Directors of Central Intelligence

Robert Michael Gates (1943- )

DCI, 6 Nov. 1991-20 Jan. 1993

Included here:

1. Personal Comment on Gates

2. Material on Gates

a. First Nomination

b. Second Nomination

3. Gates' Writings and Speeches

4. Nomination/Confirmation as Defense Secretary (2006)

1. Personal Comment on Gates

I first met Bob Gates in a small-group gathering soon after his elevation to be Deputy Director for Intelligence (DDI). He came across as strong-willed and arrogant. Put simply, I did not like him. As time has passed and both of us have advanced in maturity and he has taken on increasingly challenging positions, my view of and attitude toward Gates has undergone significant change. I had retired from the CIA before he became DCI, so my views of his performance of the difficult roles he has undertaken since 1990 are those of an outsider and concerned citizen in academia and beyond. Robert M. Gates has served his country honorably and well. I respect him and his service, and wish him well as he returns to the ranks of the retired.

2. Material on Gates

a. First Nomination

Cannon, Lou, and Bob Woodward. "Gates to Withdraw as CIA Nominee; Reagan's Choice Facing Senate Rejection." Washington Post, 2 Mar. 1987, A1.

Controversy about his role in Iran-Contra stalls Robert M. Gates' nomination as DCI.

b. Second Nomination

Lardner, George, Jr., and Walter Pincus. "Robert Gates, A Company Man." Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 20-26 May 1991, 34.

The thoughts here are pre-hearing soundings from around Washington about Gates and his chances of securing approval for the DCI job.

Polgar, Tom. "Gates: The Wrong Choice to Head the CIA." Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 1-7 Jul. 1991, 24.

Op-Ed piece from former CIA station chief and staffer on the Senate Select Committee on Iran-Contra: "My objections to [Robert M.] Gates center on his performance during the Iran-contra affair.... Throughout it, Gates acted as if he was in a complete fog or was interested primarily in keeping the truth from being aired in public or from reaching Congress."

Sciolino, Elaine. "Senate Approves Gates by 64-31, to Head the C.I.A." New York Times, 6 Nov. 1991, A23.

U.S. Congress. Senate. Select Committee on Intelligence. Nomination of Robert M. Gates: Hearings Before the Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States Senate, One Hundred Second Congress, first session, on nomination of Robert M. Gates to be Director of Central Intelligence, S. Hrg.; 102-799. 3 vols. Washington, DC: U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 1991.

According to Surveillant 3.2/3, these transcripts of the hearings on Gates' second nomination to be DCI present "[a]ll the bickering, back stabbing, and fault-finding." Lowenthal comments that the picture that emerged in the hearings of the "sometimes brutal give and take of the analytical process ... apparently surprised some outsiders who had envisioned a fairly reserved and cerebral exchange of views."

  U.S. Congress. Senate. Select Committee on Intelligence. Nomination of Robert M. Gates to Be Director of Central Intelligence. Report, together with Additional Views. Senate Exec. Rept. 102-19. 102d Cong., 1st sess.

Lowenthal notes that this report reviews the major controversies that were raised in the hearings on Gates' nomination; these included Iran-Contra and the issue of "politicized" intelligence.

van Voorst, Bruce. "Interview: 'We See a World of More, Not Fewer Mysteries.'" Time, 20 Apr. 1992, 61-62.

DCI "Robert Gates talks about Saddam Hussein's still hidden Scuds, the KGB's new goals and declassifying the J.F.K. assassination files."

3. Gates' Writings and Speeches

4. Nomination/Confirmation as Defense Secretary (2006)

"When he took office [as Defense Secretary, Robert] Gates was viewed by many as a colorless intelligence bureaucrat. Now we know the truth. The bland demeanor was routine tradecraft in his old profession. Good cover." Robert Timberg, "Editor's Page: Bob Gates Doesn't Do Mop-Up," Proceedings 134, no. 7 (Jul. 2008): 6.

Cloud, David S. "Senate Confirms Gates as Secretary of Defense." New York Times, 7 Dec. 2006. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 6 December 2006, the U.S. Senate voted 95 to 2 to confirm former DCI Robert M. Gates as Secretary of Defense.

Pincus,Walter. "Gates May Rein In Pentagon Activities: Nominee Has Opposed Defense Department's Dominance in Intelligence Efforts." Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2006, A12. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to "experts inside and outside the government and on Capitol Hill," Robert M. Gates' nomination to be defense secretary "has begun to ease concerns in the intelligence community about the rapid growth of Pentagon intelligence activities." The former DCI "has a long history of opposing expansive Pentagon intelligence activities. He has voiced unease about roles being taken over by Pentagon personnel."

Shane, Scott. "Robert Gates, a Cautious Player From a Past Bush Team." New York Times, 9 Nov. 2006. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"In choosing Robert M. Gates as his next defense secretary, President Bush reached back to an earlier era in Republican foreign policy.... Gates, 63, is in many ways the antithesis of Donald H. Rumsfeld.... He has been privately critical of the administration’s failure to execute its military and political plans for Iraq, and he has spent the last six months quietly debating new approaches to the war, as a member of the Iraq Study Group run by James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton."

Shane, Scott. "Gates Hearing in Senate May Have Echoes of 1991." New York Times, 10 Nov. 2006. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"The accusations lodged against Robert M. Gates the last time he came before the Senate for confirmation, in 1991, sound eerily contemporary in the wake of the debate over skewed prewar intelligence on Iraq.... [A]n initial survey of the possible obstacles to Mr. Gates’s confirmation suggest that they are unlikely to threaten Senate approval. Even some Democrats who opposed him in 1991 have welcomed his appointment as a long-overdue change of leadership at the Defense Department."

White, Josh. "Defense Chief Gates Sworn In: Secretary Vows to Listen to Others' Advice on Iraq War." Washington Post, 19 Dec. 2006, A4. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Former DCI Robert M. Gates, 63, was sworn in as Secretary of Defense on 18 December 2006.

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