Pres. Clinton: Edelman Is An ‘Ideological Holdover’ From Cheney’s Inner Circle

Yesterday, former President Bill Clinton sharply criticized Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman, who recently rebuffed Sen. Hillary Clinton’s (D-NY) request for Pentagon briefings to Congress on the administration’s redeployment plans. Edelman wrote, “Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda. ABC News reports:

Clinton said Undersecretary Eric Edelman was “wrong” to send a letter to his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., criticizing her request for a briefing from Pentagon officials about military plans for a future withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. […]

In an interview with ABC’s Kate Snow in Lusaka, Zambia, Bill Clinton called Edelman “one of the more ideological holdovers” in the Defense Department.

“I think it’s wrong to politicize national security,” he said.

Edelman has close ties to Vice President Cheney and several other administration hardliners. He served under Cheney, then Secretary of Defense, in the first Bush administration. At that time, Cheney set up a “shop” to “think about American foreign policy after the Cold War, at the grand strategic level.” The project also included Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby. [New Yorker, 4/1/02]

From 2001-2003, Edelman served as a national security adviser to Cheney. In 2003, he was named as U.S. ambassador to Turkey, attempting to convince Turkey to cooperate with the Bush administration’s plans to invade Iraq. Turkish columnist Ibrahim Karagul noted, “Edelman is probably the least-liked and trusted American ambassador in Turkish history.”

Bush recess appointed Edelman on on Aug. 9, 2005, replacing Douglas Feith.

UPDATE: Marcy Wheeler notes that Edelman came up with the idea of leaking information to the press as a way to rebut Joseph Wilson. Juan Cole recounts Edelman’s long neoconservative record.