John B. Bellinger, III

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John B. Bellinger, III was appointed February 11, 2005, by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be Senior Associate Counsel to the President and Legal Adviser to the National Security Council at the U.S. Department of State. Bellinger was confirmed by the Senate April 6, 2005. [1]

Prior to his appointment, Bellinger "served as Counsel for National Security Matters in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice from 1997 to 2001. He previously served as Counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (1996), as General Counsel of the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the U.S. Intelligence Community (1995-1996), and as Special Assistant to Director of Central Intelligence William H. Webster (1988-1991). From 1991 to 1995, Mr. Bellinger practiced law with Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering in Washington, D.C.

"Mr. Bellinger received an A.B. from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, an M.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School." [2]

"Legality" of the war in Iraq

According to the British Mail on Sunday, in 2003 Bellinger played a key role in persuading a wavering Lord Peter Goldsmith, British Attorney General, of the 'legality' of the Iraq war:

"On February 11, 2003, as war approached, and with Mr Blair close to panic over the legal fiasco, Goldsmith flew to the White House to meet US National Security Council legal chief, John Bellinger. His message was clear: the US had no legal worries because Congress had already given Mr Bush the power to rule the war legal. In addition it believed there was no need for a second UN resolution. Mr Bellinger later boasted: 'We had a problem with your Attorney General who was telling us it was legally doubtful under international law. We straightened him out.'" [3]

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