- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 26, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s top policy adviser said yesterday that he has told Mr. Rumsfeld that he will leave his Pentagon position this summer.

Douglas J. Feith, the undersecretary of defense for policy and a driving force behind the Bush administration’s strategy for fighting the global war on terror, said he wanted to devote more time to his family. He has four children.

“I informed the secretary that I plan to leave in the summer,” he said.

He offered no specific resignation date and stressed he was leaving on his own terms.

Mr. Feith would be the highest-ranked Pentagon official to leave the administration. The No. 2 official, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, said recently that he plans to stay on.

Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters on Capitol Hill that he had wanted Mr. Feith to stay longer and is sorry to lose him.

“I’m hopeful he will stay until we are able to find an appropriate successor,” Mr. Rumsfeld said. In a brief written statement issued later, the secretary called Mr. Feith creative, well-organized and energetic.

“He has earned the respect of civilian and military leaders across the government,” the Pentagon chief wrote.

Mr. Feith, 51, began working with Mr. Rumsfeld in March 2001 and was confirmed by the Senate four months later. As Mr. Rumsfeld’s top policy adviser he manages an organization of about 1,500 people and represents the Pentagon in interagency forums at which national security policy is made.

In his four years at the Pentagon, Mr. Feith oversaw the Office of Special Plans, which critics said fed policy-makers uncorroborated prewar intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, especially on possible ties with the al Qaeda terror network.

Army Gen. Tommy Franks, the retired chief of U.S. Central Command, raised eyebrows in Washington when he took a shot at Mr. Feith in his autobiography, “American Soldier.”

Gen. Franks, who wrote the war plans for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, wrote that Mr. Feith was “getting a reputation around here as the dumbest … guy on the planet.”

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