Skip to comments.Cheney's New Chief of Staff Like His Boss
Posted on 11/11/2005 9:36:56 PM PST by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney chose someone in his own likeness to be his new chief of staff. Like Cheney, David Addington shuns the limelight. And like Cheney, Addington already has made a large imprint on the Bush White House.
At Cheney's side since the 1980s, Addington has been a behind-the-scenes player in one after another of the hot-button controversies the Bush administration has faced:
_The CIA leak probe.
_The fight to disclose which corporations advised the White House on energy policy.
_The dispute over the treatment of suspected terrorists.
_The White House disagreements with the Sept. 11 commission and the Senate Intelligence Committee over the release of documents.
Cheney tapped Addington after I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's former chief of staff, was indicted in the CIA leak investigation.
Addington, who previously was the vice president's lawyer, already has had a stint as Cheney's gatekeeper. He was special assistant to the secretary of defense when Cheney led the Pentagon.
"He's an excellent reflection of his boss smart, action-oriented, tough, loyal," said Brad Berenson, a former lawyer in the White House counsel's office who saw Addington almost daily for a number of years.
"He's certainly very much a reflection of his boss in the areas of counterterrorism and executive power two areas he is most interested in. He espouses a robust view of executive power and an aggressive approach to military Islamic terrorism."
In some respects, Addington is a Cheney twin. Neither is prone to knee-jerk reactions. Each has a direct style that some interpret as blunt and unyielding. Neither is prone to expressing excessive emotion. Both prefer short meetings. Each are voracious readers. Both are known for their work ethics and mental organizational skills.
A stalwart supporter for tough treatment of suspected terrorists, Addington helped then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales in 2002 write a memo that argued Bush had the right to waive anti-torture laws and international treaties that provide protections to prisoners of war.
Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, told National Public Radio earlier this month that it's his belief that the administration began to authorize procedures within the armed forces that led to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners.
"This started from the very beginning when David Addington, the vice president's lawyer, was a staunch advocate of allowing the president in his capacity as commander in chief to deviate from the Geneva Conventions," Wilkerson said.
Addington, who has been accused of no wrongdoing in the CIA leak case, was questioned by investigators and could be called to the witness stand in connection with the case about who disclosed the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame.
Before she was exposed, her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, had been critical of the intelligence that the White House used to allege that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, a key justification for the war.
Addington was mentioned in title, not name, in the indictment. It says Libby met with Addington on July 8, 2003, in an anteroom for the vice president's office and asked him "what paperwork there would be a the CIA if an employee's spouse undertook an overseas trip."
The indictment did not say whether Addington actually sought more information on Wilson.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he thinks Cheney's decision to make Addington his chief of staff and John Hannah his national security adviser shows a "bunker mentality."
"There were many reports that they were involved in discussions with the vice president, with Scooter Libby, about Ms. Plame, about her classified position and about what to do with it," said Schumer, who has called on Addington and Hannah to issue statements about any role they played.
Addington, 48, has been a key player in the vice president's office since January 2001. Before that, he held positions at the CIA, the Defense Department, the White House and various congressional committees on intelligence and foreign affairs.
In the private sector, Addington, a graduate of Duke University School of Law and the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, directed a multi-candidate political action committee. He also practiced law with two firms and was senior vice president and general counsel for the American Trucking Association. He is married and has three daughters.
Nancy Dorn, who has known Addington for more than 20 years, said he is a student of politics, history and law but is not bookish.
"I can't imagine him reading Carl Hiassen," Dorn said about the satirical novelist. "But he's got a funny, wry sense of humor sort of like the vice president. I wouldn't call him quiet, but he's not a show-boater."
Some people who have worked with Addington say privately that he can be stubborn or unyielding. His friends say he's simply a principled public servant who often totes his lunch to work on the Metro.
"He has got a point of view on matters and he's not shy about reflecting that," said Dorn, who has spent time with Addington's family at Fourth of July fireworks celebrations. "He can certainly, as a good lawyer, defend his point of view, but I disagree with this characterization that he runs over people."
Sean O'Keefe, who worked with Addington at the Pentagon, called him a "taskmaster" whose entrance into a room was a signal to listen up.
"It was always crisp, to the point 'Here's the issue. What do you think of this? Where do we go from here? I need your opinion so I can make sure the secretary has all the views,'" O'Keefe said.
"He never lingered. He'd just walk in a room and bang. That was the signal for all work to stop because he never did that for frivolous reasons."
Excellent. I really like Cheney. When he speaks, people listen. That's why the democrats hate him. His speeches are mesmerizing.
I'm glad he was able to find a perfect match for the job. They should work well together.
In this photo provided by the White House, David Addington is shown July 19, 2005. Addington was named Monday, Oct. 31, 2005 as Vice Presdent Dick Cheney's chief of staff. (AP Photo/White House, David Bohrer)
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney recites the Pledge of Allegiance during observance of Veteran's Day at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington November 11, 2005. REUTERS/Larry Downing
If theres one thing this Administration has proven, it's that they know how to find the most qualified person for every job.
I'm lobbying for General Honore to take over the WH Press Secretary job. ;-)
Cheney forgot to check with Schumer again? Oy!