Robert M. Gates Profile
Wednesday, November 8, 2006; 4:17 PM
On Nov. 8, 2006, President Bush announced he would nominate Robert Gates, president of Texas A&M University and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to succeed Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense.
Robert M. Gates is a veteran intelligence operative with close ties to the Bush family. The 63-year-old joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966 after a brief stint in the Air Force, rising through the ranks to eventually run the agency in the last years of President George H.W. Bush's term in office. He was deputy national security adviser from 1989 to 1991, and deputy CIA director from 1986 until 1989.
A Kansas native with a doctorate in Russian studies, he served on the staff of the National Security Office in the 1970s during a break in his CIA career. The current President Bush had approached him before about returning to government, asking him to become the new director of national intelligence -- a job he declined and which eventually went to veteran diplomat John D. Negroponte.
Gates was a close adviser to President Ronald Reagan and to George H.W. Bush as they dealt with the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, though he was criticized for molding intelligence reports to suit Reagan's hard-line stance toward what had been dubbed the "Evil Empire."
Gates's role in the Iran-Contra affair in the late 1980s also came under close scrutiny, particularly when he was nominated by the elder Bush to run the CIA in 1991. His nomination was cleared, but on a divided vote with even some supporters saying they would exercise close oversight of his tenure. Similar questions had scuttled an earlier nomination by Reagan to make him director of the CIA. Like other members of the elder Bush's national security team, Gates was not consulted closely about the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
-- By Washington Post Staff Writer William Branigin
Find further coverage of Gates's nomination here:
Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Gates, (The Post, Dec. 5, 2006)
For Defense Nominee, Echoes of Old Questions, (The Post, Dec. 4, 2006)
Gates Warns Against Leaving Iraq 'in Chaos', (The Post, Nov. 29, 2006)
Rumsfeld to Step Down as Defense Secretary, (The Post, Nov. 8, 2006)
Robert Gates And the Neverending Story, (The Post, Sept. 19, 1991)