Jim Wilkinson

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Jim Wilkinson (James R. Wilkinson), who served as General Tommy R. Franks' director of strategic communications, is deputy national security advisor for communications as of December 2003. Wilkinson "will craft long-term messaging strategy for the National Security Council" and report to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and White House communications director Dan Bartlett.[1]

Prior to his return to the White House, Wilkinson briefly served as director of communications for the Republican National Convention, which will take place in New York City Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, 2004. "His office, on the 18th floor over Madison Square Garden, is furnished with the essentials: leather-bound Bible, Yankee cap, Fox News on the flat-screen TV. ... His task: establish a communications center in the core of the media capital of the Western world."

"Mr. Wilkinson is bringing the lessons about access and message that the Bush administration learned in Gulf War II--where he helped to manage the program of embedding reporters in combat units--to the home front. ... As for talent, he had General Tommy Franks; now he's got [New York] Governor George Pataki."

"Formerly a political operative, Mr. Wilkinson was put in the position of feeding, informing and calming the most motivated media army in the world in Qatar. There, inside the massive telecommunications studio assembled by the U.S. Army and the Bush administration, he earned both the enmity and admiration of various parts of the worldwide press during war in a technologically superb and informationally sparse desert press center. ... 'It was an unprofessional operation,' said Peter Boyer of The New Yorker, who said he landed an interview with General Franks only by going around Mr. Wilkinson to the Pentagon."

"Jim Wilkinson has gone from politics to war and back since he worked for George W. Bush in Florida during the 2000 election, and his journey is a mark of the administration's utilitarian approach to marketing war, politics and the Presidency. 'He's a man who prefers to work behind the scenes,' said the spokesman for the Republican National Committee, Jim Dyke. He's also got as pure a Republican pedigree as you can wish, and an edge honed in the bitter partisan wars between Bill Clinton and the Republican House leadership.

"Mr. Wilkinson grew up in East Texas and attended high school in Tenaha, population 1,046, then gave up plans to become an undertaker to go to work for Republican Congressman Dick Armey in 1992. Mr. Armey soon became House majority leader; his communications director, Mr. Wilkinson's mentor, was Ed Gillespie, now chairman of the R.N.C."

"Wilkinson first left his mark on the 2000 Presidential race in March 1999, when he helped package and promote the notion that Al Gore claimed to have 'invented the Internet.' Then the Texan popped up in Miami to defend Republican protesters shutting down a recount: 'We find it interesting that when Jesse Jackson has thousands of protesters in the streets, it's O.K., but when a small number of Republicans exercise their First Amendment rights, the Democrats don't seem to like it,' he told the Associated Press.

"For his troubles, Mr. Wilkinson was made deputy director of communications for planning in the Bush White House, and was among the aides who set up the Sept. 14, 2001, visit to Ground Zero that redefined George W. Bush's Presidency. During the Afghan war, he managed 'Coalition Information Centers' in Washington, D.C., and London, as well as in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In Qatar, he became the point man on the rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch and delivered the most memorable and sellable quote of Gulf War II: 'America doesn't leave its heroes behind,' he told reporters at a late-night briefing."

Source: New York Observer, October 23, 2003.


22 October 2003, Salon.com: Karl Rove's "choice as director of communications for the convention is none other than Jim Wilkinson, the flack who left so many reporters furious last spring when he handled Pentagon press relations at the Iraq War headquarters, U.S. Central Command in Doha, Qatar."


19 August 2003, Republican National Committee Press Release: "2004 Republican National Convention Manager and CEO Bill Harris announced today the appointment of James R. Wilkinson as Director of Communications for the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City.

"Wilkinson currently serves as Director of Strategic Communications at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida, and during 2001-02 worked for President George W. Bush in the White House as Deputy Director of Communications for Planning. In 2000 Wilkinson served as Director of Communications at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). Prior to joining the NRCC, Wilkinson spent several years working in Congress for former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), serving in several roles, including Press Secretary and Political Director."


17 March 2003, Buzzflash: "Former Bush campaign aide Jim Wilkinson, (forever seared into the American psyche as the spokesman for GOP Miami-based protesters clamoring to stop the Florida ballot re-count during the 2000 election) has been hired as Tommy Frank's top spokesperson at the media center, and will be responsible for overseeing 42 military public affairs officers charged with managing hundreds of international correspondents covering the war.

"In other words, the media center that's been built by the military, has been designed, in part, by the Hollywood art director who adds the Orwellian ambiance to George Bush's speeches. And to make matters worse, this entire public affairs operation is headed Jim Wilkinson, one of the thugs who protested the Florida recount.

"Ever the good soldier, (though a civilian, Wilkinson reportedly wears a military desert camouflage uniform to work), Wilkinson is poised to 'manage' journalists working at the center, many of whom are currently enjoying Ritz-Carlton accommodations, open bars and free buffets and belly dancing. 'It's a first-class war,' said Peter Lloyd, correspondent for Australian Broadcasting Corp."

Note: The Hollywood art director is "George Allison, the Hollywood honcho who designed the $200,000 stage, most recently worked on the upcoming Kirk and Michael Douglas film, as well as on George Bush's 'Corporate Responsibility' and other propaganda backdrops."


18 September 2002: White House "Deputy Communications Director Jim Wilkinson, 32, a fast-talking Texan who has become an unlikely but keen student of Islam .... recently got back from a trip to Morocco where he continued his study of Arabic (which he can now read and write pretty well).

"It was Wilkinson who spearheaded the successful Afghan women's campaign last year. A Naval Reserve officer, Wilkinson got his start working with Bush ally Texas Rep. Dick Armey. He's the go-to guy when the White House needs information against its enemies.

"In the last few weeks, he and his underlings have weeded through hundreds of pages of news clippings, U.N. resolutions and State Department reports to compile an arsenal of documents against Saddam Hussein. They released the first round last week: 'Decade of Defiance and Deception' (a broken-U.N.-resolutions hit parade)."


Recap of Notable Quotes/Activities

  • "Wilkinson first left his mark on the 2000 Presidential race in March 1999, when he helped package and promote the notion that Al Gore claimed to have 'invented the Internet.'"[2]
  • "Then [Wilkinson] popped up in Miami to defend Republican protesters shutting down a recount: 'We find it interesting that when Jesse Jackson has thousands of protesters in the streets, it's O.K., but when a small number of Republicans exercise their First Amendment rights, the Democrats don't seem to like it,' he told the Associated Press."[3]
  • Wilkinson "spearheaded the successful Afghan women's campaign last year."[4]
  • During "Gulf War II [Wilkinson] helped to manage the program of embedding reporters in combat units--to the home front."[5]
  • Wilkinson "left so many reporters furious last spring when he handled Pentagon press relations at the Iraq War headquarters, U.S. Central Command in Doha, Qatar."[6]
  • "President Saddam Hussein is seeking uniforms that are 'identical down to the last detail' to those worn by American and British troops, so that atrocities carried out by Iraqi forces could be blamed on the allies, a senior Defense Department official said Thursday. ... James R. Wilkinson, chief spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, said Hussein had ordered the uniforms for use by members of his paramilitary force, Fedayeen Saddam. ... These forces, Wilkinson said, 'would wear them when conducting reprisals against the Iraqi people so that they could pass the atrocities off as the work of the United States and the United Kingdom.'"[7]
  • "'Key regime figures had spheres of influence, and many in Uday and Qusay's spheres of influence are without a doubt sleeping better tonight,' said James R. Wilkinson, spokesman for the United States Central Command in Tampa, Fla."[8]

Other Related SourceWatch Resources

External links

  • Interview with Jim Wilkinson: Republican House Majority and Election 2000, evote.com, September 5, 2000.
  • Photo: Jim Wilkinson as White House Deputy Director of Communications.
  • Jim Wilkinson: "The man who led Centcom's communications during the Iraq war will be directing the Republican Party's communications at next year's convention. James R. Wilkinson, the director of the U.S. Central Command's strategic communications office, was named communications director for the 2004 Republican National Convention. Wilkinson, a Navy reservist, was a deputy communications director in the White House until he joined Gen. Tommy R. Franks's staff in Tampa before the war in Iraq. ... Does this prove the inverse of Carl von Clausewitz's theory that war is the continuation of politics by other means? The loquacious Wilkinson had no comment."
  • Maureen Farrell, "Bush's Attack Puppy Nips at the Truth," BuzzFlash, April 2, 2004.