Who are the Republican spymasters and war criminals who have endorsed Biden?

By Isaac Finn
26 August 2020

In a recent statement, more than 70 former national security officials and politicians that were involved in Republican administrations dating back to Reagan have announced that they will be voting for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. The statement, headlined, “A Statement by Former Republican National Security Officials,” was run as a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal. The ad came amid attempts by the Democratic Party to emphasize support they have among Republicans.

Joe Biden, Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his wife,during a swearing-in and welcome ceremony for Hagel at the Pentagon, March 14, 2013. (Image Credit: Department of Defense)

The statement includes 10 points outlining their opposition to Trump largely based on his inability to effectively carry out the interests of US imperialism at home and abroad. Those points claiming Trump “undermined the rule of law” are thoroughly hypocritical coming from a gang of former State Department, CIA, FBI, and NSA agents and directors responsible for war crimes and illegal mass surveillance.

A quick look at the careers of many signatories to the statement shows that the Democratic Party has become a pole of attraction for some of the most right-wing and deplorable elements within American society.

Charles S. (Steve) Abbot, a retired US Navy admiral, acted as deputy commander-in-chief of the US European Command during NATO’s criminal intervention in Kosovo. After retiring from the Navy he became deputy homeland security adviser in the Bush White House from 2001 to 2003.

Mary Catherine Andrews, the special assistant to the president and director of the White House office of global communications from 2003 to 2005. Her job was to cover up war crimes and propagate lies associated with the war on terror.

Richard Armitage, the US deputy secretary of state from 2001 to 2005. He is perhaps best known for threatening to bomb Pakistan “back to the Stone Age,” if it did not cooperate with US intervention in Afghanistan.

John Bellinger III, a legal adviser for the State Department and National Security Council from 2005 to 2009. He continuously worked to cover up the use of torture in US detention centers such as Abu Ghraib. He publicly lied to the UN and was involved in discussions to illegally destroy videotapes of US officials committing torture.

Robert Blackwill, ambassador to India, National Security Council deputy for Iraq from 2003 to 2004 and mentor to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He played a pivotal role in installing CIA asset Iyad Allawi as Iraq’s interim prime minister. After leaving the White House, Blackwill continued to support Allawi through the lobbying firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers.

Linton Brooks, the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. He oversaw a program to develop an atomic weapon that could be used as a bunker-buster bomb.

Richard Burt, ambassador to Germany in the 1980s and national security adviser to John McCain during his 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns. In 2000 Burt established Diligence, a risk-assessment and management firm, which has been accused by the Bermuda government of impersonating secret service personnel. Burt was also the top national security adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Eliot Cohen, counselor of the Department of State from 2007 to 2009. Cohen is a neoconservative who publicly advocated for war against Iraq and Iran. In a 2016 book Cohen laid-out plans for a third world war, and clarified that the “actual use of nuclear weapons by the United States is not a last resort.”

Joseph Collins, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for stability operations during the George W. Bush administration. Collins was a key planner for the US occupation of Iraq.

Heather Conley, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs under Bush. Conley is currently the senior vice president for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic at an imperialist think tank, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and advocates for US conflict with Russia.

Chester Crocker, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs under the Reagan administration. He developed the policy of “constructive engagement” with governments in southern Africa, including South Africa’s apartheid regime.

Eric Edelman, undersecretary of defense for policy from 2005 to 2009. Edelman opposed even having public discussions about US withdrawal from Iraq. After leaving office he became an open advocate for US military intervention in Syria, and confrontation with Russia and China.

Richard Falkenrath, an assistant to the president under George W. Bush, was central in establishing the Department of Homeland Security, which was, from its inception, involved in domestic surveillance and plans for repression of the American population.

Aaron Friedberg was the deputy assistant for national security affairs and director of policy planning working under Vice President Dick Cheney. Since leaving office he has advocated greater conflict with China and made extreme xenophobic claims that Chinese students and migrants in the US “support Beijing’s aims.”

James Glassman was undersecretary of state during the Bush administration. Glassman hailed the devastation of Hurricane Katrina for destroying housing, schools and public work programs that “held the city back.”

Colleen Graffy, deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy under Bush. She claimed that Guantanamo Bay prisoners committed suicide as “part of a strategy” by Islamic extremists. She later defended the Iraq War claiming it was the catalyst for the Arab Spring.

Chuck Hagel, former Republican senator and secretary of defense under Obama. He played a leading role in the US military buildup against China, but crossed paths with the president after Obama refused to green light his plan to bomb Damascus.

Michael Hayden, director of the NSA from 1999 to 2005 and CIA director from 2006 to 2009. He oversaw domestic spying and supervised CIA “black site” torture centers. He has claimed that he effectively bullied Biden not to mention the torture program in negative terms.

James Loy, deputy secretary of homeland security from 2003 to 2005. Loy justified militarizing the US border with Mexico by claiming Al Qaeda operatives could try to enter from Mexico.

John Negroponte was the US ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985 and oversaw US support for the contras’ vicious war against Nicaragua. He was ambassador to Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and oversaw the expansion of America’s spying apparatus as director of national intelligence from 2005 to 2007.

Robert Tuttle, the director of presidential personnel from 1985 to 1989 and ambassador to Britain from 2005 to 2009. Tuttle lied about US forces using white phosphorus, a chemical weapon, in Iraq.

Michael Vickers, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflicts from 2007 to 2011, and undersecretary of defense for intelligence from 2011 to 2015. Vickers had previously worked as a CIA paramilitary operations officer and helped arm the mujahedeen to fight Soviet forces in the 1980s. Under Obama, he remained “the most ardent supporter of the agency’s expanded paramilitary role.”

John Warner, a US senator from Virginia from 1979 to 2009 and chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee from 2003 to 2007. In 2007 Warner drafted a resolution, which was largely supported by Democratic legislators, to continue funding the Iraq War.

William Webster, director of the FBI from 1978 to 1987, director of the CIA from 1987 to 1991 and chair of the homeland security advisory council since 2005. Webster demanded that the Obama administration halt an inquiry into CIA agents’ use of torture.

Dov Zakheim, undersecretary of defense from 2001 to 2004. Zakheim was a foreign policy adviser to Bush during the election in 2000. After leaving government, Zakheim became the senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton, a consulting firm that aids US intelligence agencies in mass surveillance.

Philip Zelikow, a counselor of the Department of State from 2005 to 2007 and executive director of the 9/11 Commission. Zelikow played an essential role whitewashing previous administrations’ roles in arming and supporting Islamic extremists.

That all these former Reagan, Bush I and Bush II officials—and even a few former Trump officials—endorse Biden is an indication of the truly right-wing character of the Democratic administration that might replace Trump as a result of the 2020 election.