by Charles Carreon
12:30am, November 2,
Dick Cheney's new hit man, Mr.
Addington, has not just taken Libby's place, he has jumped into his work
with a will. Moving to the hot policy debates, like the need to preserve
"the option" for American soldiers to engage in cruel, humiliating and
degrading treatment, Addington decided to demonstrate why such techniques
can be useful.
Tim Golden and Eric
Schmitt for The New York Times wrote:
A central player in the fight over the directive is David S. Addington,
who was the vice president's counsel until he was named on Monday to
succeed I. Lewis Libby Jr. as Mr. Cheney's chief of staff. According to
several officials, Mr. Addington verbally assailed a Pentagon aide who
was called to brief him and Mr. Libby on the draft, objecting to its use
of language drawn from Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
"He left bruised
and bloody," one Defense Department
official said of the Pentagon aide, Matthew C. Waxman, Mr. Rumsfeld's
chief adviser on detainee issues. "He tried to champion Article 3, and
Addington just ate him for lunch."
After taking the gloves off to
rough up Mr. Waxman, Addington let his lackeys clean up the interrogation
A spokesman for the vice president, Stephen E. Schmidt, said Mr.
Addington would have no comment on his reported role in the
policy debates. A Defense Department spokesman, Bryan
Whitman, also would not discuss Mr. Waxman's role
except to say it was "certainly an exaggeration" to characterize
him as having been bloodied by Mr. Addington.
And, we might add, it was obvious
hyperbole to suggest that Mr. Addington would engage in cannibalism. Such
revelries are no doubt reserved for high holy days in the Bohemian Grove.
But let's keep things in
perspective. Sure Addington took off the gloves. He got a little rough,
but look at the people he has to deal with. Towelhead sympathizers in the
Defense Department who go soft on you right when we've got the terrorists
on the ropes. This is no time to give up on a program that is working. The
guy got what was coming to him.
8:21pm, November 6, 2005
It seems my intuition about
Addington, based on the above description of his behavior, was true.
Newsweek has just written a piece called Cheney In The Bunker that
provides a more complete view of the Addington-Cheney track record on this
torture stuff. It all adds up. They really believe in violence as a way of
prevailing in every aspect of life. I do believe they are from that very
special breed: Bull Troglodytes.
In his time of need, he has counted on the help of at least one
unswervingly faithful aide. With Libby sidelined, the vice president has
elevated David Addington, a loyal acolyte, to be his new chief of staff.
Addington has been at the vice president's side since the 1980s, when
Cheney was a congressman and Addington a lawyer for the House
intelligence committee. When Cheney became secretary of Defense during
the first Bush presidency, Addington went with him. A skilled
bureaucratic infighter who uses his temper strategically to stun foes
into submission, Addington, now 48, has matured into a classic
Washington type: the most powerful man you've never heard of. As
Cheney's counsel, Addington—a private workaholic who, unlike Libby,
shuns reporters—was one of the most forceful voices for tough treatment
of terror suspects. It was Addington who drafted the January 2002
Alberto Gonzales memo which argued that captured Taliban and Qaeda
fighters shouldn't be covered by the Geneva Conventions. He was behind
the presidential order establishing military tribunals. And he
passionately argued that in wartime the president has almost unlimited
power—a point of view that was spelled out in the "torture memo" that
the administration was eventually forced to rescind under public
Now those policies have become
a burden for the White House. When Bush began his second term in 2004, a
group of top administration officials, led by Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice, began a quiet campaign to back off some controversial
detention and interrogation methods that were damaging U.S. credibility
around the world. At White House meetings, Rice openly worried that in
the aftermath of Abu Ghraib "these policies threatened to be the
president's legacy," says an administration official who was present but
asked for anonymity about the private sessions. Among the proposals
seriously considered inside the bureaucracy: shutting down the prison at
Guan-tanamo Bay, allowing U.N. inspectors to tour Gitmo and pledging to
follow Article III of the Geneva Conventions, which bars "cruel,
degrading and inhumane" treatment of prisoners. Among Rice's supporters
were two staunch defenders of the war on terror: national-security
adviser Stephen Hadley, and Gordon England, Donald Rumsfeld's new
deputy—an important shift that suggested Rumsfeld had qualms of his own.
Staffers were dispatched to
write up the new policies. But in the end, nothing came of them. Cheney
and Addington, who usually stayed silent at meetings, used their
influence afterward to kill the ideas, according to three administration
officials who asked for anonymity to avoid crossing the vice president.
"Each time, [we] hit a brick wall—the vice president's office and
Addington," says one of the officials. The vice president's office
declined to comment for this story beyond saying that Cheney "is
motivated first and foremost in support of policies that will save
American lives from a brutal enemy that has declared war on us."
Cheney relied on Addington to
help him wrestle with the bureaucracy. "He knows it inside and out,"
says Juleanna Glover Weiss, Cheney's former press secretary. "He's a
master of the Rube Goldberg-esque workings of the executive branch."
Friends marvel at his ability to wade through hundreds of pages of
turgid government reports to seize upon the one fact he needs to win an
argument. "If you threw the entire U.S. budget into the air, David
Addington could read it and mark it up before it ever hit the ground,"
says David Gribbin, a former Pentagon colleague. He could also be
unforgiving. When a young Justice Department lawyer named Pat Philbin
crossed Addington in a policy dispute, Addington made it his mission to
block Philbin's promotion to a top Justice job. Addington let it be
known that Philbin was a "marked man," says a colleague who spoke
anonymously to avoid clashing with Addington. (Addington and Philbin
declined to comment.)
Cheney and Addington's
single-minded devotion to the idea of a powerful wartime presidency has,
at times, led them to ignore important political realities. In 2002,
administration lawyers tried to persuade Cheney and Addington to back
off from the policy of denying U.S. "enemy combatants" access to legal
counsel. But Cheney and Addington refused. But by 2004, the case had
reached the Supreme Court and the administration wound up abandoning the
position anyway, before the Justices could knock it down as
unconstitutional. "David could be principled to a fault," says Bradford
Berenson, a former White House colleague. It's a quality the vice
president and his loyal aide admire most about one another—and one that
will help define the battles to come.
© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.
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