Sunday, September 16, 2007

David Addington: Another Eichmann?

David Addington
Found in The Next Hurrah:

The Banality of the Unitary Executive

Except relating to one thing. David Addington. By far the biggest surprise to me, in terms of personal impressions, is David Addington.

As I've been reminding at every opportunity, David Addington is Mr. Unitary Executive, the guy who has provided legal justification for many of Cheney's biggest power grabs: torture, extraordinary rendition, domestic spying, and so on.

I truly expected his interviews to be terribly hostile. I truly expected to see Addington bristle at every question. But that didn't happen.

To me, David Addington has all the mannerisms and look of a physics or computer science professor. He has the beard of a professor, [a Jesuit professor] the modest (at least looking) suit, and he's kind of big-shouldered.

I found his response to questions even more interesting. He simply answered them, with no hesitation. He was apt to offer up information rather than hold it back. He would wander on and on, explaining all the details surrounding something (I remember his description of various classifications, for example, as this long conversation, "and then ... and then ... and then"). He is so obviously steeped in this world and these regulations that he just holds forth on them, with almost no filter.

And there seemed to be no effort to protect Libby--or even Cheney. This became most clear when Fitzgerald started talking about the document on which Cheney mentioned Bush (then crossed it out). Fitzgerald's point was that OVP had stamped a classification that is not really a classification on these documents--Treated as Top Secret/SCI--that is, as Addington explained, not really a classification, "treated as." Pretty damning stuff, catching Cheney and Libby protecting their own deliberations by classifying the hell out of them, inventing new classifications.

And Addington just described this as he had everything else, wandering on in a seemingly endless mumble. He showed no hint of trying to hide this information, no hint of embarrassment that the guy who is, after all, still his boss was trying to pull a fast one to protect his own actions.

Not what I expected.
A response:

While you're doing a great job with the blogging, it's nice to have you back thinking. Your surprise at Addington's persona came through in your trial narrative. It made me think of a book I read a long time ago [name blowing in the wind]. It was about the long interrogation of Adolf Eichmann. His interrogator was determined to get at the root of his hatefilled antisemitism. Instead, what he found was an emotionally blunted obsessive compulsive who was worried about meeting production deadlines - without much registering that what he was producing was murdered human beings. In Eichmann's trial, his "sole defense was claiming that he had been a petty government functionary, merely following the orders of superiors." [Wikipedia] That's probably a tragic truth.

That's how Addington sounded to me - caught up in the precise details and legalese but emotionally isolated from the impact of his pronouncements on the country. He seemed to light up slightly when he went on and on about procedures, or definitions. I suspect he reads the Dictionary in the shade when he goes to the beach.

So I wasn't so taken with his Narcissism as some of the other commentors. I thought he was more the obsessive sidekick of that Megalomaniac he works for whose emotional range only goes from "none" to "contempt" and back again [you know, the one on Blitzer's Situation Room the other day]...

Posted by: mickey | January 31, 2007 at 19:38

Added: September 12, 2009:


Addington graduated from Sandia High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1974. He was admitted to United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and attended beginning in Fall 1974, but did not graduate. He is a graduate of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University (B.S.F.S., summa cum laude) and holds a J.D. (with honors) from Duke University School of Law.[7] He was admitted to the bar in 1981.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great minds think alike.