the pressure building, they say well, maybe we'll do some of that.” Bush similarly states: “The discussion about these rockets is part of [Saddam's] campaign of deception. See, he'll say, ‘I'm not going to destroy the rockets,’ and then he'll have a change of mind this weekend and destroy the rockets and say, ‘I've disarmed.’ ” And Powell says: “I think it's just more indication of the reality that we have been trying to convey to the world, that Saddam Hussein is trying to string it out, trying to divert attention, trying to pretend he is cooperating when he is not cooperating, try[ing] to use process as an excuse for not cooperating and not complying with the will of the international community.” [ABC News, 2/28/03; New York Times, 3/1/03; BBC, 1/28/03; Fox News, 2/28/03]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Demetrius Perricos, Richard Perle, Colin Powell
          

March 6, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       A working group appointed by the Defense Department's general counsel, William J. Haynes II, completes a 100-page-plus classified report justifying the use of torture on national security grounds. The group—headed by Air Force General Counsel Mary Walker and including top civilian and uniformed lawyers from each military branch—consulted representatives of the Justice Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Defense Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies in drafting the report. It was prepared for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and meant to respond to complaints from commanders working at the Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba who claimed that conventional interrogation tactics were inadequate. The conclusions in the report are similar to those of an August 1, 2003 Department of Justice memo (see August 1, 2002). [Wall Street Journal, 6/7/2004 Sources: March 16 draft Working Group Report on Detainee Intertogations in the Global War on Terorrism]
Conclusions of the report -
One of the main conclusions of the report is that the President's authority as commander-in-chief permits him during times of war to approve almost any physical or psychological interrogation method—including torture—irrespective of any domestic or international law. The draft report clearly states that neither Congress, the courts nor international law has jurisdiction over the President's actions when the country is waging war. The report asserts that “without a clear statement otherwise, criminal statutes are not read as infringing on the president's ultimate authority” to wage war. Furthermore, “any effort by Congress to regulate the interrogation of unlawful combatants would violate the Constitution's sole vesting of the commander-in-chief authority in the president.” According to the document, the federal Torture Statute simply does not apply. “In order to respect the president's inherent constitutional authority to manage a military campaign ... (the prohibition against torture) must be construed as inapplicable to interrogations undertaken pursuant to his commander-in chief authority,” the report states (The parenthetical comment is in the original document). A career military lawyer will later tell the Wall Street Journal that many lawyers disagreed with these conclusions, but that their concerns were overridden by the political appointees heading the drafting of the report. The lawyer explains that instead, military lawyers focused their efforts on limiting the report's list of acceptable interrogation methods. [Wall Street Journal, 6/7/2004]
The draft report lists several possible arguments that US civilian or military personnel might use to defend themselves against charges of torture or other war crimes. According to the administration's lawyers, one argument would be that such actions were “necessary” in order to prevent an attack. This rational however seems to ignore very clear statements in The Convention Against Torture—ratified by the US in 1994—which states that “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.” Another line of defense, the report says, would be to claim that the accused had been acting under “superior orders” and that therefore no “moral choice was in fact possible.” Likewise, the report cites a Justice Department opinion, which the draft report says “concluded that it could not bring a criminal prosecution against a defendant who had acted pursuant to an exercise of the president's constitutional power.” However, as The Wall Street Journal notes, this contradicts the Convention against Torture which states that orders from superiors “may not be invoked as a justification of torture.” The authors of the report also suggest in the draft report that accused officials could argue that they had “mistakenly relied in good faith on the advice of lawyers or experts,” adding, “Good faith may be a complete defense.” Lastly, the authors conclude that “constitutional principles” precluded the possibility that officials could be punished “for aiding the president in exercising his exclusive constitutional authorities” and neither Congress nor the courts had the authority to “require or implement the prosecution of such an individual.” [Wall Street Journal, 6/7/2004]
The document attempts to define the parameters of lawful interrogation methods in terms of the degree of pain or psychological manipulation they cause. The report states that the infliction of physical or mental suffering does not constitute torture. Suffering must be “severe,” the lawyers advise, noting that according to a dictionary definition, this would mean that the pain “must be of such a high level of intensity that ... [it] is difficult for the subject to endure.” But under certain circumstances, the lawyers explain, the US would be justified in resorting to illegal measures like torture or homicide. They argue that such measures should be considered “self-defense” in cases where officials “honestly believe” that such actions would prevent an imminent attack against the US. “Sometimes the greater good for society will be accomplished by violating the literal language of the criminal law,” the draft document says. [Wall Street Journal, 6/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: William A. Haynes, Donald Rumsfeld, Mary Walker  Additional Info 
          

March 24, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says on CBS's “Face the Nation” : “We have seen intelligence over many months that they have chemical and biological weapons, and that they have dispersed them and that they're weaponized and that, in one case at least, the command and control arrangements have been established.” [Village Voice, 6/18/03]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

March 27, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says during a Senate hearing, “When it comes to reconstruction, before we turn to the American taxpayer, we will turn first to the resources of the Iraqi government and the international community.” [Financial Times, 1/16/04]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

March 30, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tells George Stephanopolous of ABC News: “We know where they [the chemical and biological weapons] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.” [Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 7/17/03; US Department of Defense, 4/30/2003]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

(April 2003)      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       An unnamed intelligence source tells reporter Thomas Ricks of The Washington Post, “Rumsfeld is in a death fight with DCI (the director of Central Intelligence) to get control” of intelligence assets. [The Washington Post, 4/20/2003]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

April 13, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says on NBC's “Meet the Press”: “The task is to create an environment that is sufficiently permissive that the Iraqi people can fashion a new government. And what they will do is come together in one way or another and select an interim authority of some kind. Then that group will propose a constitution and a more permanent authority of some kind. And over some period of months, the Iraqis will have their government selected by Iraqi people.” [US Department of Defense, 4/13/2003]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

April 16, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       The finalized version of a March 6 Pentagon draft report (see March 6, 2003) on acceptable interrogation tactics is completed and approved by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The report approves a list of interrogation methods, called the 72-point matrix, for use against prisoners being held in Iraq. The list sets the boundaries for using so-called “stress and duress” techniques. [Washington Post, 5/11/2004; The Age, 5/13/2004; Washington Post, 5/13/2004; Newsweek, 5/24/2004; Los Angeles Times, 5/22/2004; Wall Street Journal, 6/7/2004 Sources: Human Rights letter to National Security Advisor, May 3, 2004, Unnamed US intelligence officials and other US officials] According to US officials, though the tactics simulate torture, they stop short of causing serious injury. Several of the techniques listed are ones that the US military trains Special Forces to prepare for in the event that they are captured by enemy forces. [New York Times, 5/13/2004 Sources: Unnamed US intelligence officials and other US officials] The list is divided into two classes: tactics which are authorized for use on all prisoners and special “enhanced measures” which require the approval of Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez. The latter category of methods includes tactics which “could cause temporary physical or mental pain” like “sensory deprivation,” “stress positions,” “dietary manipulation,” forced changes in sleep patterns, isolated confinement and the use of dogs. [Washington Post, 5/11/2004; Washington Post, 5/13/2004 Sources: Unnamed US intelligence officials and other US officials] The 72-point matrix is purportedly “vetted by the Pentagon's lawyers, the Justice Department and approved by the National Security Council's general counsel.” One US official explains, “There are very specific guidelines that are thoroughly vetted. Everyone is on board. It's legal.” However in May 2004, it will be learned that there had in fact been opposition to the new guidelines. Pentagon lawyers from the Army Judge Advocate General's office had objected (see May 2003) (see October 2003) and many officials quietly expressed concerns that they might have to answer for the policy at a later date (see (April 2003)). [Washington Post, 5/11/2004; Washington Post, 5/13/2004 Sources: Unnamed US intelligence officials and other US officials] After the prison photos scandal, CIA officers involved in the interrogations will become increasingly nervous about the potential fallout of the policy. “Some people involved in this have been concerned for quite a while that eventually there would be a new president, or the mood in the country would change, and they would be held accountable,” one intelligence source will tell the New York Times. “Now that's happening faster than anybody expected.”
People and organizations involved: Ricardo S. Sanchez, Donald Rumsfeld  Additional Info 
          

April 24, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tells the Associated Press, “If you're suggesting, how would we feel about an Iranian-type government with a few clerics running everything in the country, the answer is: That isn't going to happen.” [The Guardian, 4/25/2003; Asssociated Press, 4/25/2003]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

(May 2003-May 2004)      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       At “various times throughout this period,” Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld relay the Red Cross' concerns about the Coalition's treatment of prisoners directly to President George Bush. [Baltimore Sun, 5/12/2004 Sources: Unnamed aid to Colin Powell]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell
          

May 27, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tells the Council on Foreign Relations in New York: “While our goal is to put functional and political authority in the hands of Iraqis as soon as possible, the Coalition Provisional Authority has the responsibility to fill the vacuum of power . . . by asserting temporary authority over the country. The coalition will do so. It will not tolerate self-appointed ‘leaders.’” [US Department of Defense, 5/27/2003]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

May 29, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says in a “Town Hall meeting” with Infinity Radio: “[When asked: When do you think there might be a government in place, even a provisional government in place in Iraq? Rumsfeld reponds:] I don't know.” [Department of Defense, 5/29/2003]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

After June 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Several Bush administration officials back off earlier claims of an alliance between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda. [Associated Press, 1/8/04; Independent, 1/11/04; Associated Press, 9/16/03; US Department of Defense, 8/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld  Additional Info 
          

July 9, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Facing criticisms that the Bush administration lacked accurate and specific intelligence about Iraq's alleged aresenal of illicit weapons, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld provides the Senate Armed Services Committee with a new reason for why it was necessary for the US to invade Iraq. “The coalition did not act in Iraq because we had discovered dramatic new evidence of Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass murder,” he says. “We acted because we saw the evidence in a dramatic new light, through the prism of our experience on 9/11.” [BBC, 7/9/2003; Washington Times, 7/10/2003; USA Today, 7/9/2003] When asked when he learned that the reports about Iraq attempting to obtain Uranium from Niger were false, Rumsfeld replies, “Oh, within recent days, since the information started becoming available.” [Slate, 7/10/2003; http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=33574] He later revises his statement twice, first saying that he had learned “weeks,” and then “months,” before. [http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=33574]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

August 18, 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Donald Rumsfeld directs his undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Stephen Cambone, to send Major General Geoffrey Miller to Iraq to review the US military prison system in Iraq and make suggestions on how the prisons can be used to obtain “actionable intelligence” from detainees. Cambone passes the order on to his deputy Lieutenant-General William Boykin who meets with Miller to plan the trip. [Newsweek, 5/24/2004; The Washington Post, 5/21/2004]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Geoffrey Miller, Stephen Cambone, William Boykin
          

(September 2003)      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone decide that they will extend the scope of “Copper Green” (see (Late 2001)) to Abu Ghraib. According to Seymour Hersh, “The male prisoners could [now] be treated roughly, and exposed to sexual humiliation.” A former intelligence official will tell Hersh: “They weren't getting anything substantive from the detainees in Iraq. No names. Nothing that they could hang their hat on. Cambone says, I've got to crack this thing and I'm tired of working through the normal chain of command. I've got this apparatus set up—the black special-access program—and I'm going in hot. So he pulls the switch, and the electricity begins flowing last summer. And it's working. We're getting a picture of the insurgency in Iraq and the intelligence is flowing into the white world. We're getting good stuff. But we've got more targets [prisoners in Iraqi jails] than people who can handle them.... So here are fundamentally good soldiers—military-intelligence guys—being told that no rules apply. And, as far as they're concerned, this is a covert operation, and it's to be kept within Defense Department channels.” [The New Yorker, 5/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: Stephen Cambone, Donald Rumsfeld  Additional Info 
          

September 14, 2003-September 17, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Vice President Cheney says on NBC's “Meet the Press”, “I think it's not surprising that people make [the] connection” between Iraq and 9/11. He adds, “If We're successful in Iraq . . . then we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of The Base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.” However, two days later, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld states that he hasn't “seen any indication that would lead” him to believe there was an Iraq-9/11 link. [Asssociated Press, 9/16/2003] National Security Adviser Rice says the administration has never accused Hussein of directing the 9/11 attacks. [Reuters, 9/16/03] The next day, Bush also disavows the Cheney statement, stating, “We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th . . . [but] there's no question that Saddam Hussein has al-Qaeda ties.” [Associated Press, 9/17/03; Washington Post, 9/18/2003]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld
          

November 2003      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, at the request of George J. Tenet, orders military officials in Iraq to keep a high-value detainee being held at Camp Cropper off the records. The order is passed down to Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then to Gen. John P. Abizaid, the commander of American forces in the Middle East, and finally to Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the ground commander in Iraq. “At each stage, lawyers reviewed the request and their bosses approved it,” the New York Times will report. “This prisoner and other ‘ghost detainees’ were hidden largely to prevent the International Committee of the Red Cross from monitoring their treatment, and to avoid disclosing their location to an enemy,” the newspaper will report citing top officials. The prisoner—in custody since July 2003—is suspected of being a senior officer of Ansar al-Islam, an Islamic group with ties to al-Qaeda. Shortly after being captured by US forces, he was judged to be an “enemy combatant” and thus denied protection under the Geneva conventions. Up until this point, the prisoner has only been interrogated once. As a result of being kept off the books, the prison system looses track of the detainee who will spend the next seven months in custody. “Once he was placed in military custody, people lost track of him,” a senior intelligence official will tell the New York Times. “The normal review processes that would keep track of him didn't.” [New York Times, 6/17/2004; Reuters, 6/17/2004; Fox News, 6/17/2004]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, Ricardo S. Sanchez, Richard B. Myers, George Tenet, John P. Abizaid
          

Shortly after the 2004 election      US Military

       Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld meets with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and tells them that George Bush's reelection demonstrates the American public's approval of the administration's neoconservative policies. He also makes it clear that the administration will keep US troops in Iraq and that there will be no second-guessing. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed former high-level intelligence official interviewed by Seymour Hersh]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

January 12, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Human Rights Watch writes to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld “to express concern about incidents in which US forces stationed in Iraq detained innocent, close relatives of wanted suspects in order to compel the suspects to surrender, which amounts to hostage-taking, classified as a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.” [Human Rights Watch, 5/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

January 13, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Joseph Darby, a 24-year-old MP assigned to Abu Ghraib, slips an anonymous note under the door of the Army's Criminal Investigations Division and later turns over a CD with roughly one thousand photographs relating to the abuses that had taken place at the prison, mostly between October and December of the previous year. Within three days, a report on the photos makes its way to Donald Rumsfeld, who informs President Bush. [The New Yorker, 5/24/2004; Knight Ridder News, 5/10/2004] According to one former intelligence official, the Defense Secretary's attitude is: “We've got a glitch in the program. We'll prosecute it.” The former official explains to Seymour Hersh, “The cover story was that some kids got out of control.” The Taguba report creates a problem for “Copper Green,” (see (Late 2001)) as it could potentially blow the special-access program's cover. The former official observes: “You can't cover it up. You have to prosecute these guys for being off the reservation. But how do you prosecute them when they were covered by the special-access program? So you hope that maybe it'll go away.” [The New Yorker, 5/24/2004]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, George W. Bush
          

February 10, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       “Human Rights Watch writes to US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld expressing concern about the treatment of detainees in Iraq and urges the administration to publicly clarify the status of the detainees and to make public the numbers of detainees being held.” [Human Rights Watch, 5/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld
          

May 7, 2004      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says in a testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, “Any suggestion that there is not a full, deep awareness of what has happened, and the damage it has done, I think, would be a misunderstanding.” [The Washington Post, 5/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld  Additional Info 
          

Fall 2004      US Military

       At the request of Donald Rumsfeld, President George Bush issues an Executive Order on the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) authorizing the military “to find and finish” terrorist targets, including certain al-Qaeda network members, al-Qaeda senior leadership, and other high-value targets. The order was cleared by the national-security bureaucracy. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed pentagon consultant]
People and organizations involved: Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush
          

December 2004      US Military

       Intelligence Brief, a newsletter published by former CIA officers Vince Cannistraro and Philip Giraldi, reports that the White House has given the Pentagon permission “to operate unilaterally in a number of countries where there is a perception of a clear and evident terrorist threat,” including Algeria, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Malaysia, [New Yorker, 1/24/2005] and Tunisia. [New Yorker, 1/24/2005 Sources: unnamed former high-level intelligence official interviewed by Seymour Hersh] The operations' chain of command will include Donald Rumsfeld and two of his deputies, Stephen Cambone, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and Army Lieutenant General William G. (Jerry) Boykin. Under these new arrangements, “US military operatives would be permitted to pose abroad as corrupt foreign businessmen seeking to buy contraband items that could be used in nuclear-weapons systems,” New Yorker magazine reports. “In some cases, according to the Pentagon advisers, local citizens could be recruited and asked to join up with guerrillas or terrorists. This could potentially involve organizing and carrying out combat operations, or even terrorist activities.” Describing how the operations would be conducted, Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker reports: “The new rules will enable the Special Forces community to set up what it calls ‘action teams’ in the target countries overseas which can be used to find and eliminate terrorist organizations. ‘Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?’ ... [a] former high-level intelligence official asked me.... ‘We founded them and we financed them,’ he said. ‘The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren?t going to tell Congress about it.’ A former military officer, who has knowledge of the Pentagon?s commando capabilities, said, ‘We?re going to be riding with the bad boys.’ ” [New Yorker, 1/24/2005]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Philip Giraldi, Stephen Cambone, Vince Cannistraro, Donald Rumsfeld, William Boykin
          

January 2005      US Military

       Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone issues a set of new guidelines reinterpreting the Pentagon's reporting requirements to Congress on its covert operations. The new guidelines were drafted by the Pentagon's legal counsel at the insistence of Donald Rumsfeld. The Washington Post reports: “Under Title 10, for example, the Defense Department must report to Congress all ‘deployment orders,’ or formal instructions from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to position US forces for combat. But [the guidelines] ... state that special operations forces may ‘conduct clandestine HUMINT operations . . . before publication’ of a deployment order, rendering notification unnecessary. Pentagon lawyers also define the ‘war on terror’ as ongoing, indefinite and global in scope. That analysis effectively discards the limitation of the defense secretary's war powers to times and places of imminent combat. Under Title 50, all departments of the executive branch are obliged to keep Congress ‘fully and currently informed of all intelligence activities.’ The law exempts ‘traditional . . . military activities’ and their ‘routine support.’ [The set of new guidelines] ... interprets ‘traditional’ and ‘routine’ more expansively than his predecessors.” Assistant Secretary of Defense Thomas O'Connell, who oversees special operations policy, explains to the Washington Post, “Many of the restrictions imposed on the Defense Department were imposed by tradition, by legislation, and by interpretations of various leaders and legal advisors.” He then asserts that over time these mechanisms unnecessarily watered down the Pentagon's authority. “The interpretations take on the force of law and may preclude activities that are legal. In my view, many of the authorities inherent to [the Defense Department] . . . were winnowed away over the years,” he says. In addition to its efforts to evade congressional oversight, the Pentagon also seeks to diminish its dependency on the CIA. According to written guidelines acquired by the Washington Post, the Defense Department will no longer await consent from the agency's headquarters for the human intelligence missions it “coordinates” with the CIA, instead it will work directly with agency officers in the field. The Pentagon will consider a mission “coordinated” after it has given the agency 72 hours. [The Washington Post, 1/23/2005; The Washington Post, 1/25/2005]
People and organizations involved: Stephen Cambone, Donald Rumsfeld, Strategic Support Branch, or Project Icon, Thomas O'Connell
          

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