Richard A. Clarke
|Richard A. Clarke|
Clarke in October 2007
Richard Alan Clarke|
October 27, 1950
Dorchester, Massachusetts, U.S.
University of Pennsylvania (B.A., 1972)|
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.S., Management, 1978)
|Notable work||The Scorpion's Gate, Breakpoint|
Clarke worked for the State Department during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush appointed him to chair the Counter-terrorism Security Group and to a seat on the United States National Security Council. President Bill Clinton retained Clarke and in 1998 promoted him to be the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism, the chief counter-terrorism adviser on the National Security Council. Under President George W. Bush, Clarke initially continued in the same position, but the position was no longer given cabinet-level access. He later became the Special Advisor to the President on cybersecurity. Clarke left the Bush administration in 2003.
Clarke came to widespread public attention for his role as counter-terrorism czar in the Clinton and Bush administrations in March 2004, when he appeared on the 60 Minutes television news magazine, released his memoir about his service in government, Against All Enemies, and testified before the 9/11 Commission. In all three instances, Clarke was sharply critical of the Bush administration's attitude toward counter-terrorism before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and of the decision to go to war with Iraq.
Richard Clarke was born in 1950, the son of a Boston chocolate factory worker and a nurse. He studied at the Boston Latin School (graduated in 1968), received a Bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972 where he was selected to serve in the Sphinx Senior Society. After working for the Department of Defense as an analyst on European security issues, Clarke earned a master's degree in management in 1978 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 1973, he began work in the federal government as a management intern in the U.S. Department of Defense. Beginning in 1985, Clarke served in the Reagan administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence. During the Presidential administration of George H.W. Bush, as the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, he coordinated diplomatic efforts to support the 1990-1991 Gulf War and the subsequent security arrangements. During the Clinton administration, Clarke became the counter-terrorism coordinator for the National Security Council. He remained counter-terrorism coordinator during the first year of the George W. Bush administration, and later was the Special Advisor to the President on cybersecurity and cyberterrorism. He resigned from the Bush administration in 2003.
Clarke's positions inside the government have included:
- United States National Security Council, 1992–2003
- Special Advisor 2001-2003
- National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism, 1998–2001
- Chairman of the Counter-terrorism Security Group, 1992–2003
- United States Department of State 1985-1992
- Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs, 1989–1992
- Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence, 1985–1988
Clarke advised Madeleine Albright during the Genocide in Rwanda, to request the UN to withdraw all UN troops from Rwanda. She refused, but permitted General Dallaire to keep a few hundred troops who managed to save thousands from the genocide. Later Clarke told Samantha Power, “It wasn’t in American’s national interest. If we had to do the same thing today and I was advising the President, I would advise the same thing." He directed the authoring of PDD-25 which outlined a reduced military and economic role for the United States in Rwanda as well as future peacekeeping operations.
Islamists took control in Sudan in a 1989 coup d'état, and the United States adopted a policy of disengagement with the authoritarian regime throughout the 1990s. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, however, some critics charged that the US should have moderated its policy toward Sudan earlier, since the influence of Islamists there waned in the second half of the 1990s, and Sudanese officials began to indicate an interest in accommodating US concerns with respect to 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, who had been living in Sudan until he was expelled in May 1996. Timothy M. Carney, US ambassador to Sudan between September 1995 and November 1997, co-authored an op-ed in 2002 claiming that in 1997 Sudan offered to turn over its intelligence on bin Laden but that Susan Rice, as NSC Africa specialist, together with the then NSC terrorism specialist Richard A. Clarke, successfully lobbied for continuing to bar U.S. officials, including the CIA and FBI, from engaging with the Khartoum government. Similar allegations (that Susan Rice joined others in missing an opportunity to cooperate with Sudan on counterterrorism) were made by Vanity Fair contributing editor David Rose and Richard Miniter, author of Losing Bin Laden.
Clarke was also involved in investigating Ramzi Yousef, one of the main perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing who traveled to the United States on an Iraqi passport. Yousef is the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a senior al-Qaeda member. Many in the Clinton administration and the intelligence community believed this was evidence linking al-Qaeda's activities and the government of Iraq.
In February 1999 Clarke wrote the Deputy National Security Advisor that one reliable source reported Iraqi officials had met with Bin Ladin and may have offered him asylum. Therefore, Clarke advised against surveillance flights to track bin Laden in Afghanistan: Anticipating an attack, “old wily Usama will likely boogie to Baghdad”, where he would be impossible to find. Clarke also made statements that year to the press linking "Iraqi nerve gas experts" and al-Qaeda to an alleged joint-chemical-weapons-development effort at the Al Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan.
Michael Scheuer is the former chief of the bin Laden Unit at the Counterterrorist Center at the CIA. Matthew Continetti writes: "Scheuer believes that Clarke’s risk aversion and politicking negatively impacted the hunt for bin Laden prior to September 11, 2001. Scheuer stated that his unit, codename 'Alec,' had provided information that could have led to the capture and or killing of Osama bin Laden on ten different occasions during the Clinton administration, only to have his recommendations for action turned down by senior intelligence officials, including Clarke."
Clarke and his communications with the Bush administration regarding bin Laden and associated terrorist plots targeting the United States were mentioned frequently in Condoleezza Rice's public interview by the 9/11 investigatory commission on April 8, 2004. Of particular significance was a memo from January 25, 2001, that Clarke had authored and sent to Condoleezza Rice. Along with making an urgent request for a meeting of the National Security Council's Principals Committee to discuss the growing al-Qaeda threat in the greater Middle East, the memo also suggests strategies for combating al-Qaeda that might be adopted by the new Bush administration.
In his memoir, "Against All Enemies", Clarke wrote that Condoleezza Rice made a decision that the position of National Coordinator for Counterterrorism should be downgraded. By demoting the office, the Administration sent a signal through the national security bureaucracy about the salience they assigned to terrorism. No longer would Clarke's memos go to the President; instead they had to pass through a chain of command of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and her deputy Stephen Hadley, who bounced every one of them back.
Within a week of the inauguration, I wrote to Rice and Hadley asking 'urgently' for a Principals, or Cabinet-level, meeting to review the imminent Al-Qaeda threat. Rice told me that the Principals Committee, which had been the first venue for terrorism policy discussions in the Clinton administration, would not address the issue until it had been 'framed' by the Deputies.
At the first Deputies Committee meeting on Terrorism held in April 2001, Clarke strongly suggested that the U.S. put pressure on both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda by arming the Northern Alliance and other groups in Afghanistan. Simultaneously, that they target bin Laden and his leadership by reinitiating flights of the MQ-1 Predators. To which Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz responded, "Well, I just don't understand why we are beginning by talking about this one man bin Laden." Clarke replied that he was talking about bin Laden and his network because it posed "an immediate and serious threat to the United States." According to Clarke, Wolfowitz turned to him and said, "You give bin Laden too much credit. He could not do all these things like the 1993 attack on New York, not without a state sponsor. Just because FBI and CIA have failed to find the linkages does not mean they don't exist."
Clarke wrote in Against All Enemies that in the summer of 2001, the intelligence community was convinced of an imminent attack by al Qaeda, but could not get the attention of the highest levels of the Bush administration, most famously writing that Director of the Central Intelligence Agency George Tenet was running around with his "hair on fire".
At a July 5, 2001, White House gathering of the FAA, the Coast Guard, the FBI, Secret Service and INS, Clarke stated that "something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it's going to happen soon."
Cyberterrorism and cybersecurity
Clarke, as Special Advisor to the President on Cybersecurity, spent his last year in the Bush administration focusing on cybersecurity and the threat of terrorism against the critical infrastructure of the United States. At a security conference in 2002, after citing statistics that indicate that less than 0.0025 percent of corporate revenue on average is spent on information-technology security, Clarke was famously heard to say, "If you spend more on coffee than on IT security, then you will be hacked. What's more, you deserve to be hacked."
In June 2012 Clarke discussed issues of cybersecurity in depth in an interview on The Colbert Report in which he was seemingly misled into thinking that they were discussing cyber-security threats from the Chinese through the use of mobile devices such as iPads. Instead, Stephen Colbert was doing a humorous piece on the threats of Orangutans learning to use iPads. Indeed, when confronted on the issue directly, Clarke himself clarified that he was not discussing non-human primate based cyberterrorism threats. "Orangutans? You mean like apes?" said Clarke, "Are you sh**tin' me? I'm talking about the Chinese."
On March 24, 2004, Clarke testified at the public 9/11 Commission hearings. At the outset of his testimony Clarke offered an apology to the families of 9/11 victims and an acknowledgment that the government had failed: "I also welcome the hearings because it is finally a forum where I can apologize to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11...To the loved ones of the victims of 9/11, to them who are here in this room, to those who are watching on television, your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn't matter because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask, once all the facts are out, for your understanding and for your forgiveness."
Many of the events Clarke recounted during the hearings were also published in his memoir. Clarke charged that before and during the 9/11 crisis, many in the Administration were distracted from efforts against Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda organization by a pre-occupation with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Clarke had written that on September 12, 2001, President Bush pulled him and a couple of aides aside and "testily" asked him to try to find evidence that Saddam was connected to the terrorist attacks. In response he wrote a report stating there was no evidence of Iraqi involvement and got it signed by all relevant agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the CIA. The paper was quickly returned by a deputy with a note saying "Please update and resubmit." After initially denying that such a meeting between the President and Clarke took place, the White House later reversed its denial when others present backed Clarke's version of the events.
Before and after Clarke appeared before the 9/11 Commission, some critics tried to attack his credibility, launching a full-scale offensive against him: impugning his personal motives, claiming he was a disappointed job-hunter, that he sought publicity, and that he was a political partisan. They charged that he exaggerated perceived failures in the Bush administration's counterterrorism policies while exculpating the former Clinton administration from its perceived shortcomings.
According to some reports, the White House tried to discredit Clarke in a move described as "shooting the messenger." New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman was more blunt, calling the attacks on Clarke "a campaign of character assassination."
Some Republicans inside and outside the Bush administration questioned both Clarke's testimony and his tenure during the hearings. Senate Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist took to the Senate floor to make a speech alleging Clarke told "two entirely different stories under oath", pointing to congressional hearing testimony Clarke gave in 2002 and his 9/11 Commission testimony. Frist later speculated to reporters Clarke was trading on his former service as a government insider with access to the nation’s most valuable intelligence to sell a book.
During Clarke's earlier testimony, he stated that Bill Clinton did not have a comprehensive plan on dealing with terrorism. During later testimony, he stated that President Clinton did have a comprehensive plan on dealing with terrorism. As summarized by the Toledo Blade, "In his August 2002 briefing, Mr. Clarke told reporters (1) that the Clinton administration had no overall plan on al-Qaeda to pass on to the Bush Administration; (2) that just days after his inauguration, Mr. Bush said he wanted a new, more comprehensive anti-terror strategy; (3) that Mr. Bush ordered implementation of anti-terror measures that had been kicking around since 1998, and (4) that before Sept. 11, Mr. Bush had increased fivefold the funding for CIA covert action programs against al-Qaeda. ... It's reasonable enough to argue that Mr. Bush could have done more to guard against terror, though it isn't clear what. What is incredible is to argue—as Mr. Clarke did before the 9/11 Commission—that President Clinton was more concerned about al-Qaeda than Mr. Bush was."
Clarke was criticized for his suggestions in 1999 of intelligence indicating a link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, despite the fact Clarke and others concluded after investigations by 2001 that no link had been established. In Against All Enemies he writes, "It is certainly possible that Iraqi agents dangled the possibility of asylum in Iraq before bin Laden at some point when everyone knew that the U.S. was pressuring the Taliban to arrest him. If that dangle happened, bin Laden's accepting asylum clearly did not," (p. 270). In an interview on March 21, 2004, Clarke claimed that "there's absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al-Qaeda, ever." Clarke claimed in his book that this conclusion was understood by the intelligence community at the time of 9/11 and the ensuing months, but top Bush administration officials were pre-occupied with finding a link between Iraq and 9/11 in the months that followed the attack, and thus, Clarke argued, the Iraq war distracted attention and resources from the war in Afghanistan and hunt for Osama bin Laden.
Fox News, allegedly with the Administration's consent, identified and released a background briefing that Clarke gave in August 2002, at the Administration's request, to minimize the fallout from a Time magazine story about the President's failure to take certain actions before 9/11. In that briefing on behalf of the White House, Clarke stated "there was no plan on Al-Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration," and that after taking office President Bush decided to "add to the existing Clinton strategy and to increase CIA resources, for example, for covert action, fivefold, to go after Al-Qaeda." At the next day's hearing, 9/11 Commission member James Thompson challenged Clarke with the 2002 account, and Clarke explained: "I was asked to make that case to the press. I was a special assistant to the President, and I made the case I was asked to make... I was asked to highlight the positive aspects of what the Administration had done and to minimize the negative aspects of what the Administration had done. And as a special assistant to the President, one is frequently asked to do that kind of thing. I've done it for several Presidents."
Another point of attack was Clarke's role in allowing members of the bin Laden family to fly to Saudi Arabia on September 20, 2001. According to Clarke's statements to the 9/11 Commission, a request was relayed to Clarke from the Saudi embassy to allow the members of the bin Laden family living in the U.S. to fly home. Clarke testified to the commission that he passed this decision in turn to the FBI via Dale Watson, and that the FBI at length sent its approval of the flight to the Interagency Crisis Management Group. However, FBI spokesman John Iannarelli denied that the FBI had a role in approving the flight: "I can say unequivocally that the FBI had no role in facilitating these flights."
Clarke has also exchanged criticism with Michael Scheuer, former chief of the Bin Laden Issue Station at the CIA. When asked to respond to Clarke's claim that Scheuer was "a hothead, a middle manager who really didn't go to any of the cabinet meetings," Scheuer returned the criticism as follows: "I certainly agree with the fact that I didn't go to the cabinet meetings. But I'm certainly also aware that I'm much better informed than Mr. Clarke ever was about the nature of the intelligence that was available against Osama bin Laden and which was consistently denigrated by himself and Mr. Tenet."
On March 28, 2004, at the height of the controversy during the 9/11 Commission Hearings, Clarke went on NBC's Sunday morning news show, Meet the Press and was interviewed by journalist Tim Russert. In responding to and rebutting the criticism, Clarke challenged the Bush administration to declassify the whole record, including closed testimony by Bush administration officials before the Commission.
Post government career
Clarke is currently Chairman of Good Harbor Consulting and Good Harbour International, two strategic planning and corporate risk management firms; an on-air consultant for ABC News, and a contributor to the Good Harbor Report, an online community discussing homeland security, defense, and politics. He is an adjunct lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School and a faculty affiliate of its Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He has also become an author of fiction, publishing his first novel, The Scorpion's Gate, in 2005, and a second, Breakpoint, in 2007.
Clarke wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post on May 31, 2009 harshly critical of other Bush administration officials, entitled "The Trauma of 9/11 Is No Excuse". Clarke wrote that he had little sympathy for his fellow officials who seemed to want to use the excuse of being traumatized, and caught unaware by Al-Qaeda's attacks on the USA, because their being caught unaware was due to their ignoring clear reports a major attack on U.S. soil was imminent. Clarke particularly singled out former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.
In April 2010 Clarke released his book on Cyber War. In April 2012, Clarke wrote a New York Times op-ed addressing cyber attacks. In stemming cyber attacks carried out by foreign governments and foreign hackers, particularly from China, Clarke opined that the U.S. government should be authorized to "create a major program to grab stolen data leaving the country" in a fashion similar to how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security currently searches for child pornography that crosses America's "virtual borders." Moreover, he suggested that the US president could authorize agencies to scan Internet traffic outside the US and seize sensitive files stolen from within the United States. Clarke then stated that such a policy would not endanger privacy rights through the institution of a privacy advocate, who could stop abuses or any activity that went beyond halting the theft of important files. The op-ed did not offer evidence that finding and blocking files while they are being transmitted is technically feasible.
In September 2012, Clarke stated that Middle Eastern governments were likely behind hacking incidents against several banks. During the same year, he also endorsed Barack Obama's reelection for President of the United States.
Following the 2013 high-speed fatal car crash of journalist Michael Hastings, a vocal critic of the surveillance state and restrictions on the press freedom under the Obama Administration tenure, Clarke was quoted as saying "There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers—including the United States—know how to remotely seize control of a car. So if there were a cyber attack on the car—and I'm not saying there was, I think whoever did it would probably get away with it."
In 2013, Clarke served on an advisory group for the Obama administration, as it sought to reform NSA spying programs following the revelations of documents released by Edward Snowden. The report mentioned in 'Recommendation 30' on page 37, "...that the National Security Council staff should manage an interagency process to review on a regular basis the activities of the US Government regarding attacks, that exploit a previously unknown vulnerability in a computer application." Clarke told Reuters on 11 April 2014 that the NSA had not known of Heartbleed.
On March 22, 2004, Clarke's book, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror—What Really Happened (ISBN 0-7432-6024-4), was published. The book was critical of past and present Presidential administrations for the way they handled the war on terror both before and after September 11, 2001 but focused much of its criticism on Bush for failing to take sufficient action to protect the country in the elevated-threat period before the September 11, 2001 attacks and for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which Clarke feels greatly hampered the war on terror, and was a distraction from the real terrorists.
- Defeating the Jihadists: A Blueprint for Action, 2004. In this book Clarke outlines his idea of a more effective U.S. counterterrorism policy. (ISBN 0-87078-491-9)
- The Scorpion's Gate, 2005 (novel). (ISBN 0-399-15294-6)
- Breakpoint, 2007 (novel). (ISBN 0-399-15378-0)
- Your Government Failed You: Breaking the Cycle of National Security Disasters, 2008. (ISBN 9780061474620)
- Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It, 2010. with Robert K. Knake (ISBN 9780061962233)
- How China Steals Our Secrets, 2012. Op-ed in the New York Times
- Sting of the Drone (novel), 2014, Thomas Dunne Books, ISBN 9781250047977
- Pinnacle Event (novel), 2015, Thomas Dunne Books, ISBN 9781250047984
- Chairman, Good Harbor Consulting, LLC, a strategic planning and corporate risk management firm.
- Chairman of the Board of Governors, The Middle East Institute.
- Contributor, Good Harbor Index, an online resource for homeland security, defense and political issues, operated by Good Harbor Consulting, LLC.
- Faculty Affiliate, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
- Advisory Board Member, Civitas Group, LLC
- Cyber Security Consultant, SRA International, Inc.
- On-air consultant, ABC News.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Richard A. Clarke.|
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- "Profile: Richard Clarke". BBC News. March 22, 2004. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- "Richard Clarke Biography". Encyclopedia of World Biography. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
- Senior Society, Sphinx. "Class of 1972". Sphinx Senior Society. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
- Bio.Richard Clarke, "NNDB.com"
- Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006, p.206.
- "Text of Presidential Decision Directive 25". Federation of American Scientists. May 6, 1994. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- Carney, Timothy; Mansoor Ijaz (June 30, 2002). "Intelligence Failure? Let's Go Back to Sudan". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 1, 2008. Retrieved from www.mafhoum.com/ Jan. 2015.
- Rose, David (January 2002). "The Osama Files". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 1, 2008.
- Belz, Mindy (November 1, 2003). "Clinton did not have the will to respond". World. Retrieved December 1, 2008.
- The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 134.
- Vernon Loeb (January 23, 1999). "Embassy Attacks Thwarted, U.S. Says; Official Cites Gains Against Bin Laden; Clinton Seeks $10 Billion To Fight Terrorism" (PDF). The Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
- Continetti, Matthew (November 22, 2004). "Scheuer v. Clarke". Weekly Standard. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- "Bush Administration's First Memo on al-Qaeda Declassified". Gwu.edu. January 25, 2001. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- Richard Clarke: "Against All Enemies, Inside America's War on Terror" by Free Press, a subsidiary of Simon & Schuster
- Lemos, Robert (February 20, 2002). "Security Guru: Let's Secure the Net". ZDNet
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- Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror--What Really Happened (ISBN 0-7432-6024-4)
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- Marshall, Josh (September 11, 2001). "Talking Points Memo" (Press release). Talking Points Memo. Archived from the original on April 2, 2004. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
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- "White House Tries to Discredit Counterterrorism Coordinator". Common Dreams. March 22, 2004. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- Krugman, Paul (March 30, 2004). "Smearing Richard Clarke". History News Network. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- "Talking Points Memo". Archived from the original on April 2, 2004. Retrieved from Internet Archive Wayback Machine, 20 January 2015.
- CBS: Clarke's Take On Terror. March 19, 2004.
- Kaplan, Fred (March 24, 2004). "Richard Clarke KOs the Bushies". Slate Magazine. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- "Transcript: Clarke Praises Bush Team in '02". FoxNews.com. March 24, 2004. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- "Richard Clarke Testifies Before 9/11 Commission". CNN Transcripts. March 24, 2004. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- Craig Unger: Letter To the Editor NYT March 30, 2005
- Leung, Rebecca (November 12, 2004). "Bin Laden Expert Steps Forward, Ex-CIA Agent Assesses Terror War In 60 Minutes Interview". 60 Minutes. CBS News. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- "Clarke Would Welcome Open Testimony". MSNBC.com. March 28, 2004. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
- "Richard Clarke's bio at Harvard Kennedy School". Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. May 29, 2008. Retrieved January 9, 2009.
- Richard A. Clarke (May 31, 2009). "The Trauma of 9/11 Is No Excuse". Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 22, 2009.
- Clarke, Richard A. (April 3, 2012). "How China Steals Our Secrets". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2012.
- "Rhode Islanders react to cyber attacks on banking websites". ABC6 Rhode Island. October 1, 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
- Hogan, Michael (June 24, 2013). "Was Hastings' Car Hacked?". Huffington Post.
- The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies (12 December 2013). "Liberty and Security in a Changing World - Report and Recommendations of The President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies" (PDF). The White House.
- Mark Hosenball; Will Dunham (11 April 2014). "White House, spy agencies deny NSA exploited 'Heartbleed' bug". Reuters. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
H. Allen Holmes
|Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs
August 8, 1989 – July 10, 1992
| Succeeded by|