Douglas Jay Feith served as the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, the third ranking civilian position at the Pentagon, from July 2001 until his resignation effective August 8, 2005. Feith, a hardline Zionist, previously served on the White House National Security staff under Richard Allen during Ronald Reagan's first term in office. He was dismissed when Judge William Clark replaced Allen. Allegations of improperly handling classified materials were made but Feith was not prosecuted. During Reagan's second term in office, Feith was part of Richard N. Perle's Pentagon team.
- 1 Background
- 2 Zionism and Foreign Policy
- 3 Controversial Tenure as Undersecretary of Defense
- 3.1 Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group
- 3.2 Attempts to Link Iraq with Al Qaeda
- 3.3 Called for Regime Change in Iraq Five Years Before 9/11 Attack
- 3.4 Allegations of Leaking Classified Material
- 3.5 WMDs as the principal rationale for the war in Iraq
- 3.6 Creation of Office of Special Plans
- 3.7 Office of Strategic Influence
- 3.8 Circumventing the Geneva Convention
- 4 Post War Denials
- 5 A History of Lobbying
- 6 Affiliations
- 7 Contact Information
- 8 Resources and articles
- 9 Notes
Feith began his career in government shortly after his graduation from Harvard as an intern to a subcommittee chaired by Senator Henry (Scoop) Jackson. Feith served from 1984 to 1986 as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy and was Special Counsel to Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard N. Perle from 1982 to 1984. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Georgetown University Law Center. Feith has supported lobbying efforts aimed at persuading the United States to drop out of treaties and arms control agreements. Wrote one journalist in The Nation, “Largely ignored or derided at the time, a 1995 Center for Security Policy (CSP)] memo co-written by Douglas Feith holding that the United States should withdraw from the ABM [antiballistic missile] treaty has essentially become policy, as have other CSP reports opposing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the International Criminal Court.”
Feith’s private business dealings have also raised eyebrows in Washington. In 1999, his firm Feith & Zell formed an alliance with the Israel-based Zell, Goldberg & Co., which resulted in the creation of the Fandz International Law Group. According to Fandz’s web site, the law group “has recently established a task force dealing with issues and opportunities relating to the recently ended war with Iraq. ... and is assisting regional construction and logistics firms to collaborate with contractors from the United States and other coalition countries in implementing infrastructure and other reconstruction projects in Iraq.” Remarked Washington Post columnist Al Kamen, “Interested parties can reach [Fandz] through its Web site, at www.fandz.com. Fandz.com? Hmmm. Rings a bell. Oh, yes, that was the Web site of the Washington law firm of Feith & Zell, P.C., as in Douglas Feith [the] undersecretary of defense for policy and head of -- what else? -- reconstruction matters in Iraq. It would be impossible indeed to overestimate how perfect ZGC would be in ‘assisting American companies in their relations with the United States government in connection with Iraqi reconstruction projects.’”
Zionism and Foreign Policy
Feith has been active in Zionist causes since his youth. He has also spoken about the formative influence of the Holocaust on his thinking. He told Jeffrey Goldberg,
- “I had done a lot of reading, relative for a kid, about World War Two, and I thought about Chamberlain a lot,” he told me. “Chamberlain wasn’t popular in my house.” Feith’s father lost his parents, three brothers, and four sisters in German death camps...When I took all these nice-sounding [antiwar] ideas and compared it to my own little personal ‘Cogito, ergo sum,’ which was my understanding that my family got wiped out by Hitler, and that all this stuff about working things out—well, talking to Hitler to resolve the problem didn’t make any sense to me. The kind of people who put bumper stickers on their car that declare that ‘war is not the answer,’ are they making a serious comment? What’s the answer to Pearl Harbor? What’s the answer to the Holocaust?” He continued, “The surprising thing is not that there are so many Jews who are neocons but that there are so many who are not.”
Feith maintains close relations with the Likud Party in Israel. He was a co-author of the infamour 'A Clean Break' document that prominent neoconservatives wrote for the incoming Likud government of Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996. In a New Yorker profile Jeffrey Goldberg sums up his views on foreign policy thus:
- In the late nineteen-seventies, he wrote about America’s energy supply, arguing, against conventional wisdom, that oil embargoes could be more damaging to the economies of Arab oil exporters than to the United States. In the nineteen-eighties, as a deputy to Perle, Feith focussed his attention—and skepticism—on arms control and détente. In the early nineteen-nineties, he predicted that the Oslo peace process between Israel and the Palestinians would fail.
However, following the disaster in Iraq, Feith has grown touchy about his Zionism. Goldberg reports:
- Feith’s library includes a large selection of books on Zionism, but he did not linger there. “I’m not looking to aggravate a distortion about me,” Feith said. The distortion, he said, is that his religion, or at least his longtime support for right-wing Israeli leaders, has affected his policy recommendations to Rumsfeld.
Controversial Tenure as Undersecretary of Defense
Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group
Shortly after the events of 11 September 2001, Feith created the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (PCEG), which was disbanded in February 2004. In April 2004, the "Group" was under investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as to whether it "exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq to justify the war." 
Attempts to Link Iraq with Al Qaeda
In August 2002, Feith and DIA analyst Chris Carney discussed Iraq's alleged ties to al-Qaeda to the CIA. CIA analysts immediately recognized that Feith's allegations came from discredited sources. The information will nevertheless be included in speeches by George W. Bush and in CIA director George Tenet's Congressional testimony. Feith distributed a classified memo to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence based on this information, and the memo was later leaked to the Weekly Standard, a neoconservative magazine.
Called for Regime Change in Iraq Five Years Before 9/11 Attack
Douglas Feith, along with Richard Perle and other noted neo-cons, called for the removal of Saddam Hussein in a 1996 round table report A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm. The removal was considered a means for foiling Syria's regional ambitions. This report was prepared more that five years before the attack on the World Trade Center. The report describes regime change in Iraq as an important Israeli strategic objective.
Allegations of Leaking Classified Material
"'He was very arrogant,' Karen Kwiatkowski, Feith's former deputy, says, describing what it was like to work with him. 'He doesn't utilize a wide variety of inputs. He seeks information that confirms what he already thinks. And he may go to jail for leaking classified information to The Weekly Standard.' (As she explains, an article appeared in The Weekly Standard that included a leaked memo written by Feith alleging ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.) :"It seems unlikely that Feith will face time for the leaked memo. But he may well be forced to look for a new job soon. As he knows all too well, regime change isn't pretty."
WMDs as the principal rationale for the war in Iraq
Creation of Office of Special Plans
A supplementary annex of the committee's review of the intelligence leading to war in Iraq says about Feith: A Senior Pentagon policy maker created an unofficial "Iraqi intelligence cell" in the summer of 2002 to circumvent the CIA and secretly brief the White House on links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qa'eda.
According to Feith said, the non-descript name was chosen to obscure its mission.
Office of Strategic Influence
Circumventing the Geneva Convention
Feith was instrumental in the president's decision that the Geneva Convention should not apply to detainees:
- How had the administration gone from a commitment to Geneva, as suggested by the meeting with Rumsfeld, to the president’s declaration that none of the detainees had any rights under Geneva? It all turns on what you mean by “promoting respect” for Geneva, Feith explained. Geneva didn’t apply at all to al-Qaeda fighters, because they weren’t part of a state and therefore couldn’t claim rights under a treaty that was binding only on states. Geneva did apply to the Taliban, but by Geneva’s own terms Taliban fighters weren’t entitled to P.O.W. status, because they hadn’t worn uniforms or insignia. That would still leave the safety net provided by the rules reflected in Common Article 3— but detainees could not rely on this either, on the theory that its provisions applied only to “armed conflict not of an international character,” which the administration interpreted to mean civil war. This was new. In reaching this conclusion, the Bush administration simply abandoned all legal and customary precedent that regards Common Article 3 as a minimal bill of rights for everyone.
Post War Denials
The man who oversaw the manufacturing of false intelligence in the lead up to war told Jeffrey Goldberg two years after the war:
- “The main rationale was not based on intelligence,” Feith said. “It was known to anyone who read newspapers and knew history. Saddam had used nerve gas, he had invaded his neighbors more than once, he had attacked other neighbors, he was hostile to us, he supported numerous terrorist groups. It’s true that he didn’t have a link that we know of to 9/11. . . . But he did give safe haven to terrorists...Given the ease, as everybody knows, with which one can reconstitute stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons if you have the capabilities which he had, I don’t think the rationale for the war hinged on the existence of stockpiles.”
Tellingly, he only speaks about chemical and biological weapons (not strictly 'weapons of mass destruction') and leaves out any mention of Iraq's alleged nuclear program. He also sidesteps the fact that his Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group was dedicated solely to establishing the Iraq-al-Qaeda link.
Feith and the Arab Mind
When asked why US troops were not greeted with flowers as the neoconservatives had promised, Feith told the interviewer: '“But they had flowers in their minds.”
A History of Lobbying
In 1989, Feith registered International Advisors, Inc. (IAI) as a foreign agent representing the government of Turkey. The brainchild of Richard N. Perle, IAI's stated purpose was to "promote the objective of U.S.-Turkey defense industrial cooperation." Douglas Feith was not only the CEO of IAI but also its only stockholder. Feith earned $60,000 per year and his law firm, Feith and Zell, was the recipient from IAI of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In 1992, Feith joined with Perle and other neo-cons opposing President George H.W. Bush's stern policy on Israel in forming the Committee on US Interests in the Middle East.
Feith and Perle reportedly teamed up once again as consultants for Bosnia. They both worked for and advised the Bosnians during the Dayton peace talks. They were not, however, registered then as foreign agents with the U.S. Department of Justice. Above paragraphs from the Arab American Institute's Washington Watch.
- Council on Foreign Relations - Member
- Energy Infrastructure Planning Group
- Office of Special Plans
- Office of Strategic Influence
- One Jerusalem
- Project for the New American Century
- Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000 Member
- United States Committee for a Free Lebanon
- United States Institute of Peace - Former Director (2002)
- Website: http://www.dougfeith.com/
Resources and articles
- Profile: Douglas Feith, RightWeb.
- Profile: Douglas Feith, NNBD.com.
- Profile: Douglas Feith, Cooperative Research.
- Profile: Douglas J. Feith, Israeli-Palestinian ProCon.org.
- Printable Biography of Douglas Feith, All American Speakers Bureau.*Douglas J. Feith in the Wikipedia.
Articles by Douglas J. Feith
- "The Inner Logic of Israel's Negotations: Withdrawal Process, Not Peace Process," Middle East Forum / Middle East Quarterly, March 1996.
- Transcript: "The Global War on Terrorism," with Robert L. Galluci, Presider, at Council on Foreign Relations, November 13, 2003.
- Lecture: "Strategy and the Idea of Freedom," Heritage Foundation, November 24, 2003.
- Op-Ed: "Conventional Warfare," Wall Street Journal (AllAmericanPatriots.com), April 24, 2004.
- Transcript: Speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, February 17, 2005. (on asymmetrical sovereignty)
- "The Donald Rumsfeld I Know," Washington Post, November 12, 2006.*"A Word for Chris Wallace," FrontPageMag.com, February 21, 2007.
- "My Pentagon Years", Middle East Forum, 8 May 2008
- "Israeli Settlements: Legitimate, Democratically Mandated, Vital to Israel's Security and, Therefore, in U.S. Interest," Center for Security Policy, December 17, 1996.
- James Zogby, "A Dangerous Appointment: Profile of Douglas Feith, Undersecretary of Defense under Bush," Middle East Info, April 18, 2001.
- "Interview with Douglas Feith. Jonathan Holmes interviews Douglas Feith, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy," Four Corners/ABC News (Australia), February 21, 2003.
- Julian Borger, "The spies who pushed for war," The Guardian, July 17, 2003.
- Jim Lobe, "The Crisis of Feith," Foreign Policy in Focus, November 7, 2003.
- Jim Lobe, "Loss of Feith in Douglas," Asia Times, November 7, 2003.
- Daniel Pipes, "Douglas Feith on 'War on Terror'," DanielPipes.org, November 13, 2003.
- "After Iraq. The plan to remake the Middle East," The New Yorker, November 17, 2003.
- Bill Moyers, "On The Insider Business Deals Between Shrub Administration Officials And Iraqi Reconstruction Companies," On Lisa Rein's Radar Blog, November 17, 2003.
- Stephen F. Hayes, "Case Closed. From the November 24, 2003 issue: The U.S. government's secret memo detailing cooperation between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden," The Weekly Standard, November 22, 2003.
- Dana Priest, "Pentagon Shadow Loses Some Mystique. Feith's Shops Did Not Usurp Intelligence Agencies on Iraq, Hill Probers Find," Washington Post, March 13, 2004. See comments by Juan Cole.
- James Risen, "How Pair's Finding on Terror Led To Clash on Shaping Intelligence" (Abstract), New York Times, April 28, 2004.
- Laura Rozen, "Stunning story on Chalabi," War and Piece, May 3, 2004.
- Jim Lobe, "Soon to Be Losing Feith?" Inter Press Service (Dissident Voice; Common Dreams), May 20, 2004: "Although it will take weeks, if not months, to sort out precisely who was responsible for what increasingly appears to have been the systemic abuse by U.S. soldiers of Iraqi detainees, it should be no surprise if Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith is found to have played an important role."
- Chris Suellentrop, "Douglas Feith. What has the Pentagon's third man done wrong? Everything," Slate, May 20, 2004.
- Michael C. Ruppert with Wayne Madsen, "COUP D'ETAT: The Real Reason Tenet and Pavitt Resigned from the CIA on June 3rd and 4th. Bush, Cheney Indictments in Plame Case Looming," From the Wilderness, June 8, 2004.
- Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., "Feith’s Fight. Allegations against the undersecretary are baseless and base," National Review Online, August 30, 2004.
- "Portrait of a neo-con," Interhemispheric Resource Center (Asia Times), September 24, 2004.
- Tom Barry, "Douglas Feith: Portrait of a Neoconservative," RightWeb, September 3, 2004; Antiwar.com, September 15, 2004.
- Julian Coman, "Fury over Pentagon cell that briefed White House on Iraq's 'imaginary' al-Qaeda links," The Telegraph (UK), October 7, 2004.
- Report of an Inquiry into the Alternative Analysis of the Issue of an Iraq-al Qaeda Relationship by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee, October 21, 2004.:
- Sen. Levin, a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence releases a report on the role of the office of the Pentagon's number three official Douglas Feith in alleged extracurricular intelligence analysis and advocacy.
- "The Iraq Intel Scandal Unfolds," War and Piece (TomPaine.com), October 22, 2004.*Brian Bender, "Senator Says Pentagon Unit Hyped Terror Tie," Boston Globe (Common Dreams), October 22, 2004.
- News Release: "DoD Announces Departure of Undersecretary Douglas Feith," U.S. Department of Defense, January 26, 2005.
- Demetri Sevastopulo, "Neo-con Feith to quit defence policy post," Financial Times, January 26, 2005.
- Mark Mazzetti, "Contentious Defense Official to Depart," New York Times (truthout), January 27, 2005.
- Francis Harris, "Rumsfeld aide who planned war quits," The Telegraph (UK), January 28, 2005.
- Juan Cole, "Feith Resigns Under Pressure of Investigations," Informed Comment, January 28, 2005.
- Doug Gavel, "Feith Urges Forum Audience to Keep Faith in Democratic Surge," News from the Kennedy School [of Government], March 3, 2005.
- Javier C. Hernandez, "Feith's Speech Draws Hostile Reaction at IOP," The Harvard Crimson, March 4, 2005.
- Doug Gavel, "Douglas Feith: Democracy gains foothold in Middle East. Only time will tell if new institutions will flourish," The Harvard University Gazette, March 10, 2005.
- Ellen, "Cal Thomas and Douglas Feith's Fantasyland Version of Iraq," News Hounds, March 28, 2005.
- Jeffrey Goldberg, "A Little Learning. What Douglas Feith knew, and when he knew it," The New Yorker, May 10, 2005.
- Gary Leupp, "'What's the Answer to the Holocaust?' Douglas Feith Bares His Soul to Jeffrey Goldberg," CounterPunch, May 12, 2005.
- Justin Raimondo, "Why Did Feith Resign? Could it have had something to do with the Larry Franklin spy scandal?" Antiwar.com, May 30, 2005.
- Brian, "Douglas Feith and Betar," Gorilla in the Room Blogspot, June 15, 2005.
- Harkavy, "Dual Disloyalty: Feith and the Occupations of Gaza and Iraq," The Bush Beat Blog/The Village Voice, August 9, 2005.
- Evelyn J. Pringle, "War Pays. Douglas Feith's Platinum Parachute," CounterPunch, September 9/11, 2005.
- Karen Kwiatkowski, "Thoughts on the Retirement of Douglas Feith," LewRockwell.com, September 21, 2005.
- Arnaud de Borchgrave, Commentary: "Dumb, But Smart Feith," UPI, October 24, 2005.
- Larisa Alexandrovna, "Pentagon investigation of Iraq war hawk stalling Senate inquiry into pre-war Iraq intelligence," The Raw Story, January 30, 2006.
- Stephen Santulli, "Douglas Feith Hired as Visiting SFS Professor. Correction Appended," The Hoya, May 2, 2006.
- "Georgetown Faculty Object to Appointment of Iraq War Architect Douglas Feith as Professor in School of Foreign Service," Democracy Now!, May 21, 2006.
- Marty Kaplan, "Professor Stupidest," The Huffington Post, May 25, 2006.
- James Bamford, "Iran: The Next War," Rolling Stone, July 26, 2006.
- Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff, "Secret Proposals: Fighting Terror by Attacking ... South America?" Newsweek (MSNBC), August 9, 2006.
- "Neocon Middle Eastern Policy: Clean Break or Dirty War? Israel's Foreign Policy Directive to the United States," Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, August 11, 2006.
- Walter C. Uhler, "The Times Continues to Understate the Influence of Feith's 'Gestapo Office' in the Run-up to War," walter-c-uhler.com, December 3, 2006.
- David S. Cloud and Mark Mazzetti, "Prewar Intelligence Unit at Pentagon Is Criticized," New York Times, February 9, 2007.
- Walter Pincus and R. Jeffrey Smith, "Report cites 'dubious' pre-war findings. Political views, not intelligence consensus, imbued White House case, watchdog says," Washington Post (San Francisco Chronicle), February 9, 2007.
- Julian E. Barnes, "Pentagon aide's prewar work faulted. A Defense report says the ex-official alleged links between Al Qaeda and Iraq that didn't reflect intelligence," Los Angeles Times, February 9, 2007.
- "Feith 'predisposed' to link Iraq, terror," UPI, February 9, 2007.
- Robert Burns, "Pentagon Says Pre-War Intel Not Illegal," Associated Press (ABC News), February 9, 2007.
- Tom Regan, "Pentagon: Prewar intel on Al Qaeda-Hussein link not illegal but 'dubious'. Critics call report 'damning,' but intel-wrangler Feith says he's glad he was 'exonerated'," Christian Science Monitor, February 9, 2007.
- Mark Thompson, "Feith Takes the Fall," TIME, February 9, 2007.
- "Douglas Feith Responds to Criticism," NPR, February 9, 2007.
- "VIDEO: Feith Stands By False Claim That Iraq Had Links To Al Qaeda," Think Progress, February 9, 2007.
- Don Davis, "Douglas Feith Explains the Al Qaeda - Saddam Link: Six Degrees of Separation," The Satirical Political Report, February 10, 2007.
- Transcript: Former Defense Undersecretary Douglas Feith on 'FNS', Fox News, February 11, 2007.
- Editorial: "Vindicating Douglas Feith," New York Sun, February 12, 2007.
- Robert Scheer, "Before the Invasion, There Was Feith," Truthdig, February 13, 2007; The Nation, February 14, 2007.
- Marie Therese, "Douglas Feith: Is He the Next John Dean?" News Hounds, February 13, 2007.
- Karen Kwiatkowski, "The War Pimp," LewRockwell.com, February 14, 2007.
- SilentPatriot, "Daily Show: Douglas Feith Has Huge Balls," Crooks and Liars, February 14, 2007.
- Calvin Trillin, "Report by the Pentagon's Inspector General Concludes That Douglas Feith Cooked the Books on Pre-war Intelligence," The Nation, February 15, 2007 (March 5, 2007 issue).
- David Edwards and Josh Catone, "Chris Wallace smashes Feith's Iraq Qaeda claim," The Raw Story, February 18, 2007.
- Faiz Shakir, "True ‘Fair And Balanced’ Coverage: Wallace Calls Out Feith For Lying On Fox News," Think Progress, February 18, 2007.
- Benjamin Zycher, "Reporting for Spin. Carl Levin’s latest report ignores the facts on the ground to this day," National Review Online, February 21, 2007.
- Mario Loyola, "Feith on Trial. Facts don’t matter to Carl Levin," National Review Online, February 27, 2007.
- Athenae, "The Feith Defense Continues," First Draft, February 28, 2007.
- "Doug Feith's Stupidest Fucking Website on the Internet," Wonkette!, March 1, 2007.
- "Slides Used by Douglas Feith to Sell the Link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda," Scribd.com, April 5, 2007.
- Steve Inskeep, "Feith Takes Iraq Policy Debate to Georgetown," NPR, April 19, 2007.
- Brad Friedman, "Douglas Feith: There Were No Analysts Who Said Saddam Was Not a Threat. Has the Former DoD War Architect Ever Met Condi Rice or Colin Powell? Just Asking...," The Brad Blog, April 19, 2007.
- Nick Schwellenbach, "Feith's Earmark?" Project On Government Oversight Blog, April 25, 2007.
- "Iraq Misinformant Off the Hook," Adbusters Magazine, May/June 2007.
- "Feith Referenced Fake Company As Evidence Of Pre-War Ties Between Iraq And Bin Laden," Think Progress, May 24, 2007.
- "The Architects of War: Where Are They Now?" Think Progress, July 2007.
- Jeffrey Goldberg, A Little Learning, New Yorker, 9 May 2005
- Source: Center for Security Policy 98-D139
- James Risen, How Pair's Finding on Terror Led to Clash on Shaping Intelligence, New York Times, 28 April 2004
- Context of 'August 2002: Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group In Pentagon Disbanded', History Commons, accessed 3 September 2010
- Laura Rozen, "Ye of Little Feith. Why one of Doug Feith's underlings thinks he might go to jail", The American Prospect, May 18, 2004
- Julian Borger, , Guardian Unlimited, May 20, 2004.
- A NATION CHALLENGED: HEARTS AND MINDS; PENTAGON READIES EFFORTS TO SWAY SENTIMENT ABROAD, by James Dao and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, 19 February 2002.
- The Green Light, Phillippe Sands, Vanity Fair, May 2008.
- Mearsheimer, J. & Walt, S. The Israel Lobby London Review of Books, 16 March 2006
[Category:Harvard alumni|Feith, Douglas]]