Danielle Pletka

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Danielle Pletka
Melbourne, Australia
OccupationVice-president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute

Danielle Pletka (born 1963 in Melbourne, Australia) is the vice-president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and a board member for the American Australian Council. She previously worked as an editorial assistant for the Los Angeles Times and Reuters; a staff writer for Insight on the News; a senior staff member for Near East and South Asia with the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and was an aide to Senator Jesse Helms.



Pletka was born in Melbourne, Australia. She earned her B.A. at Smith College and her M.S. at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University.[1]


Pletka was editorial assistant with the Los Angeles Times and Reuters, working in Jerusalem from 1984 to 1985. She worked as a staff writer for Insight on the News.[2] From 1992–2002, she was a senior professional staff member for Near East and South Asia with the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Steven Schier describes her as having been the "point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues" for the Committee.[3]

Pletka worked as an aide to Senator Jesse Helms[4][5] between 1992 and 2001. She is regarded as having been "influential" in shaping his positions on foreign policy.[6][7]

In March 2002 Pletka was hired by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative Washington, DC think tank, as vice president for foreign and defense policy, a position she continued to hold in 2017.[8][9] At the time of her hiring, The Washington Post described her as "a staunch conservative with a caustic manner."[8] The fact that Pletka was not a neoconservative or a scholar herself, created some tension for her after she took over the role from Jeane Kirkpatrick.[10] She researches topics related to the Middle East, South Asia, terrorism, and weapons proliferation,[3] and is an AEI expert on Iraq. Pletka is also involved in various other projects such as the Committee on the Present Danger.[11]


Pletka was a strong supporter of Iraqi opposition leader, Ahmed Chalabi,[2] even after it emerged he was being investigated by the US authorities as an Iranian spy. Pletka defended Chalabi saying that he had been "shoddily" treated and that CIA and US State Department personnel had been fighting "a rear guard" action against him.[12] Eli Lake describes her as having been a "prominent advocate... for launching the Iraq War."[13]

Select publications[edit]

  • Possible Extension of the UN Mandate for Iraq (2008)
  • The Iran Counter-Proliferation Act (2008)
  • The Way Forward in the Middle East (2005)
  • Reconstructing Iraq (2004)
  • UN Accountability for the Oil for Food Program (2004)
  • United States in the War on Terrorism (2002)


  • The C.I.A. Report Is Too Tainted to Matter. After the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on torture condemned the C.I.A. for waterboarding, chaining prisoners upright, and forcing them to go without sleep for days, Pletka argued that those techniques were justified because they allegedly provided intelligence that assisted the capture of Osama bin Laden, and were legally allowed by Justice Department memos.[14]
  • Don't Diss Defence Workers New York Times (23 Oct 2012
  • What Obama's Slogan Conceals The Washington Post (2 Nov 2012)
  • The Battle for Mitt Romney's Soul Foreign Policy (9 Oct 2012)

Personal life[edit]

Pletka is married to Stephen Rademaker, who was Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation (including head of the Bureau of Arms Control) in the George W. Bush presidential administration.[15][16][8]


  1. ^ "Danielle Pletka". UCLA Burkle Center. UCLA. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b Roston, Aram (2008). The Man Who Pushed America to War: The Extraordinary Life, Adventures and Obsessions of Ahmad Chalabi. New York: Nation Books. pp. 33–34, 154.
  3. ^ a b Schier, Steven E. (2016). Debating the Obama Presidency. London: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 287. ISBN 9781442261259.
  4. ^ Collier, Peter (2012). Political Woman: The Big Little Life of Jeane Kirkpatrick. New York: Encounter Books. pp. 204–205. ISBN 9781594036040.
  5. ^ Podhoretz, John (1994-12-04). "Helms: A Contrarian Who Never Forgets, or Forgives". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  6. ^ Beattie, Kirk (2016). Congress and the Shaping of the Middle East. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1609805623. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Politico Turns To AEI's Pletka To Attack Clinton". Media Matters for America. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  8. ^ a b c "Overtaxed Underwear and the Toll of Tariffs". Washington Post. 26 March 2002. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  9. ^ Achenbach, Joel (18 April 2004). "A Firm Show Of 'Resolve'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  10. ^ Wiarda, Howard J. (2009). Conservative Brain Trust: The Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of the American Enterprise Institute. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books. p. 300. ISBN 9780739133057.
  11. ^ Matthew Yglesias (27 July 2004). "Present Dangers". The American Prospect. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ Lake, Eli (18 March 2013). "Few Regrets as Neoconservative Advocates for Iraq Invasion Look Back". Daily Beast. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  14. ^ The C.I.A. Report Is Too Tainted to Matter, Danielle Pletka, The New York Times, December 9, 2014.
  15. ^ "The Washington Note," May 2005 http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2005/05/
  16. ^ Silverstein, Ken (2 January 2015). "How the Iraq War Financed a Beltway Real Estate Boom". The Intercept. Retrieved 8 May 2017.

External links[edit]