Donald Rumsfeld on Homeland Security

Secretary of Defense (Pres. Bush Cabinet)


June'01: Secretary must authorize lethal force in hijackings

The Pentagon's "Stand Down Order" on 9/11:

The question that's haunted me from day one is how come the world's biggest military superpower was somehow oblivious to rogue airliners in American air space for more than an hour, and our top brass seemed to be befuddled in terms of dealing with hijackers apparently using these four planes is flying bombs. Why couldn't our fighter jets intercept at least ONE of them?!

Well, here's one possible explanation: Donald Rumsfeld, our Secretary of Defense, never gave the go-ahead. Why? On June 1, 2001, the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a new Instruction--superseding one from 1997--that required approval by the Secretary of Defense for any "potentially lethal support in the event of an aircraft piracy (hijacking)."

I sure would like to know why the question of Rumsfeld doing this never came up with the 9/11 Commission. Doesn't it seem important to have asked why the critical policy got changed only four months beforehand?

Source: 63 Documents, by Gov. Jesse Ventura, p.216 , Apr 4, 2011

1972: All-volunteer military by paying competitive salary

In Oct. 1967, because of my interest in volunteer military, I was invited to be part of a conference convened to discuss the topic. There I met one of the most passionate proponents of the all-volunteer system, the economist Milton Friedman, who I would turn to many times over the years for advice and guidance. Friedman's belief in the power of freedom was inspiring, and he felt the same way about giving people the choice to serve in the US military as he did about giving them a choice about their education. Other participants on the panel included Sen. Edward Kennedy, who favored continuing the draft.

Many arguments were offered to bolster both sides if the issue. Some contended that without the draft we would not be able to recruit enough troops. My view was that in every other activity in our society, in both the public & the private sector, we were able to attract and retain the personnel needed without resorting to compulsion. It was done simply by paying them a competitive market wage

Source: Known and Unknown, by Donald Rumsfeld, p.101 , Feb 8, 2011

OpEd: Falsely claimed no intel warning of 9/11

The way I see it, with all the advance warnings about a terrorist attack, a fair number of Bush's team should have gotten the axe. Except, right up to the president himself, it was all about denial.

Here was Rumsfeld, testifying before the 9/11 Commission: "I knew of no intelligence during the six-plus months leading up to September 11 to indicate terrorists would hijack commercial airlines, use them as missiles to fly into the Pentagon or the World Trade Center towers."

Oh, really? What about the intelligence briefing Bush received on August 6, 2001, that was headed "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." and even mentioned possible hijackings.

These were far from the only warnings. Israel sent two senior agents of the Mossad to Washington in August 2001 to "alert the CIA and FBI to the existence of a cell of as many as 200 terrorists said to be preparing a big operation." The 9/11 Commission was aware of this, but decided to leave it out of their report.

Source: American Conspiracies, by Jesse Ventura, p.154-155 , Mar 8, 2010

2004 "snowflake": keep terrorism alive as an issue

In August 2004, John Kerry had just been nominated for president at the Democratic Party convention. Our announcement, as delivered with the loaded words, "the result of the president's leadership," was seen by some as a way to divert attention from that event and to reinforce in the minds of Americans that--even as Democrats enjoyed their hour upon the political stage--only the Republican incumbent could keep America safe.

On November 1, 2007, The Washington Post reported that Donald Rumsfeld's "snowflakes," his memos to staff members, had pointed out the need to keep terrorism alive as an issue throughout his tenure as secretary. Terrorism was a legitimate issue, and references to it benefited the administration politically.

Source: The Test of our Times, by Tom Ridge, p.233-234 , Sep 1, 2009

2002: Requiring prisoners to stand 8-10 hours is not torture

"The war against terrorism is a new kind of war. In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."
--Alberto Gonzales, memo to Pres. Bush, Jan. 2002

"To be considered torture, techniques must produce lasting psychological damage or suffering 'equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.' "
-- Justice Dept. memo, 1/9/02

"Geneva does not apply to our conflict with al-Qaeda; al-Qaeda detainees also do not qualify as prisoners of war."
--George W. Bush, memo, 2/7/02

"I stand 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?"
--Donal Rumsfeld, on an interrogation technique memo, 2002

"Congress doesn't have the power to tie the president's hands in regard to torture as an interrogation technique. They can't prevent the president from ordering torture."
--Justice Dept. memo, 2005

Source: The War in Quotes, by G.B. Trudeau, p. 84-86 , Oct 1, 2008

Differentiate known's from unknown's

"I didn't advocate invasion. I wasn't asked."
-- Donald Rumsfeld, November 20, 2005
"Now, what is the message there? The message is that there are known 'knowns.' There are things we know that we know. There are unknowns. That is to say there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know. So when we do the best we can and we pull all this information together, and we then say, well, that's basically what we see as the situation, that is really only the known knowns and the known unknowns. And each year, we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns."
--Donald Rumsfeld, June 6, 2002
"We have been very careful about saying what we knew and what we didn't know."
--Donald Rumsfeld, July 13, 2003
Source: The War in Quotes, by G.B. Trudeau, p. 92-93 , Oct 1, 2008

9/11: First response was to look for Iraq link

As a result of the 9/11 Commission report, we now know that within hours after the attack on 9/11, Secretary Rumsfeld was busy attempting to find a way to link Saddam Hussein with the attack. We have the sworn testimony of the president's White House hea of counterterrorism, Richard Clarke, that on the day after the attack, September 12, the president wanted to connect the attacks to Saddam. Clarke recounted, "The president said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this.' I said, 'Mr. President, there's no connection.' The CIA/FBI report we sent to the president got bounced back saying, 'Wrong answer. Do it again.' I don't think the president sees memos that he wouldn't like the answer."

By 2004, even Rumsfeld, who saw all of the intelligence availabl to President Bush that might bear on the alleged connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, finally admitted under tough repeated questioning from reporters, "To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two."

Source: The Assault on Reason, by Al Gore, p.107-108&111 , Jul 1, 2008

Reduce nuclear warheads; Russia no longer a strategic threat

For the Bush administration, the end of the Cold War, and pursuing a new strategic framework with Russia, meant it was time to end prior arms control fantasies. Strategic weapons should be only one facet of relations with Russia, and certainly not the dominant one, as during the Cold War.

Rumsfeld had in mind a very different role for nuclear weapons in our overall defense posture. This role would reflect changed international circumstances and threat levels, and result in the reduction of deployed warheads over the next several years. Russia was, in fact, no longer a strategic threat (whatever other problems it might pose), and we projected that its nuclear capacities would be dropping like a stone over the next decade. Accordingly, a treaty that simply embodied our own planning levels was hardly a burden, especially if it also provided "exit ramps" to allow for rapid changes in its terms as the strategic threats we faced evolved or increased.

Source: Surrender is Not an Option, by John Bolton, p. 74-75 , Nov 6, 2007

Anchor Chain memo: defense reform takes multiple presidents

Rumsfeld was trying to define the task before him; on March 20, 2001, he dictated a 4-page memo, "Subject: The Challenge--the Importance of Succeeding."

"After 2 months on the job, it is clear that the Defense establishment is tangled in its anchor chain," he dictated. Distrust between Congress and the Defense Department was so great, he said, that "the maze of constraints on the Department force it to operate in a manner that is so slow, so ponderous and so inefficient that whatever it ultimately does will inevitably be a decade or so late." Without changing and fixing the relationship with Congress, Rumsfeld concluded, "transformation of our armed forces is not possible."

This "Anchor Chain" memo became notorious among Rumsfeld's staff. It sounded like he had almost given up fixing the Pentagon during the George W. Bush presidency. The task was so hard and would take so long, he dictated, that "our job, therefore, is to work together to sharpen the sword that the next president will wield.

Source: State of Denial, by Bob Woodward, p. 25-6 , Oct 1, 2006

Guantanamo prisoners are "bad guys"; no tribunals needed

The hundreds of suspected terrorists who were detainees at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were unlawful combatants who could be tried in military tribunals and denied access to the US federal court system. This meant that they had been turned over to the Defense Department, but Rumsfeld would not start the tribunal process.

At an NSC meeting with the president, Rice began going through a long paper on the issues that everyone was supposed to have read and understood.

Rumsfeld leaned back and made it pretty clear he was not paying much attention. The president also seemed bored. But Rice plowed on.

"Don, what do you think about this?" Bush asked, interrupting Rice.

"They are bad guys," Rumsfeld said.

It was as if Rice and the NSC had one serious, formal process going on while the president and Rumsfeld had another one--informal, chatty and dominant.

Source: State of Denial, by Bob Woodward, p.276 , Oct 1, 2006

Abu Ghraib guards had insufficient training and policies

Source: LTG Jones and MG Fay investigation on Abu Ghraib , Aug 23, 2004

Abandon the “two major war” basis for size of military

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is set to unveil sweeping changes in US military strategy, including the formal abandonment of the “two major war” yardstick that for a decade has been used to determine the size of the military. Rumsfeld will seek final approval for the new US strategy, which appears to involve some of the biggest changes in the US military in a decade.

Putting aside the “two major war” approach is more a matter of the size of the military than of planning for war. For about a decade, the military has used the possibility of having to fight wars in two places -- Korea and Iraq are the two examples frequently used -- to figure out the minimum number of troops, airplanes, ships and gear needed. Among other things, abandoning the approach will remove a floor that for years has kept the active-duty military at about 1.4 million people. [The new policy would] put less emphasis on preparing for conventional warfare and more on handling murkier situations.

Source: T.Ricks & W.Pincus, Washington Post, p. A01, on Bush Cabinet , May 7, 2001

Boost defense spending by $200B over next 6 years

As Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld nears the end of a top-to-bottom review of the Pentagon, he is expected to seek a large boost in defense spending--$200 billion to $300 billion over the next 6 years. An increase in that range for the military amounts to a 10% to 15% boost over the Pentagon’s current spending blueprint of about $2 trillion from 2002 through 2007.
Source: USA Today, by Dave Moniz, p. 1A, on Bush Cabinet , Apr 27, 2001

Missile defense is a moral imperative

Rumsfeld sought to assure US allies and others opposed to President Bush’s plan for a national missile defense that it will be a “threat to no one.” He said building such a defense is a moral imperative as well as a security need. He provided no details on how Bush intends to proceed toward deployment of a nationwide shield against ballistic missile attack. But Rumsfeld made clear that while the allies will be consulted, they should not expect Washington to reverse course.

“No U.S. president can responsibly say that his defense policy is calculated and designed to leave the American people undefended against threats that are known to exist,“ Rumsfeld said. He said Bush would not wait until technology can provide for a perfect defense. He did not mention a timetable. ”It is not so much a technical question as a matter of a president’s constitutional responsibility,“ Rumsfeld said. ”Indeed, it is in many respects ... a moral issue.“

Source: A.P. in New York Times, on Bush Cabinet , Feb 3, 2001

MAD deterred in Cold War; now deter with missile defense

The deterrence of the Cold War-mutual assured destruction and the concept of massive retaliation-worked reasonably well during the Cold War. But the problems today are different. And we have an obligation to plan for these changing circumstances to make sure that we are arranged-first and foremost-to dissuade rash and reckless aggressors from taking action or threatening action. We know from history that weakness is provocative. That it entices people into adventures they would otherwise avoid.

The American people must not be left completely defenseless. Therefore, the United States intends to develop and deploy a missile defense designed to defend our people and forces against a limited ballistic missile attack, and is prepared to assist friends and allies threatened by missile attack to deploy such defenses. These systems will be a threat to no one. That is a fact. They should be of concern to no one, save those who would threaten others.

Source: Speech to Munich Conference on European Security Policy , Feb 3, 2001

North Korea & Iran could threaten US with nukes soon

Citing the perils in a world turned upside-down, Donald Rumsfeld said that the US must be ready to ward off missile attacks, terrorism and threats to its computer technology. Looking back to his earlier tenure as defense secretary, Rumsfeld said, “We lived in a very different world then. And in the intervening quarter of a century, the world has changed in ways that once we could really only have dreamed of.”

Rumsfeld headed a bipartisan commission which concluded two years ago that North Korea, Iran and other countries could threaten American security with long-range missiles more rapidly than American intelligence analysts had predicted. But Rumsfeld made the point today that, while Bush has said he intends to deploy a missile-defense system, “I know of no decisions that have been made by him or by me with respect to exactly what form that might take.” Rumsfeld further emphasized that his commission made no recommendation on whether such a system should be deployed.

Source: David Stout, NY Times, on Bush Cabinet , Jan 11, 2001

Deploy missile defense at home and for allies abroad

We must develop the capabilities to defend against missiles, terrorism and newer threats against our space assets and information systems. The American people must be protected against the threats with which modern technology and its proliferation confront us.

Effective missile defense -- not only homeland defense but also the ability to defend U.S. allies abroad and our friends -- must be achieved in the most cost-effective manner that modern technology offers.

Source: Confirmation Hearing before Senate Armed Services Committee , Jan 11, 2001

Involve Russia in negotiations about SDI & nukes

Q: Do you believe we should consider the possible negative impact that the deployment of a national missile defense system could have on our policy to seek continued negotiated reduction in Russian nuclear weapons?

A: You would obviously want to be in negotiations with Russia. I must say, I think that the Russian stockpile, or capabilities, are going to go down anyway because of the circumstances of their economy.

Source: Confirmation Hearing before Senate Armed Services Committee , Jan 11, 2001

Agrees with Bush on 21st century military reforms

Rumsfeld said he strongly supports Bush’s plan to reform the military in order to help it deal better with the new threat for the 21st century. But he appeared more hesitant when asked about Bush’s campaign promise to “skip a generation of technology,” in weapons procurement. Asked about that promise, Rumsfeld said that it isn’t necessary to “leapfrog” in order to transform the military.
Source: Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post, on Bush Cabinet , Jan 11, 2001

Donald Rumsfeld on Abu Ghraib Reports

2004: Offered to resign over Abu Ghraib

Don had told me the military was investigating reports of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison, but I had no idea how graphic or grotesque the photos would be. When Don got word of the stories, he gave me a handwritten note: "I want you to know that you have my resignation as secretary of defense anytime you feel it would be helpful to you."

Four days later, Don sent another, longer letter: "I have concluded that the damage from the acts of abuse that happened on my watch, by individuals for whose conduct I a ultimately responsible, can best be responded to by my resignation."

I respected Don for repeating his offer. It was clear his earlier message had not been a mere formality; he was serious about leaving. It was a testament to his character, his loyalty to the office, & his understanding of the damage Abu Ghraib was causing. I seriously considered accepting his advice. But a big factor held me back: There was no obvious replacement for Don, and I couldn't afford to create a vacuum at the top of Defense.

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p. 88-89 , Nov 9, 2010

No policy of abuse, but Abu Ghraib shows high-level failure

The events of Oct.-Dec. 2003 on the night shift of Tier 1 at Abu Ghraib prison were acts of brutality and purposeless sadism. We now know that these abuses occurred at the hands of both military police and military intelligence personnel. The pictured abuse, unacceptable even in wartime, were not part of authorized interrogations nor were they even directed at intelligence targets. They represent deviant behavior and a failure of military leadership and discipline. Some of the egregious abuses that occurred at Abu Ghraib which were not photographed did occur during interrogation sessions and that abuses during interrogation sessions occurred elsewhere.

Investigations into the allegations [resulted] in 66 substantiated cases. The abuses were widespread. There is no evidence of a policy of abuse promulgated by senior officials. Still, the abuses were not just the failure of some individuals to follow known standards-there is both institutional and personal responsibility at a higher level.

Source: Schlesinger Report on DoD Detention at Abu Ghraib, p. 5 , Aug 24, 2004

Report: Rumsfeld doubled allowable interrogation methods

Field Manual 34-52, with its list of 17 authorized interrogation methods, has long been the standard source for interrogation doctrine. In Oct. 2002, authorities at Guantanamo requested approval of stronger interrogation techniques to counter tenacious resistance by some detainees. Rumsfeld responded with a Dec. 2, 2002 decision authorizing the use of 16 additional technique at Guantanamo. As a result of concerns raised by the Navy General Counsel in Jan. 2003, Rumsfeld rescinded the majority of the approved measures. Moreover, he directed the remaining more aggressive techniques could be used only with his approval.

In Afghanistan, all forces used FM 34-52 as a baseline for interrogation technique. Nonetheless, more aggressive interrogation of detainees appears to have been on-going. Interrogators and lists of techniques circulated from Guantanamo and Afghanistan to Iraq. Techniques effective under carefully controlled conditions at Guantanamo became far more problematic when they migrated.

Source: Schlesinger Report on DoD Detention at Abu Ghraib, p. 7-9 , Aug 24, 2004

Abu Ghraib interrogators followed inconsistent orders

In August 2003, Major General Geoffrey Miller arrived [at Abu Ghraib] with Rumsfeld’s policy guidelines [for enhanced interrogation techniques] for Guantanamo, and gave this policy as a possible model for the command-wide policy that he recommended be established. In part as a result, [Abu Ghraib’s commander] Lt. Gen. Sanchez signed a memo authorizing a dozen [enhanced] interrogation techniques-five beyond those approved for Guantanamo. Using reasoning from President Bush’s memo of Feb. 7, 2002, which addressed “unlawful combatants,” he believed additional, tougher measures were warranted because there were “unlawful combatants” mixed in with enemy prisoners of war and civilian and criminal detainees.

The policy memos allowed for interpretation in several areas and did not adequately set forth the limits of interrogation techniques. The existence of confusing and inconsistent interrogation policies contributed to the belief that additional interrogation techniques were condoned.

Source: Schlesinger Report on DoD Detention at Abu Ghraib, p. 9-10 , Aug 24, 2004

Abu Ghraib report: Need more definitions and reform

    The Independent Panel provides the following recommendations:
  1. The US should further define its policy on the categorization and status of all detainees, in a way consistent with US jurisprudence and with US interpretation of the Geneva Conventions
  2. DoD should define the appropriate collaboration between military intelligence and military police in a detention facility. The meaning of “setting the conditions” for interrogation needs to be defined with precision.
  3. The nation needs more specialist for detention/interrogation operations. other than lack of leadership, training deficiencies in both MP and MI units have been cited most often as he needed measures to prevent detainee abuse.
  4. All personnel who may be engaged in detention operations should participate in a professional ethics program.
  5. The US needs to adapt its approach to international humanitarian law to the realities of conflict in the 21st century.
Source: Schlesinger Report on DoD Detention at Abu Ghraib, p. 89-90 , Aug 24, 2004

Fay report: Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse was physical & sexual

Between October and December 2003, at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility (BCCF), numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees. This systemic and illegal abuse of detainees was intentionally perpetrated by several members of the military police guard force (372nd Military Police Company, 320th Military Police Battalion, 800th MP Brigade), in Tier (section) 1-A of the Abu Ghraib Prison (BCCF).

The allegations of abuse were substantiated by detailed witness statements and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence. Due to the extremely sensitive nature of these photographs and videos, the ongoing CID investigation, and the potential for the criminal prosecution of several suspects, the photographic evidence is not included in the body of my investigation. I find that the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included [numerous types of both physical and sexual abuse].

Source: LTG Jones and MG Fay investigation on Abu Ghraib , Aug 23, 2004

Abu Ghraib MPs told by interrogators to “set the conditions”

[The LTG Jones and MG Fay investigation] finds that contrary to the provision of AR 190-8, and the findings found in MG Ryder’s Report, Military Intelligence (MI) interrogators and Other US Government Agency’s (OGA) interrogators actively requested that MP guards set physical and mental conditions for favorable interrogation of witnesses. Contrary to the findings of MG Ryder’s Report, I find that personnel assigned to the 372nd MP Company, 800th MP Brigade were directed to change facility procedures to “set the conditions” for MI interrogations. I find no direct evidence that MP personnel actually participated in those MI interrogations. I reach this finding based on the actual proven abuse that I find was inflicted on detainees and by witness statements.
Source: LTG Jones and MG Fay investigation on Abu Ghraib , Aug 23, 2004

Fay Report: relieve from command officers at Abu Ghraib

Source: LTG Jones and MG Fay investigation on Abu Ghraib , Aug 23, 2004

Increase defense spending to meet global responsibilities.

Rumsfeld signed Project for the New American Century Statement of Principles

American defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century. We aim to change this.

We are living off the capital--both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements--built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation's ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.

We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration's success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges.

We need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

Source: PNAC Principles 97-PNAC-HS on Jun 3, 1997

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