Secretary of Defense
This chart highlights how Cheney aggregated power at key national security centers -- the Pentagon, State and White House -- and lists the positions his friends and allies have held during the time period leading up to the 2003 war in Iraq.
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George W. Bush
Office of the Vice President
National Security Council
Secretary of State
National Security Advisor
Vice President (2001-present)
Cheney's national security staff is larger than that of any vice president in history, and he has placed friends and allies in key intelligence-related posts throughout government.
Secretary of Defense (2001-present)
Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney have been closely linked for more than three decades, beginning when Rumsfeld was President Nixon's chief of staff and Cheney was his young aide. Cheney has relied on Rumsfeld and insiders at the Pentagon to create their own intelligence capability; Rumsfeld oversees roughly 85 percent of the nation's $44 billion intelligence budget.
Deputy Secretary of Defense (2001-2005)
The number three man at the Pentagon when Dick Cheney was secretary of defense in the early '90s, Wolfowitz helped review war plans for the first Gulf War. One of the most prominent "neo-cons," he was also one of the strongest and earliest voices for regime change in Iraq, and is reported to have conceived the idea of the Office of Special Plans, which provided the Pentagon with intelligence supporting Iraq's connection to Al Qaeda and its efforts to manufacture weapons of mass destruction. Wolfowitz left the Pentagon in June 2005 to become president of the World Bank.
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (2001-2005)
As top policy advisor to Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, Feith helped build the administration's case for war. At the Pentagon, Feith created two units: the Office of Special Plans (OSP) and the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCTEG). The former was quietly planning for post-war Iraq while the Bush administration was publicly trying to engage Iraq through diplomacy. The latter group served as an alternative to the CIA for intelligence analysis and uncovered a supposed pre-9/11 Al Qaeda-Iraq connection and alleged evidence of WMDs. When Feith left the Pentagon in 2005, he was replaced by Eric Edelman, Vice President Cheney's former national security advisor.
Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security (2001-2005)
Bolton's job at Colin Powell's State Department was negotiating weapons treaties for the administration and stopping nuclear weapons proliferation. But according to Larry Wilkerson, Powell's former chief of staff, Bolton's unofficial role was as Cheney's man inside State. In 2005, Bolton became U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. During his nomination process, stories surfaced from State Department officials, including Carl W. Ford, that Bolton had repeatedly intimidated and attempted to fire analysts who disagreed with his views.
Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (2003-present)
During the first Bush administration, Cambone worked with Defense Secretary Cheney as director of strategic defense policy. Now Rumsfeld's most trusted aide, he has been at the Pentagon in various capacities since 2001. Today, he manages the Pentagon's intelligence domain, including the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. Since the creation of Cambone's position in 2003, the Defense Department has taken on more and bolder intelligence missions, eclipsing the CIA's traditional role in clandestine affairs. Cambone was reportedly responsible for creating the interrogation guidelines that contributed to detainee abuse in the war on terror.
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby
Chief of Staff to the Vice President (2001-2005)
Libby has worked closely with Cheney for almost 20 years, starting when he was an under secretary at the Pentagon when Cheney was secretary of defense. As Cheney's chief of staff during the run-up to war with Iraq, Libby helped push the vice president's agenda at the CIA, the State Department and in the press. CIA officials claim Libby accompanied Cheney on many trips to CIA headquarters, where the pair questioned analysts about Iraq's weapons capabilities. Libby left the vice president's office in October of 2005, after being indicted on five counts of perjury and obstruction of justice; the indictment suggests the Office of the Vice President tried to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson after he went public with his doubts over the charge that Iraq was trying to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger. According to prosecutors, Libby told at least two reporters that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA. Libby has pleaded "not guilty" to the charges and told prosecutors that he was authorized by Cheney to share certain classified material with reporters.
Counsel to the Vice President (2001-2005)
David Addington was legal counsel to Dick Cheney when he was secretary of defense and again when he became vice president. Addington has helped shape the Bush administration's legal opinions justifying harsh interrogation tactics for enemy combatants and has consistently advocated that under the Constitution, the president has unlimited powers as commander in chief during wartime. In October 2005, Addington was tapped to become the vice president's chief of staff, replacing I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who had resigned after being indicted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.
Deputy National Security Advisor (2001-2005)
Another colleague of Cheney's from his Pentagon years, Hadley served as under secretary for defense and international security from 1989 to 1993. In his role as deputy to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice during the second Bush administration, he was responsible for helping prepare the information on Iraq's alleged attempts to obtain weapons of mass destruction that was presented in the president's 2003 State of the Union address. When this information later was proven false, Hadley offered his resignation. Bush turned down his request, and in January 2005, he promoted Hadley to national security advisor, replacing Condoleezza Rice, who had become secretary of state.
William J. Luti
Special Advisor to the Vice President (2001-2002)
A retired Navy captain, Luti was an early advocate of military action against Iraq. He began working inside the Bush administration as an advisor to Vice President Cheney on issues of national security and the Middle East. After 9/11, he moved to the Pentagon as deputy under secretary of defense, overseeing the Office of Special Plans, which would provide the Pentagon with intelligence analysis supporting war with Iraq. In May 2005, he returned to the White House, where he now works on the National Security Council as special assistant to the president and senior director for defense policy strategy.