Bush administration cast of characters (a brief overview)

Cast of characters
From left: Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Andrew Card, George Tenet (seated) and Donald Rumsfeld. December 2001

Colin Powell, Secretary of State. Served during Bush’s first term in office, seen as a moderate within the Bush cabinet. Powell initially opposed an invasion of Iraq, preferring to continue the strategy of containment (as he did in the Gulf War); eventually he conceded on the condition that an invasion was multilateral. Powell then headed the diplomatic effort to gain support from the international community, speaking at the United Nations and citing concern over Iraq’s biological and potentially nuclear weapons: it was later found that he used faulty intelligence, taking a hit in his public approval rating but still having convinced the UN to partially support invasion. Powell’s reluctance to advocate invasion foreshadowed political infighting between his State Department, and Rumsfeld’s Defense Department and Cheney’s office on issues surrounding Iran and North Korea. His resignation was effective at the end of Bush’s first term. Powell had also served as National Security Adviser under Reagan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under H.W. Bush and Clinton.

Condoleeza Rice, National Security Adviser and Secretary of State. Served as NSA during the first Bush term, and Secretary of State during the second. Though she met with CIA Director Tenet several times over the summer of 2001, she fundamentally ignored intelligence warning of a terrorist attack. In 2002 she approved the use of waterboarding and Enhanced Interrogation Techniques to Tenet, and in 2003 she, Attorney General John Ascroft and Cheney reaffirmed that such methods were legal. That year she became an advocate of invading Iraq, citing intelligence on Iraqi WMDs. After claiming executive privilege, she appeared before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States on 8 April 2004, becoming the first NSA to testify on matters of policy. As Secretary of State she advocated reform and democratization of the MENA region. Though she had strong presidential support, she was kept out of discussions regarding trying enemy combatants in military tribunals, a position Cheney advocated.

Andrew Card, Jr., White House Chief of Staff. Bush’s first Chief of Staff. On 11 September 2001 while Bush was conducting an education event, it was Card who whispered in his ear that terrorists had attacked the United States. He sided with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman when she objected to a plan by Cheney’s energy task force to transfer authority of regulating some power plant emissions to the Energy Department. His resignation was effective 14 April 2006.

George Tenet, Director of Central Intelligence for the CIA. Oversaw WMD intelligence reports and the expansion of executive interrogation techniques. In 2000, Tenet urged caution towards the CIA fielding the lethal Predator drone in Afghanistan, but eventually agreed (on Rice’s suggestion) that testing and eventual deployment should be carried out. During the summer of 2001 he met with Rice on several occasions, highlighting the threat of terrorism, but he was ultimately ignored. Tenet allegedly lent his private authority to the intelligence reports about WMDs in Iraq, assuring Bush that the evidence amounted to “a slam dunk case” (after months of refusing to confirm the statement, he claimed it was taken out of context). Under Tenet’s directorship, the CIA authorized the President to use waterboarding and EITs on three suspected Al-Qaeda members. His resignation was submitted on 3 June 2004, one day before his Deputy Director of the CIA James Pavitt’s.

Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense. Cheney’s mentor under the Nixon and Ford administrations. He led the military planning and execution of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and shared Dick’s position that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to Al-Queda and Taliban captives. Rumsfeld resigned after the November 2004 election. He also served as White House Chief of Staff (succeeded by Cheney) and later, Secretary of Defense, under Ford.

Bush Rove
13 August 2007

Karl Rove, Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff. Bush’s chief political and campaign adviser. In 2002 and 2003 Rove chaired the White House Iraq Group, which was dedicated to illustrating the threat of Saddam Hussein and ultimately recommended invasion. In the victory speech after his 2004 re-election Bush thanked Rove and named him “the architect” of his successful campaign. Many assumed that decisions made by Cheney and executed by Rove were Rove’s alone (such as reversing the decision to cut off irrigation water to farmers in favor of a threatened species of fish), an indication of Cheney’s success at staying behind the scenes. His resignation was effective 31 August 2007.

Cheney Libby
1 July 2005

I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s Chief of Staff and Assistant for National Security Affairs, assistant to the President. Convicted for perjury and obstruction of justice in unmasking Valery Plame Wilson. Libby resigned all three of his positions when his indictment was announced in 2005, damaging Cheney’s reputation in the process. Libby was sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000, but on 2 July 2007 his prison sentence was commuted by Bush. He is the highest ranking government official convicted in a government scandal since John Pointdexter, Reagan’s National Security Adviser in the Iran-Contra affair.

Addington
5 November 2007

David S. Addington, Cheney’s Chief of Staff. Worked under Cheney in Congress and the Pentagon, succeeded Libby as Chief of Staff. He expanded the legal powers of the Executive during wartime, and drafted the Gonzales memo which stated Al-Queda and Taliban captives should not be covered under the Geneva Conventions.

Bush Robert
20 July 2005

John G. Roberts, Chief Justice on the Supreme Court. Appointed as Supreme Court Justice to replace Sandra Day O’Conner after her retirement in 2005, after Cheney had compiled the final list of five candidates. He was promoted later that year to Chief Justice, replacing the late William Rehnquist. His appointment and promotion have served as Bush and Cheney’s conservative mark on the Court: among his decisions, he has ruled that university’s accepting federal money must allow military recruiters on campus; upheld the constitutionality of the Partial-Birth Abortion Act; and ruled that a student in a public school-sponsored activity does not have the right to advocate drug use on the basis that free speech does not invariably prevent the exercise of school discipline. At age 50, he was the youngest person to be appointed Chief Justice in 200 years.

Bush Cheney Greenspan
5 February 2001

Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve Chairman. A laissez-faire capitalist, Objectivist and part of the Ayn Rand Collective. He was nominated by Bush to serve an unprecedented 5th term on 18 May 2004. When Greenspan met with Bush, Cheney was always present. Though he explained to the administration his worry of the Bush tax cuts on the national deficit, his comments were ultimately ignored. Greenspan retired in 2006, after the second-longest tenure in the position.

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