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Profile: Paul O?Neill

 
  

Positions that Paul O?Neill has held:

  • Treasury Secretary under the Bush administration


 

Quotes

 
  

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Paul O?Neill actively participated in the following events:

 
  

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: Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Paul O?Neill, Colin Powell, George Tenet, Richard B. Myers, 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 contribute to the transformation of 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: Donald Rumsfeld, Paul O?Neill, George W. Bush, Colin Powell, George Tenet, Richard B. Myers, Condoleezza Rice
          

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] During the meeting, there is some discussion about taking military action against Iraq, with Paul Wolfowitz pushing for regime change. He claims that there is a 10 to 50 percent chance that Iraq had been involved in the attacks. [Woodward, Bob. Bush at War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002. Pg. 83; Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 232]
People and organizations involved: Paul Wolfowitz, Robert S. Mueller III, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, George Tenet, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Paul O?Neill  Additional Info 
          

Mid-January 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       In an interview with Time magazine, former US Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neill says he never saw or heard of any real evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. “In the 23 months I was there, I never saw anything that I would characterize as evidence of weapons of mass destruction,” he explains. “There were allegations and assertions by people.... But I've been around a hell of a long time, and I know the difference between evidence and assertions and illusions or allusions and conclusions that one could draw from a set of assumptions. To me there is a difference between real evidence and everything else. And I never saw anything in the intelligence that I would characterize as real evidence.” [Time, 1/11/03]
People and organizations involved: Paul O?Neill
          

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