President Bush appointed Richard Levin, president of Yale University and an
economist, to the bipartisan intelligence commission on Feb. 6, 2004.
Before becoming president of Yale in 1993, Levin chaired the university's
economics department and served as dean of the graduate school.
Born in San Francisco in 1947, Levin graduated from Stanford University in
1968 with a B.A. in history. As a Rhodes scholar, Levin earned a Bachelor of
Letters degree in politics and philosophy from Oxford University in 1971.
Levin went on to earn his Ph.D. in economics from Yale in 1974, and joined
the faculty of Yale's economics department that same year. For the next two
decades, Levin taught classes and established himself as an expert on the economics
of technological change and the effects of antitrust and public regulation
of the private sector.
His writings include a series of papers on the Interstate Commerce Commission,
which had major impact on railroad deregulation in the 1980s.
It was this expertise that likely prompted President Bush in December 2002
to appoint him to the Commission on the United States Postal Service, responsible
for reviewing the long-term viability of USPS and the possibility of privatizing
divisions of the USPS.
Levin serves as a member of the Board of Science, Technology and Economic
Policy at the National Academy of Sciences and a trustee of the William and
Flora Hewlett Foundation, a philanthropic organization. Levin also sits on
corporate boards of Satmetrix, a software company, and Lucent Technologies,
in which the Yale president holds stock of at least $355,000 as of March
1, 2004, according to company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Opponents of Levin's appointment
have questioned his "cozy relationship" with
President Bush, pointing to Levin's previous stay in the White House and the
president's visits to Levin's home. Other critics note his apparent inexperience
in the field of intelligence.
On the other hand, a Feb.
9, 2004 editorial in the Yale Daily News identified Levin's inexperience
issues as a valuable asset: "On
a committee full of those with former careers in government, Levin is a citizen
instead of an insider, and will be able to hold the government accountable
without any personal interests at stake."
Levin and his wife, Jane, also an alumna of Oxford University, reside in New
Haven, Conn., and have four children.
Compiled by Abigail Cutler for the Online NewsHour