Philip D. Zelikow
Philip D. Zelikow
Philip Zelikow at the Miller Center of Public Affairs
|Counselor of the United States Department of State|
February 1, 2005 – January 2, 2007
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Wendy Sherman|
|Succeeded by||Eliot A. Cohen|
Philip David Zelikow
September 21, 1954
New York City, New York
|Education||University of Redlands|
University of Houston Law Center
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Philip David Zelikow (//; born September 21, 1954) is an American attorney, diplomat, academic and author. He has worked as the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, and Counselor of the United States Department of State. He is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia and was American Academy in Berlin Axel Springer Fellow, in the fall of 2009.
Zelikow received a BA in history and political science from the University of Redlands, a J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center (where he was an editor of the law review), and a MALD and Ph.D. in international relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Academic and federal government positions
After practicing law in the early 1980s, Zelikow turned toward the field of national security. He was adjunct professor of national security affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California in 1984–1985.
He joined the United States Department of State through the standard examination process for the foreign service as a career civil servant. As a Foreign Service Officer, he served overseas at the U.S. Mission to the conventional arms control talks in Vienna, at the State Department's 24-hour crisis center, and on the secretariat staff for Secretary of State George P. Shultz, during the second Reagan administration (1985–1989).
In 1989, in the George H. W. Bush administration, Zelikow was detailed to join the National Security Council, where he was involved as a senior White House staffer in the diplomacy surrounding the German reunification and the diplomatic settlements accompanying the end of the Cold War in Europe. During the first Gulf War, he aided President Bush, National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, and Secretary of State James Baker in diplomatic affairs related to the coalition. He co-authored, with Condoleezza Rice, the book Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft (1995), an academic study of the politics of reunification.
In 1991, Zelikow left the NSC to go to Harvard University. From 1991 to 1998, he was Associate Professor of Public Policy and co-director of Harvard's Intelligence and Policy Program, at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
In 1998, Zelikow moved to the University of Virginia, where until February 2005 he directed the nation's largest center on the American presidency. He served as director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs and, as White Burkett Miller Professor of History, held an endowed chair. The Center launched a project to transcribe and annotate the previously secret tapes made during the Kennedy, Nixon and Johnson presidencies. In a presidential oral history project headed by James Sterling Young, it systematically gathers additional information on the presidencies of Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton.
Following an appointment at the Department of State from 2005 to 2007 during the Bush administration, Zelikow returned to academics at the University of Virginia. In 2011, he was appointed Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He has been instrumental in restructuring the College of Arts & Sciences. Also in 2011, Zelikow was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President's Intelligence Advisory Board.
Commissions and committees
Bush transition team
In late 2000 and early 2001, Zelikow served on President Bush's transition team. After George W. Bush took office, Zelikow was named to a position on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board [PFIAB], and worked on other task forces and commissions as well. He directed the bipartisan National Commission on Federal Election Reform, created after the 2000 election and chaired by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, along with Lloyd Cutler and Bob Michel. This Commission's recommendations led directly to congressional consideration and enactment into law of the Help America Vote Act of 2002.
Markle Task Force on Security
In 2002, Phil Zelikow became the executive director of the Markle Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. The Task Force comprises a diverse and bipartisan group of experienced policymakers, senior executives from the information technology industry, public interest advocates, and experts in privacy, intelligence, and national security. The Markle Task Force seeks to inform the policy judgments and investments of the federal, state and local governments in the collection and use of information as it relates to national security. The Task Force's reports and recommendations have been codified through two laws (IRPTA 2004 and the Implementing 9/11 Commission Report Act 2007) and several presidential directives.
Executive director of the 9/11 Commission
Zelikow was appointed executive director of the 9/11 Commission (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States), whose work included examination of the conduct of presidents Clinton and George W. Bush and their administrations prior to and on September 11, 2001. Zelikow's prior involvement with the administration of George W. Bush led to opposition from the 9/11 Family Steering Committee, citing the obvious conflict of interest of having previously worked on the Bush transition team. The Commission's Republican chair and Democratic vice-chair strongly defended Zelikow, both at the time and later. In response to the concerns, Zelikow had agreed to recuse himself from any investigation matters pertaining to the National Security Council's transition from the Clinton to Bush administrations, which Zelikow had helped manage.
After being informed of the Department of Defense's Able Danger project by U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer, he failed to have the 9/11 Commission investigate, despite the promise that the Commission would investigate all 9/11 related topics. Able Danger was not included in the Commission's final report. In 2005 and 2006 a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Curt Weldon, publicized Shaffer's allegations in public statements and hearings. A September 2006 report of the Department of Defense Inspector General found that these allegations were baseless. A further report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence came to the same conclusion in December 2006.
Some staff members of the 9/11 Commission distrusted Zelikow, considering him to be a "White House mole" in view of his being a close confidant of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and his having worked in several high level capacities in the George W. Bush administration.
Rice national security strategy project
In Rise of the Vulcans (2004), James Mann reports that when Richard Haass, a senior aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell and the director of policy planning at the State Department, drafted an overview of America’s national security strategy following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Dr. Rice, the national security advisor, "ordered that the document be completely rewritten. She thought the Bush administration needed something bolder, something that would represent a more dramatic break with the ideas of the past. Rice turned the writing over to her old colleague, University of Virginia Professor Philip Zelikow." One criticism of this document, issued on September 17, 2002, is that it is supposed to have been a significant document in an alleged Bush administration doctrine of preemptive war. However, in the drafting of this document Zelikow had opposed the proposed language using preemption in the context of how to deal with weapons of mass destruction.
In 2014–15, while on leave from the University of Virginia and working for the Markle Foundation, Zelikow helped lead a Foundation-sponsored group of prominent Americans called "Rework America." The group developed arguments and ideas on how to use the digital revolution to enlarge economic opportunity for all Americans. The group published its ideas in "America's Moment: Creating Opportunity in the Connected Age."
George W. Bush administration
Zelikow's role in the second Iraq war is discussed at some length in Bob Woodward's State of Denial, which presents him as an internal critic of the way the war was being conducted in 2005 and 2006, and as an originator of the alternative approach termed "clear, hold, and build." He is also named by sources such as Jack Goldsmith's The Terror Presidency as an internal critic of the treatment of terrorist captives, and there was wide attention given to an address he made on this subject after leaving office in April 2007.
Based on speeches and internal memos, some political analysts believe that Zelikow disagreed with aspects of the Bush administration's Middle Eastern policy.
As Counselor to Secretary of State Rice, Zelikow opposed the Bush administration Torture Memos. In 2006, Zelikow wrote a memorandum warning that the abuse of prisoners through so-called "enhanced interrogation" could constitute war crimes. Bush administration officials ignored his recommendations, and tried to collect all copies of the memo and destroy them. Jane Mayer, author of the Dark Side, quotes Zelikow as predicting that "America's descent into torture will in time be viewed like the Japanese internments," in that "(f)ear and anxiety were exploited by zealots and fools."
Zelikow's area of academic expertise is the history and practice of public policy. In addition to the work on German unification, he has been significantly involved in contemporary scholarship on the Cuban Missile Crisis, including the relation between this crisis and the East-West confrontation over Berlin.
While at Harvard, he worked with Ernest R. May and Richard Neustadt on the use, and misuse, of history in policymaking. They observed, as Zelikow noted in his own words, that "contemporary" history is "defined functionally by those critical people and events that go into forming the public's presumptions about its immediate past. The idea of 'public presumption'," he explained, "is akin to William McNeill's notion of 'public myth' but without the negative implication sometimes invoked by the word 'myth.' Such presumptions are beliefs (1) thought to be true (although not necessarily known to be true with certainty), and (2) shared in common within the relevant political community." "
Zelikow and May also authored and sponsored scholarship on the relationship between intelligence analysis and policy decisions. Zelikow later helped found a research project to prepare and publish annotated transcripts of presidential recordings made secretly during the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations (see WhiteHouseTapes.org) and another project to strengthen oral history work on more recent administrations, with both these projects based at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs.
In writing about the importance of beliefs about history, Zelikow has called attention to what he has called "'searing' or 'molding' events [that] take on 'transcendent' importance and, therefore, retain their power even as the experiencing generation passes from the scene. In the United States, beliefs about the formation of the nation and the Constitution remain powerful today, as do beliefs about slavery and the Civil War. World War II, Vietnam, and the civil rights struggle are more recent examples." He has noted that "a history’s narrative power is typically linked to how readers relate to the actions of individuals in the history; if readers cannot make a connection to their own lives, then a history may fail to engage them at all."
Zelikow has also written about terrorism and national security, including a set of Harvard case studies on "Policing Northern Ireland." In the November–December 1998 issue of Foreign Affairs, he co-authored an article Catastrophic Terrorism, with Ashton B. Carter, and John M. Deutch, in which they speculated that if the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center had succeeded, "the resulting horror and chaos would have exceeded our ability to describe it. Such an act of catastrophic terrorism would be a watershed event in American history. It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented in peacetime and undermine America’s fundamental sense of security, as did the Soviet atomic bomb test in 1949. Like Pearl Harbor, the event would divide our past and future into a before and after. The United States might respond with draconian measures scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects and use of deadly force. More violence could follow, either future terrorist attacks or U.S. counterattacks. Belatedly, Americans would judge their leaders negligent for not addressing terrorism more urgently." 
Works written or co-written
- Philip D. Zelikow with Condoleezza Rice, Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft Harvard University Press, 1995, hardcover, 520 pages, ISBN 0-674-35324-2; trade paperback, 1997, 520 pages, ISBN 0-674-35325-0
- Philip D. Zelikow with Graham T. Allison, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis 2nd edition Longman, 1999. 440 pages, ISBN 0-321-01349-2
- Philip D. Zelikow with Ernest R. May, The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis Harvard University Press, 1997, 728 pages, ISBN 0-674-17926-9
- Philip D. Zelikow, American Military Strategy: Memos to a President (Aspen Policy Series) W.W. Norton & Company, 2001, 206 pages, ISBN 0-393-97711-0
| Counselor of the United States Department of State
February 1, 2005 – January 2, 2007
Eliot A. Cohen
- Zelikow, Philip D.; Condoleezza Rice (1995). Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-35324-2.
- Joffe, Josef (January–February 1996). "Putting Germany Back Together: The Fabulous Bush and Baker Boys". Foreign Affairs.
- "White House Tapes". Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
- "Zelikow Appointed to Obama's Intelligence Advisory Board"
- UNT Biography
- The reports are available at "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 12, 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link).
- Kean, Thomas and Lee Hamilton (2006). Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission. New York: Random House. pp. 28–29.
- Eggen, Dan (October 14, 2003). "Sept. 11 Panel Defends Director's Impartiality". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2003. Retrieved July 11, 2010.
- "Able Danger and the 9/11 Attacks." Unclassified Draft Statement by Anthony A. Shaffer, Lt. Col., U.S. Army, House Armed Services Committee, February 15, 2006.
- "DoD Inspector General, "Alleged Misconduct …,"" (PDF). Federation of American Scientists. September 18, 2006.
- "Letter to SSCI members" (PDF). Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. December 22, 2006.
- Philip Shenon, "The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, (New York: Hachette Book Group USA, 2008), pages 9-14, https://www.amazon.com/reader/0446580759?_encoding=UTF8&ref_=sib_dp_pt#reader-link, ISBN 0-446-58075-9
- Shenon, Philip (2008). The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation. New York City: Hachette Book Group USA. p. 128. ISBN 0-446-58075-9. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
It was a remarkable document, a reversal of generations of American military doctrine, which had previously held that the United States would launch a military strike against an enemy only after it had been struck or if American lives were in immediate jeopardy.
- "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America". The Washington Post. September 17, 2002. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.
- Zelikow, Philip (2011). "U.S. Strategic Planning in 2001–2002". In Melvyn Leffler & Jeffrey Legro (ed.). In Uncertain Times: American Foreign Policy After the Fall of the Berlin Wall and 9/11. Cornell University Press. pp. 110–116.
- "Still the land of opportunity". The Economist. July 4, 2015.
- Cooper, Helene and David E. Sanger. Rice’s Counselor Gives Advice Others May Not Want to Hear. The New York Times. 2006-10-28.
- Blanton, Tom (April 3, 2012). "The Zelikow Memo: Internal Critique of Bush Torture Memos Declassified". News. National Security Archives. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- McGreal, Chris, Former senior Bush official on torture: 'I think what they did was wrong' The Guardian, April 5, 2012.
- Michael Isikoff We Could Have Done This the Right Way Newsweek, April 25, 2009
- Eviatar, Daphne (May 13, 2009). "Philip Zelikow: OLC Interpretation Would Allow Waterboarding of U.S. Citizens". The Washington Independent. Archived from the original on May 26, 2009. Retrieved June 9, 2009.
- Mayer,The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (2008) ISBN 0-385-52639-3
- Horton, Scott, Six Questions for Jane Mayer, Author of the Dark Side Harper's Magazine, July 14, 2008
- Philip Zelikow. Thinking About Political History at the Wayback Machine (archived March 1, 2009). Miller Center Report, Winter 1999. Archived from the original
- Ashton B. Carter; John Deutch & Philip Zelikow (November–December 1998). "Catastrophic Terrorism: Tackling the New Danger - Page not found". Foreign Affairs. Archived from the original on July 27, 2006.
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- Works by or about Philip D. Zelikow in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- "Philip D. Zelikow collected news and commentary". The New York Times.
- Membership at the Council on Foreign Relations