James Woolsey: Wikis


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R. James Woolsey Jr.

In office
February 5, 1993 – January 10, 1995
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Robert Gates
Succeeded by John M. Deutch

Born September 21, 1941 (1941-09-21) (age 68)
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Robert James Woolsey Jr. (born September 21, 1941) is a foreign policy specialist and former Director of Central Intelligence and head of the Central Intelligence Agency (February 5, 1993 - January 10, 1995).


Early life

Woolsey was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he graduated from Tulsa Central High School. In 1963 he received his BA from Stanford University (Phi Beta Kappa), and in 1965 his MA from Oxford University — where he was a Rhodes Scholar — and an LLB from Yale Law School in 1968.

Woolsey was founder and president of Yale Citizens for Eugene McCarthy for President from 1967 to 1968. He was prominently active in the anti-Vietnam War movement.[1]


Woolsey has been known primarily as a neoconservative Democrat[2][3]hawkish on foreign policy issues but liberal on economic and social issues. He endorsed Senator John McCain for president and served as one of McCain's foreign policy advisors.[4] He has called himself a "Scoop Jackson Democrat" and a "Joe Lieberman Democrat", with "social democratic" domestic views. He regards the label 'neoconservative' as a "silly term".[1]

Woolsey has held important positions in both Democratic and Republican administrations. His influence has been felt during the administrations of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. Woolsey is known as well recently for clearly articulating the national security argument in support of moving away from fossil fuels and towards distributed generation. He also advocates for measures to fight global warming and against global warming skeptics.[1]

Woolsey has served in the U.S. government as:

Associate, Shea Gardner law firm, 1973-77; partner, Shea Gardner, 1979-89, 1991-93

He is currently a member of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) Board of Advisors, Advisor of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, Founding Member of the Set America Free Coalition, and a Senior Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton for Global Strategic Security (since July 15, 2002).[5] He is a Patron of the Henry Jackson Society, a British think tank based in Cambridge. He was formerly chairman of the Freedom House board of trustees.

Woolsey is also a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and was one of the signatories to the January 26, 1998 letter sent to President Clinton that called for the removal of Saddam Hussein.[6] That same year he served on the Rumsfeld Commission, which investigated the threat of ballistic missiles for the US Congress.

Within hours of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Woolsey appeared on television suggesting Iraqi complicity.[7] In September 2002, as Congress was deliberating authorizing President Bush to use force against Iraq, Woolsey told The Wall Street Journal that he believed that Iraq was also connected to the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.[8] In July 2006, he called on the US to bomb Syria.

On an January 14, 2009 interview by Peter Robinson in the program Uncommon Knowledge, Woolsey described the CIA's intelligence about alleged Iraqi chemical and biological weapons as a "failure" before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He criticized the Bush administration for lumping together many different materials with different capabilities under the broad category of 'weapons of mass destruction'. He also stated that the Iraqis engaged on "red on red deception" in which Generals were led to falsely believe that their rival Generals had weapons, and he described the American intelligence failure as a reasonable mistake rather than an act of incompetence.[1]

Woolsey is supportive of current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Leon Panetta, whom he has compared to Kennedy-era CIA head John McCone.[1]

Along with six other former directors, Woolsey was one of the signatories to the September 18, 2009 letter sent to President Obama[1] urging The President to exercise authority to reverse Attorney General Holder’s August 24 decision to re-open the criminal investigation of CIA interrogations.

Relationship with President Clinton

As Director of Central Intelligence, Woolsey is notable for having a very limited relationship with President Clinton. According to journalist Richard Miniter:

Never once in his two-year tenure did CIA director James Woolsey ever have a one-on-one meeting with Clinton. Even semiprivate meetings were rare. They only happened twice. Woolsey told me: "It wasn't that I had a bad relationship with the president. It just didn't exist."[9]

Another quote about his relationship with Clinton, according to Paula Kaufman of Insight on the News:

Remember the guy who in 1994 crashed his plane onto the White House lawn? That was me trying to get an appointment to see President Clinton.[10]

David Halberstam notes in War in a Time of Peace that Clinton chose Woolsey for CIA director because the Clinton campaign had courted neoconservatives leading up to the 1992 election, promising to be tougher on Taiwan, Bosnia, and human rights in China, and it was decided that they ought to give at least one neoconservative a job in the administration.

U.S. energy policy

Woolsey was a keynote speaker at the EELPJ symposium on wind energy and biofuels in Houston, Texas on February 23, 2007, during which he outlined the national security arguments in favor of moving away from fossil fuels.[11] In a July 2007 interview with The Futurist magazine he argued that U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil ranks "very high" as a national security concern.[12]

Woolsey is featured in Thomas Friedman's Discovery Channel documentary Addicted to Oil, and in the 2006 documentary film Who Killed the Electric Car? addressing solutions to oil dependency through the development of the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and use of biomass fuels such as cellulosic ethanol. He is a founding member of the Set America Free Coalition, dedicated to freeing the United States from oil dependence. He is also on the board of directors for the electric vehicle advocacy group Plug In America and an advisor to The Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, which promotes the Robert Zubrin plan for the elimination of tariffs and subsidies related to ethanol, sugar, and corn, and the Flex Fuel Mandate.

Woolsey also wrote the foreword to 50 Simple Steps to Save the Earth from Global Warming (Freedom Press, 2008). In 2008 Woolsey joined VantagePoint Venture Partners as a venture partner.

McCain adviser

John McCain hired Jim Woolsey as an advisor on energy and climate change issues for his 2008 US Presidential election campaign.[13]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Intelligence and Security with James Woolsey. Uncommon Knowledge. Filmed on January 14, 2009. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  2. ^ Indyk, Martin (2009). Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East. Simon and Schuster. p. 16. ISBN 1416594299.  
  3. ^ Halberstam, David (2002). War in a Time of Peace. Simon and Schuster. p. 191–92. ISBN 0743218248.  
  4. ^ McMahon, Robert (2008-06-03). "McCain's Brain Trust". Newsweek. http://www.newsweek.com/id/139898/output/print. Retrieved 2008-06-18.  
  5. ^ Right Web | Profile | James Woolsey
  6. ^ Project New American Century : The Indy Voice - “Be the change you want to see in the world…”
  7. ^ Former CIA Director Asserts Iraq May be Behind Terrorist Attacks CNN September 12, 2001
  8. ^ Morrison, Micah (2002-09-02). "The Iraq Connection". The Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article_email/article_print/SB1031184073773956835-.html. Retrieved 2008-06-29.  
  9. ^ Q&A with Richard Miniter on Osama bin Laden on National Review Online
  10. ^ Woolsey wary of more attacks; former CIA director James Woolsey says the U.S. could ensure a more peaceful world by toppling Iraq's Saddam Hussein and ceasing its toleration o...
  11. ^ EELPJ Symposium February, 2007
  12. ^ Ending the Oil Era The Futurist July, 2007
  13. ^ John McCain hires former CIA director Jim Woolsey as green advisor - Telegraph

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Robert Gates
Director of Central Intelligence
February 5, 1993 - January 10, 1995
Succeeded by
John M. Deutch


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