Robert M. Gates
This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."
Gates, who was confirmed December 6, 2006, by the U.S. Senate in a 95-2 vote , was nominated November 8, 2006, by President George W. Bush to replace Donald H. Rumsfeld, who resigned on November 8, 2006, following the 2006 congressional elections.
'I don't know' whether invading Iraq was a good idea
In an interview with New York Times' David Brooks published September 19, 2007, Gates "was hesitant to endorse several cornerstones of President Bush’s foreign policy ... When asked whether invading Iraq was a good idea, knowing what we know now. He looked at [Brooks] for a bit and said, 'I don’t know.'"
Gates "no expert"
While testifying January 11, 2007, before the House Armed Services Committee, Gates "told lawmakers , 'I would confess I'm no expert on Iraq' Later, asked about reaching the right balance between American and Iraqi forces, Gates told the panel he was 'no expert on military matters.'" 
Gates, prior to his nomination in November 2006, served as a member of the Iraq Study Group, which was created in March 2006 by Congress. The Group met to "devise a fresh set of policies to help" President Bush "chart a new course in—or, perhaps, to get the hell out of—Iraq," Robert Dreyfuss wrote in the September 2006 edition of the Washington Monthly.
- 1 Controversy & criticism
- 2 Profiles
- 3 Resources
Controversy & criticism
On Gates and George H.W. Bush
"But if anything defines Bob Gates, it is the fact that he is extremely close to the very Bush Rumsfeld so detested," Ivo Daalder wrote November 8, 2006, at the TPM Cafe Blog. "Gates worked for Bush when the latter was CIA director in the mid 1970s (a position to which Bush was appointed by [President Gerald] Ford on the recommendation of Rumsfeld in order to put him out of the running for the VP slot in 1976). During Bush 41’s presidency, Gates served as deputy national security adviser and then as CIA director. And since leaving government, Gates has been dean of the Bush School and then president of Texas A&M, which is where the Bush presidential library is located. ... In other words, Bob Gates is a Bush 41 kinda guy — not exactly the profile of a Bush 43 national security principal during the last six years."
On the "Axis of Evil"
The Bush administration "has long seen distinctions among the evils in its axis. The North Koreans confessed, which implies a willingness to keep talking. Saddam continues to dodge and deny, which to the Bushies implies that only force can work," Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs wrote October 28, 2002, in TIME Magazine. "'North Korea isn't an imminent threat to anyone,' says former CIA Director Bob Gates. 'They haven't attacked anyone in 50 years.' Iraq invades its neighbors and could use nuclear weapons to threaten the whole region, which—at least until last week—was far more volatile than Asia."
An October 13, 2006, news release from Texas A&M Engineering and Nuclear Science Center announced that it and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) had "successfully converted the university's 1-megawatt TRIGA research reactor's fuel from highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU)," which was the "first research reactor conversion in the United States since the creation of NNSA's Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) in May 2004. As a part of its nonproliferation mission, NNSA converts research reactors in the United States and around the world from operating on HEU to LEU fuel. The effort is part of the Bush administration's efforts to minimize the use of highly enriched uranium in civilian applications around the world. ...
"The conversion of the Texas A&M research reactor supports" the March 2005 Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) "under which the United States, Mexico and Canada agreed to complete the conversion of civilian HEU reactors on the North American continent by 2011, provided such LEU fuel is available. Specifically, the United States will convert six university research reactors, Mexico will convert its one research reactor in Mexico City, and Canada will convert three research reactors," the news release stated.
Bombing Baghdad & Saddam Hussein
"During the bombing of Baghdad in 1991, officials in the [George H.W.] Bush White House 'lit a candle every night hoping Saddam Hussein would be killed in a bunker,' according to Robert M. Gates, then a National Security Council official and later director of the CIA," Walter Pincus wrote in the February 15, 1998, Washington Post. "A former top intelligence official in the Clinton administration said yesterday, 'Those candles will be lit again if we have to bomb again. Command and control sites will be targeted and we hope that Saddam Hussein is in one of them.'"
"Gates said that U.S. involvement in an assassination attempt against Saddam Hussein 'would put our own leaders at increased risk, not to mention U.S. diplomats and other American citizens traveling abroad'," Pincus wrote.
- "Independent Counsel found insufficient evidence to warrant charging Robert Gates with a crime for his role in the Iran/contra affair. Like those of many other Iran/contra figures, the statements of Gates often seemed scripted and less than candid. Nevertheless, given the complex nature of the activities and Gates's apparent lack of direct participation, a jury could find the evidence left a reasonable doubt that Gates either obstructed official inquiries or that his two demonstrably incorrect statements were deliberate lies."
Career CIA bureaucrat
"If you want a whiff of the unavoidably bureaucratic and political nature of Big Intelligence, go find some of the op-ed pieces written by Robert M. Gates who served as Director from 1991 to 1993. The good old New York Times often published his puff pieces. Gates was a career CIA bureaucrat, I believe the only one ever given the top job. His pieces, bromides expressed in oily institutional prose, are not worth reading except for the sense they convey of a decades-long career of throbbingly-dull, inconclusive reports," John Chuckman wrote June 9, 2004, in CounterPunch.
According to his university biography, Dr. Robert M. Gates is "the 22nd President of Texas A&M University, the nation's seventh largest university and an institution recognized internationally for its teaching, research and public service. He assumed the presidency of the land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant university on August 1, 2002. Dr. Gates served as Interim Dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M from 1999-2001.
"He served as Director of Central Intelligence from 1991 until 1993. In this position, he headed all foreign intelligence agencies of the United States and directed the Central Intelligence Agency. Dr. Gates is the only career officer in CIA's history to rise from entry-level employee to Director. He served as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from 1986 until 1989 and as Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser at The White House from January 20, 1989 until November 6, 1991 for President George H.W. Bush.
"Dr. Gates joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966 and spent nearly 27 years as an intelligence professional, serving six presidents. During that period, he spent nearly nine years at the National Security Council, The White House, serving four presidents of both political parties. ...
"Dr. Gates serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the American Council on Education, the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, and the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America. He is President of the National Eagle Scout Association. ...
"A native of Kansas, Dr. Gates received his bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary, his master's degree in history from Indiana University, and his doctorate in Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University. Dr. Gates is 62, and he and his wife Becky have two adult children."
- March 2006-present - Iraq Study Group 
- 2005 - Member, National Security Higher Education Advisory Board 
- 2005 - National Security Advisor, Oil Shockwave ("an oil crisis simulation conducted" early Summer 2005) 
- 2005 - "Turns down President George W. Bush's offer to return as the first director of national intelligence, a position created under post-Sept. 11, 2001, reforms." 
- 2004 - Co-chair of Independent Task Force on U.S. Policy Toward Iran (Council on Foreign Relations). 
- August 2002-November 2006 - President of Texas A&M University.
- 1999-2001 - Interim Dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Services at Texas A&M University.
- November 1991-January 1993 - Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
- 1989-1991 - Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor.
- 1986-1989 - Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
- January 1982 - Deputy Director of Intelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency.
- November 1981 - National Intelligence Officer for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
- July 1981 - Director of the new Office of Policy and Planning.
- March 1981 - Director of the Executive Staff in the Office of the Director of Central Intelligence.
- 1980-1981 - National Intelligence Officer for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
- 1979 - Director of the Strategic Evaluation Center at the Central Intelligence Agency.
- April 1979-December 1979 - Special Assistant to the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (President Jimmy Carter) 
- 1976 - Served in the Center for Public Policy at the Central Intelligence Agency.
- 1974-1976 - Served on National Security Council staff at the White House.
- 1974 - Earns his doctorate from Georgetown University.
- 1973 - Assistant National Intelligence Officer for Strategic Programs.
- 1972 - Assigned to staff of the Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence for Strategic Arms Limitations.
- 1969 - Civilian current intelligence analyst in the Office of Current Intelligence.
- 1966-74 - Signs up with the CIA, but serves in the Air Force for two years before starting his job at the agency as an intelligence analyst.
- 1966 - Earns a master's degree from Indiana University.
- 1965 - Earns a bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary.
- September 25, 1943 - Robert M. Gates born in Wichita, Kansas.
Robert M. Gates has either served or is currently serving in the following capacities:
- Member, Iraq Study Group
- Member, Aspen Institute / Aspen Strategy Group
- Chairman of the Independent Trustees, Fidelity Investments
- Trustee, Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
- Trustee, Forum for International Policy 
- Director, Brinker International, Inc.
- Director, Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC)
- Director, LucasVarity plc
- Director, Nacco Industries, Inc.
- Director, Parker Drilling Company, Inc.
- Director, Science Applications International Corporation 
- Director, TRW Inc.
- Advisory Board, America Abroad Media 
- Advisor, The National Academies 
- Director, VoteHere, according to e-voting activist Bev Harris.
"Before becoming DCI on November 6, 1991, Robert M. Gates had already served as DDCI for many years, and even served as acting DCI during Casey's illness. As DCI (a job to which [George H.W.] Bush appointed him), he led the redirection of CIA efforts away from their Cold War orientation, and toward a focus on issues such as nonproliferation, terrorism, and drug trafficking. During an October, 1992 visit to Moscow, Gates did something inconceivable for a DCI in Dulles's time: he entered the Kremlin." (Note: Allen W. Dulles served as DCI February 26, 1953-November 29, 1961; William J. Casey served as DCI January 28, 1981-January 29, 1987.) 
Published works by Robert M. Gates
- "Iran: Time for a New Approach", with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Council on Foreign Relations, November 2004, ISBN 0876093454. See CFR overview.
- "From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War", Simon & Schuster, May 7, 1996, ISBN 0684810816; Touchstone; Reprint edition, August 27, 2004, ISBN 0684834979.
Articles & speeches by Robert M. Gates
- "The CIA and Foreign Policy," Foreign Affairs, Winter 1987/88.
- "US Intelligence and the End of the Cold War," Texas A&M University Dinner Remarks as Prepared for Delivery, Speaker: Former DCI Robert Gates, November 19, 1999. (Posted on CIA website).
Published works about Robert M. Gates
- John Prados, "Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA," Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006, ISBN 1566635748. 
Related SourceWatch articles
- ": ‘I don’t know’ whether Iraq war was a ‘good idea.’," Think Progress, September 19, 2007.
- Robert M. Gates in the Wikipedia.
- Bio: Robert M. Gates, Washington Speakers Bureau.
- Bio: Robert M. Gates, Iraq Study Group.
- Profile: Robert M. Gates, Aspen Study Group.
- Chapter Eleven: DCI: "Robert Gates: Preemptive Reform," CIA.
- Chapter 16: Robert M. Gates, Walsh Iran/Contra Report. Posted by Federation of American Scientists (FAS).
- Profile: Robert M. Gates, Washington Post, November 8, 2006.
- FOX Facts: Dr. Robert M. Gates, Fox News, November 8, 2006.
- Profile: Robert M. Gates, CNN, November 8, 2006.
- Steve Schifferes, Profile: Robert M. Gates, BBC, November 9, 2006.
Nominations, Reports & Documents
- 1986 Nomination to Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, Reagan Library.
- Remarks on the Nominations of Robert M. Gates and Clarence Thomas and an Exchange With Reporters, July 24, 1991, Bush Library.
- George H.W. Bush, The President's News Conference, September 12, 1991. Scroll down to "CIA Nomination".
- George H.W. Bush, The President's News Conference, October 4, 1991. Scroll down to "CIA Director Nominee".
- Gates Nomination as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, U.S. Senate, November 7, 1991, Congressional Record, Page S16305. Posted by FAS.
- "Dr. Robert Gates Named Bush School Interim Dean," Office of University Relations, Texas A&M University, July 30, 1999.
- White House News Releases: "President Bush Nominates Dr. Robert M. Gates to be Secretary of Defense" and Fact Sheet: "Dr. Robert M. Gates: The Right Choice for Secretary of Defense," Office of the Press Secretary, November 8, 2006.