Richard N. Perle

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Richard Perle

Long-time Washington cold warrior Richard Norman Perle is a man of many hats: Pentagon policy adviser (resigned February 2004), former Likud policy adviser, media manager, international investor, op-ed writer, talk show guest, think tank expert, and ardent supporter of the war in Iraq.

Known in Washington circles as "The Prince of Darkness," Perle is associated with the American Enterprise Institute and the Project for the New American Century, both of which have been prominent behind-the-scenes architects of the Bush administration's foreign policy, in particular its push for war with Iraq.

He is closely allied with former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Dundes Wolfowitz, another Iraq hawk. Perle is also a vocal supporter of Israel and a critic of Saudi Arabia. Perle is on the Advisory Board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and is a former chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a Defense Department advisory group composed primarily of former government officials, retired military officers, and academics.


Perle was born 16 September 1941 in New York City, attended the University of Southern California, earning a B.A. in English in 1964. As an undergraduate he studied in Copenhagen at Denmark's International Study Program. He also studied at the London School of Economics and obtained a M.A. in political science from Princeton University in 1967. He is married to Leslie Joan Barr. He owns a vacation home in Les Baux (Provence, France) and is there neighbor to Brian Lapping and previously to Jeane Kirkpatrick.

A biographical note stated that Perle had served as Resident Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research since 1987 "where he had directed its commission on Future Defenses". [1]

Perle was a member of the Defense Policy Board between 1987 and 2004 and was Chairman of it between 2001-2003. He was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy in the Reagan Administrations between 1981 and 1987. Before that he had served on the US Senate Staff (1960-1980).

He did his Honours Examinations at the London School of Economics between 1962 and 63, gained a Bachelor of Arts in International Politics at the University of Southern California in 1964 and completed a M.A Politics at Princeton University in 1967. [2]

He has been a director of a number of companies including Conrad Black's Hollinger [3] and Tapestry Pharmaceuticals. [4]

Perle's Role in Hollinger

Perle had close business ties with Conrad Black, former chairman of Hollinger International Inc., which at one time owned more than 400 daily and weekly newspapers in Canada, the United States, Britain, Israel and Australia. Hollinger papers included London's Daily Telegraph, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Jerusalem Post. Black, a Canadian, joined fellow media kingpin Rupert Murdoch in defending British Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision to stick with Bush's war aims, despite overwhelming domestic opposition.

Perle was a Director of Hollinger from June 1994. A biogrpahical note on the company's website at the time stated that Perle was Co-Chairman of Hollinger Digital Inc., the media management and investment arm of Hollinger [5][11]. It also mentioned that Perle was "a Director of Jerusalem Post", another subsidiary of the company, and that he had served as a director of GeoBiotics. [6]

Perle and Black are now (2004) estranged and have accused each other of wrongdoing in the looting of Hollinger assets. The Breeden Report, which cataloged the accusations against Black by the now-independent Hollinger directors, singled out Perle, among all of the corporate directors, for criticism: "As a faithless fiduciary, Perle should be required to disgorge all compensation received from the company". [12]. In October 2004, Hollinger amended its lawsuit against Black to include Perle as a defendant, asking for $22.9 million, including the $5.4 million of his compensation. [7].

Despite his familiarity with the media, Perle found a piece by veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh a little hard to take. Hersh's New Yorker report, "A Hawk's Business," targets Perle's hush-hush meeting with Saudi industrialist Saleh al-Zuhair, a meeting arranged with the help of Iran/contra figure Adnan Khashoggi. Hersh explored the possibility of a conflict of interest for Perle, one of whose businesses is Trireme Partners LP, a venture capital firm that invests in technology, goods, and services related to homeland security and defense. Trireme also created International Advisors Inc., a lobbying firm whose main client is Turkey. Henry Kissinger is a Trireme adviser, and Perle is a managing partner. [13] Kissinger, who was forced to resign as head of the independent commission to investigate the 9/11 attacks, has been using his influence to try to keep the Saudis calm during the buildup to war. The subject of the al-Zuhair meeting is in dispute, but Perle is fighting off the impression that he was trying to use his Pentagon influence to profit from a war that he is doing all he can to implement. Hersh criticized Perle's relationship with Trireme as an ethical conflict of interest, to which Perle responded by calling Hersh "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist." [8]

Bush has recently taken to accepting Perle's view that the United Nations is pretty much irrelevant when it comes to Iraq. [9]

Perle is also associated with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, which backs Bush's Iraq war push. Others with the foundation are columnist Charles Krauthammer,the Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, and Georgia senator Zell Miller. Perle, who produced the 1992 PBS documentary, "The Gulf Crisis, the Road to War," has long experience in the ways of Washington.

The wide-ranging Perle even finds himself involved in Total Information Awareness technology. He was listed as a speaker at a March 13 Washington press briefing on 'data mining,' the use of computer technology to sift out patterns from electronic communications. A fellow Pentagon official, Admiral John M. Poindexter of Iran-Contra notoriety, spurred a political firestorm with his TIA plans. Congress forbade such technology to be used against Americans. The briefing, which also billed Sen. Ron Wyden, was promoted as informational only. However, concerned scientists have charged that data mining pays off in miniscule results in contrast to widespread privacy violation.[14]

Mr. Perle has received some heat due to a possible conflict of interest with serving on the Defense Policy Board and being hired as an advisor for Global Crossing, "Even as he advises the Pentagon on war matters, Richard N. Perle, chairman of the influential Defense Policy Board, has been retained by the telecommunications company Global Crossing to help overcome Defense Department resistance to its proposed sale to a foreign firm, Mr. Perle and lawyers involved in the case said today." Mr. Perle's fee is $750,000, but he will receive an additional $600,000 if the sale is approved. [15] Concerned over conflict of interest, senior Democrats sought an inquiry into the matter by the Pentagon inspector general. [16]

Perle maintained that he had not violated any ethics rules, but decided to resign his position as chairman of the Defense Policy Board on March 26, 2003, [17]. In an effort to save face, he wrote in his resignation letter that he would refuse any compensation with his deal with Global Crossing and "any fee for past service would be donated to the families of American forces killed or injured in Iraq." There was also a report that "The communications company, Global Crossing, also announced that Mr. Perle had decided to sever his ties with it."[18] [19]

The Global Crossing affair started a more critical look into Perle's business affairs. On March 29, 2003, The New York Times reported that Perle was involved with Loral Space and Communications in 2001 as an advisor while it faced accusations that it transfered rocket technology to China. [20] It is worth noting that the Global Crossing affair was also due to Global Crossing trying to overcome Defense Department opposition to be sold to a venture with ties to China.

In February 2004, Perle resigned entirely from the Defense Policy Board. [21] The full text of Perle's resignation letter may be found at the website for the public relations firm Benador Associates. [22]

It was reported May 25, 2004, by CNN that Tom Clancy, the brand name author with many admirers in the military criticized the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, citing it as proof that "good men make mistakes."

That same writer said he almost "came to blows" with a leading war supporter, former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle.

The hawkish master of such million-selling thrillers as "Patriot Games" and "The Hunt for Red October" now finds himself adding to the criticism of the Iraq war, and not only through his own comments.

His latest book, Battle Ready (2004 book) is a collaboration with another war critic, retired Marine Gen. Anthony C. Zinni. "Battle Ready" looks at Zinni's long military career, dating back to the Vietnam War, and includes harsh remarks by Zinni about the current conflict.

In a press conference held on March 25, to promote the book, both Clancy and Zinni singled out the Department of Defense for criticism. Clancy recalled a prewar encounter in Washington during which he "almost came to blows" with Richard Perle, a Pentagon adviser at the time and a longtime advocate of the invasion.

"He was saying how (Secretary of State) Colin L. Powell was being a wuss because he was overly concerned with the lives of the troops," Clancy said. "And I said, 'Look ..., he's supposed to think that way!' And Perle didn't agree with me on that. People like that worry me."

One unusual (but in-character for him) habit of Perle's is his demands for payment for press inteviews [23].

Critical description

"The baby-faced Richard Perle, who chairs the Defense Policy Board, waited out the Vietnam War at the University of Chicago. He then joined pro-Vietnam War Senator henry Scoop Jackson's staff and made his reputation as one of the youngest of the defense intellectuals. Like Jackson, Perle made pro-Israeli poliy an axiom of his discourse. Perle has become well-known for his aggressive mouth on TV talk shows, contradicting the flaccidity of his physical demeanor." page 131, Saul Landau. 2003. The Preemptive Empire: A Guide to Bush's Kingdom. London: Pluto Press. ISBN 0745321402.

Organizational affiliations


"Richard Perle, foreign policy adviser: 'The first time I met Bush 43 … two things became clear. One, he didn't know very much. The other was that he had the confidence to ask questions that revealed he didn't know very much.'"[11]


Books By Perele

  • Richard Perle, Hard Line, Random House, June 16, 1993. ISBN-10: 051710590X ISBN-13: 978-0517105900 (This is a novel).
  • Robert Kagan, William Kristol (editors) Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy, March 1, 2000. Paperback ISBN: 1893554163 Hardcover ISBN: 1893554139 (This includes essays by Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, William Bennett, James Caesar, Donald Kagan, Ross H. Munro, Peter W. Rodman, Paul Wolfowitz).
  • David Frum and Richard Perle, An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror, Ballantine Books, October 2004. ISBN-10: 0345477170 ISBN-13: 978-0345477170

Books About Perle & His Views

  • Alan Weisman, Prince of Darkness: Richard Perle: The Kingdom, The Power, and the End of Empire in America, November 2007. ISBN-10: 140275230X ISBN-13: 978-1402752308
  • Grant Smith, Neocon Middle East Policy : The 'Clean Break' Plan Damage Assessment, Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, May 2005. ISBN 0976443732

Resources and articles


External articles








  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  4. [4]
  5. [5]
  6. [6]
  7. [7]
  8. [8]
  9. [9]
  10. Laura Rozen, Among Libya's lobbyists, Politico, 21 February 2011.
  11. [10]