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Who Is Robert Gates?


How Gates Boxed in Panetta

Departing Defense Secretary Robert Gates is winning hosannas around Washington as a straight-talking “wise man” who reined in wasteful spending. However, the reality is much different, with Gates having spoken out of both sides of his mouth in a way that has created a dilemma for his successor, writes ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman. June 26, 2011

Bob Gates’s ‘Business’ of Lying

As Defense Secretary Robert Gates prepares to retire in late June, he is routinely lauded as a “wise man” committed to telling it like it is, even making a frank comment this week about how “most governments lie to each other.” But Gates’s own record for honesty is a deeply checkered one, Robert Parry reports. June 17, 2011

Was Bob Gates a Success?

Official Washington loves departing Defense Secretary Robert Gates; politicians and pundits alike hang on his every word, applauding his “candor” and praising his “courageous” spending cuts. But military budget expert Winslow T. Wheeler says Gates’s record doesn’t match his press clippings. June 16, 2011

Hailing Gates for Pentagon ‘Savings’

Since becoming Defense Secretary in December 2006, Robert Gates has wallowed in flattering press clippings, most recently hailed as the heroic Pentagon budget cutter eliminating wasteful weapons systems. However, the reality is quite different as Gates ends his tenure at the Pentagon with more – and more costly – weapons systems than before his much-touted “savings,” Winslow T. Wheeler notes. June 4, 2011

The Mysterious Robert Gates

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is leaving the Pentagon as a Washington “wise man,” admired by both Republicans and Democrats for his supposed judgment and integrity. But does he deserve that reputation — or is he just an especially clever manipulator of the political process? Robert Parry examines Gates’s real record. May 31, 2011


The Reality of Robert Gates

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is leaving government with accolades from all over Official Washington. Only a few dissenting voices note that the reality of Gates’s four-plus years at the Pentagon’s helm doesn’t match the image, as former CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar observes in this guest essay. May 28, 2011

How to Read Gates's Shift on the Wars
When Defense Secretary Gates suggested the Afghan and Iraq wars were nuts, was there a deeper message, asks Ray McGovern. March 2, 2011

Gates Agrees, Bush's Wars Were Nuts
Defense Secretary Robert Gates's repudiation of Iraq- and Afghan-type wars demands more accountability, says Robert Parry. February 27, 2011

Gates Dissembles on Afghan History
Defense Secretary Robert Gates misled reporters on what happened after the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989, says Robert Parry. December 8, 2009

How the War Hawks Caged Obama
President Obama's "team of rivals" -- especially Defense Secretary Gates -- ensured an Afghan escalation, says Robert Parry. November 30, 2009

On Bended Knee to Bob Gates
Washington pundits are on their knees before Pentagon chief Bob Gates, but ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman dissents. November 14, 2009

Pentagon's Gates Plays Ugly American
Defense Secretary Robert Gates showed off his annoyance with Japan by snubbing invitations, writes Melvin A. Goodman. November 2, 2009

Gates's Up-Is-Down Military Budget
The U.S. news media is pushing the notion that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is cutting the military budget, when he's actually seeking another increase in Pentagon spending, says David Swanson. April 8, 2009

The Gates Doctrine for More Wars
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is winning praise for slashing Cold War weapons, but his emphasis on guerrilla warfare may lead to unnecessary bloodshed, notes ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman. April 8, 2009

Gates Carries Over Iraq-WMD Lie
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration, is continuing the old canard that faulty intelligence on Iraq's WMD caused the war, notes ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman. March 14, 2009

Obama and US-Russia Tensions
President-elect Barack Obama's choices of Robert Gates at Defense and Hillary Clinton at State suggest continuation of policies that have strained U.S.-Russian relations. December 14, 2008

Obama's Fateful Choice of Gates
Showing little gratitude, Defense Secretary Robert Gates acted as if he was the one doing a favor for Barack Obama by agreeing to stay on in the top Pentagon job, writes Robert Parry. December 1, 2008

Washington Old Guard Wins on Gates
In the campaign, Barack Obama vowed to "end the mindset" behind the Iraq War, but now having that mindset -- as with Robert Gates -- seems a prerequisite for a job, notes Brent Budowsky. November 26, 2008

Obama, Ask the Kremlin about Gates
Before retaining Robert Gates at the Pentagon, Barack Obama might want to ask the Kremlin exactly what it claims to have in its intelligence files about Gates and a 1980 scandal, notes Robert Parry. November 25, 2008

Gates and the Urge to Surge
Maneuvering to keep his job, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is applying the politically popular word "surge" to Barack Obama's position on Afghanistan, notes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern. November 23, 2008

Obama Team Tilts Toward Gates
Despite protests from rank-and-file Democrats, Washington insiders surrounding Barack Obama are pushing him to keep pro-Iraq War Robert Gates on at Defense, reports Jason Leopold. November 20, 2008

Obama Risks Clinton-Era Mistakes
The rumored appointments of Hillary Clinton at State and Robert Gates at Defense suggest Barack Obama is making the same missteps that tripped up Bill Clinton in his first year, writes Robert Parry. November 17, 2008

The Danger of Keeping Robert Gates
According to press reports, President-elect Obama is considering keeping on Defense Secretary Robert Gates, but Obama first might want to examine Gates's record, writes Robert Parry. November 13, 2008

Bob Gates on the Iraq War Hot Seat
The disclosure that the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff favor a sharp drawdown in U.S. forces in Iraq next year puts Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the hot seat. Either he must side with the top brass -- and Iraq War critics in Congress -- or he must stand with President George W. Bush and the "continue-the-surge" advocates. In this latest Vietnam War analogy, Gates must decide if he wants to play the role of Defense Secretary Clark Clifford, who persuaded President Lyndon Johnson to begin the painful withdrawal from Vietnam. August 24, 2007

Bush Bamboozles Democrats Again
In December, Senate Democrats were persuaded to give Robert M. Gates a free pass to become Defense Secretary, despite warnings from CIA officers who had worked with him. The Democrats bought into the "conventional wisdom" that Gates would guide George W. Bush toward a phased withdrawal from Iraq.. January 27, 2007

Robert Gates Lines Up with Bush
The appointment of Robert Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary was widely viewed as a sign that George W. Bush was prepared to accept more realism on the Iraq War and possibly agree to a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops. That wishful thinking led Democrats to treat Gates as a closet ally and to support his nomination unanimously. December 19, 2006

Constitution Takes Hit at Gates Hearing
The pro forma confirmation hearing for Robert Gates, paving the way to his overwhelming approval as Defense Secretay, represented another abdication of the congressional responsibility to conduct serious oversight. In this guest essay, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern witnessed what he believes is the demise of the constitutional system of checks and balances. December 8, 2006

Democrats Cave on Gates Nomination
Though the Democrats won the Nov. 7 elections largely because of public anger over the Iraq War, President George W. Bush has prevailed in the first post-election showdown over Iraq. He got the Senate Armed Services Committee to unanimously approve his new choice of Robert M. Gates as Defense Secretary, with Democrats failing to nail Gates down on any substantive point about war strategy. In effect, Bush has bought himself at least several months to continue his "stay-until-victory" plan, even as more American soldiers and Iraqis die. December 6, 2006

Robert Gates: Realist or Neo-Con?
As the Senate takes up the nomination of Robert M. Gates to be Defense Secretary, it remains unclear what the nation can expect from the former CIA director. Is he a neoconservative ideologue who was a super-hawk on the Soviet Union in the 1980s? Is he a political chameleon who changes colors depending on his environment? Or is he a "secret good guy" who will make the right moves to extricate the United States from the Iraq quagmire? Gates's curious history suggests a variety of possible answers. December 4, 2006

Gates Hearing Has New Urgency
Washington's conventional wisdom about George W. Bush's nomination of Robert M. Gates as Defense Secretary -- that it was a sign of more realisim on the Iraq War -- now appears to have been dead wrong. Bush's brusque rejection of the Baker-Hamilton troop drawdown idea and the disclosure that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was ousted as he sought a major revision of war strategy suggest that Bush may have recruited Gates as a new yes man. Suddenly, the Senate confirmation hearings on Gates take on new urgency. December 3, 2006

Readers' Comments
Our readers comment on the Robert Gates nomination and George W. Bush's wars. December 2, 2006

Robert Gates & Locking You Up Forever
The Senate is expected to quickly confirm former CIA Director Robert M. Gates as the new Defense Secretary, without reexamining some troubling chapters of Gates's past. But these lingering questions about his independence and integrity might be especially relevant given the fact that the next Defense Secretary will inherit sweeping new powers to lock up indefinitely not only "unlawful enemy combatants" but "any person" who is alleged to have aided them. December 1, 2006

Gates, Hadley: More of the Same
Even as the Democrats prepare to assume control of Congress, the Bush administration is pressing ahead on its Middle East war policies, just with a few new faces. In this guest essay, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern looks at early indications that Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates may become just the President's latest yes man. November 30, 2006

Why Trust Robert Gates on Iraq
Two decades ago, then-CIA deputy director for intelligence Robert M. Gates made wildly erroneous predictions about what would happen in Central America if the United States didn't bomb Nicaragua and overthrow its leftist government. Gates staked out a position considered too extreme even by the Reagan administration. But now, Official Washington is treating Gates as the returning Wise Man who will help guide the nation out of the Iraq debacle when he replaces Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary. November 27, 2006

Blackmail & Bobby Gates
Unresolved mysteries about former intelligence officer Robert Gates mean that his secret -- and possibly illegal -- activities in the 1980s could come back to haunt the United States if he is confirmed as Defense Secretary. Though Gates denies all wrongdoing, substantial evidence now exists that Gates engaged in controversial plans to arm the Iranians and the Iraqis, a past that conceivably could open him to pressure and even blackmail. November 15, 2006

Gates & the Iran-Contra Legacy
Official Washington quickly tired of the Iran-Contra scandal in the late 1980s, with its complex tales of money-laundering and arms smuggling. So, most Americans missed that Iran-Contra was a test run for an all-powerful Executive who could override the nation's laws and the U.S. Constitution. In this guest essay, Ivan Eland examines what it means for George W. Bush to pick Robert Gates, an Iran-Contra veteran, to be Defense Secretary. November 15, 2006

Robert Gates-Gate
The first test of the new Democratic majority's mettle may come during the lame-duck session of Congress with the Republicans still in control and George W. Bush determined to rush through the nomination of Robert Gates to be Defense Secretary, replacing Donald Rumsfeld. Gates is a longtime Bush Family loyalist who appears to have deceived Congress over the Iran-Contra and Iraqgate scandals. In this guest essay, former CIA officer Ray McGovern describes his 36-year experience with Robert Gates. November 14, 2006

Open Letter to Levin on Robert Gates
Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern urges Sen. Carl Levin, ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, to take a serious look at the appointment of former CIA director Robert Gates to be the new Defense Secretary. Sent November 11, 2006

The Secret World of Robert Gates
Replacing Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon with Robert Gates is a sign the Bush Family is circling the wagons around the embattled presidency of George W. Bush. Gates is a trusted hand of George H.W. Bush, but there remain troubling questions about whether Gates is a trustworthy government official. Since his last confirmation as CIA director in 1991, new evidence has surfaced suggesting that he may not have told the full truth. November 9, 2006

Gates & the Iran Arms Sales
Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates narrowly escaped legal fallout from the Iran-Contra scandal 20 years ago. But new evidence from his former CIA colleagues suggests Gates was more interested in serving his political masters at the White House than in reporting accurate intelligence. Gates's actions from that shadowy period are relevant again as the Senate evaluates whether Gates has the right stuff to stand up to George W. Bush. November 23, 2006

The Original October Surprise
Both Republicans and Democrats are fretting about the prospect of an "October Surprise" that might hurt them in the last days of Election 2006. But perhaps no "October Surprise" has been more mysterious or more influential than the one in 1980 that -- with the help of George H.W. Bush -- gave the concept its name. Arguably, the 1980 "October Surprise," which involved secret contacts with Iran, launched the modern era of Republican dominance. October 25, 2006

Original October Surprise (Part 2)
Part 2 of our series on the "Original October Surprise" of 1980 focuses on the role of banker David Rockefeller and his collaboration with Republicans during the Iranian hostage crisis. That national humiliation, which played out over 444 days, doomed Jimmy Carter's presidency and helped open the door to the modern era of GOP dominance. October 27, 2006

Original October Surprise (Part 3)
Part 3 of our series on the "Original October Surprise" of 1980 addresses the troubling question of whether disgruntled CIA officers collaborated with their former boss, George H.W. Bush, to sabotage President Jimmy Carter's Iran-hostage negotiations -- and thus changed the course of U.S. political history. October 28, 2006