Richard A Clarke
- Category : 1950-births
- Type : GE
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Split - Small (9,59)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Alignment 2
American civil servant who was catapulted from a behind-the-scenes bureaucrat to the spotlight on March 21, 2004 when he was interviewed on the news show, "60 Minutes." Clarke’s appearance on the show coincided with the release of his book, "Against All Enemies," in which he accuses President George W. Bush of doing a "terrible job" of fighting terrorism. He makes two central allegations in his book:
1. Bush failed to make terrorism "an urgent issue."
2.Bush and his administration were focused on Iraq and Saddam Hussein even though Clarke and others could not find any evidence that the Iraqi dictator was linked to Osama bin Laden. Clarke claims that "By invading Iraq, the president of the United States has greatly undermined the war on terrorism."
His "60 Minutes" interview, his book, and his subsequent TV appearances caused an uproar in Washington, particularly because they coincided with the hearings of the independent 9/11 Commission. Clarke appeared under oath before the commission, and apologized to those families of 9/11 victims and its survivors by saying, "Your government failed you, those entrusted with protecting you failed you and I failed you." His testimony and apology touched some and offended others. White House officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell, all disputed his claims. In their efforts to cast aspersions on his credibility, they sometimes seemed to contradict one another. Clarke has countered by saying that the White House is engaging in character assassination rather than addressing the issues he raises.
Clarke has spent 30 years of his life in government service and has served in top positions under three Presidents. He began his career in 1973 in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In the intervening years, he worked in the Pentagon, the Intelligence Community and the State Department. In 1992 he was appointed to the National Security Council staff. A recognized expert in terrorism, he became the Clinton administration’s National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism in 1998. At the time of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, he was the counter-terrorism advisor on the U.S. National Security Council. After the appointment of Tom Ridge as Secretary of Homeland Security, Clarke was given a new role, which many saw as a demotion. On October 9, 2001, his title became Special Adviser for Cyberspace Security within the National Security Council. His critics allege that he is a disgruntled employee retaliating against his boss. He calls that charge ridiculous and claims he never wanted a higher level position. Clarke resigned from government service on February 21, 2003 and founded a security-consulting company, Good Harbor Consulting LLC.
Clarke has never married, and little is known about his personal life. An only child, Clarke’s father died of a heart attack just seventeen days before the boy’s 15th birthday. From seventh grade until graduation, Clarke attended the prestigious Boston Latin School and did well there. He wrote for the school newspaper, attended forums on world politics and spent many hours preparing for debates in which he argued the conservative point of view. One of his high school chums said that Clarke read the Congressional Record and followed foreign affairs on his way to school. "He was obsessed with politics, fascinated with foreign affairs, and deeply interested in history." When President Kennedy called young Americans to serve the country, Clarke made his career choice to enter public service. As a senior, he won a scholarship to attend the University of Pennsylvania and graduated four years later in 1972 with a bachelor of arts. In 1978, he earned his M.S. degree in defense policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2000 he and Anthony Lake wrote an e-book entitled "Six Nightmares: Real Threats in a Dangerous World and How America Can Meet Them."
During his three decades in Washington under four different presidents, Clarke was widely respected and widely disliked. Former colleagues remember him as a determined pit bull who often alienated his superiors but who was always loyal to those who worked for him. One person called him a "hands-on bureaucratic guerrilla"with a "gung-ho approach." Another colleague said, "Dick would just get into a foul mood sometimes and say things that made enemies of people forever, because he belittled them publicly." About his reasons for writing "Against All Enemies," Clarke insists that he just wants the American people to know the truth.