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James R. Schlesinger
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    (February 15, 1929-March 27, 2014)
    Born in New York City, New York
    Director of the CIA (1973)
    Secretary of Defense (1973-75)
    First Secretary of Energy (1977-79)
    Upon being appointed head of the CIA, he told staffers, 'I'm here to make sure you don't screw Richard Nixon.'
    He became so unpopular at CIA headquarters that a security camera was installed opposite his official portrait to keep it from being vandalized.
    As Defense Secretary, he was an outspoken advocate for increased military spending; four years earlier as Deputy Director of the Bureau of the Budget, he had played a key role in overcoming Pentagon opposition and cutting the defense budget by $6 billion.
    After the Three Mile Island accident, he said protestors against nuclear power were 'the same people who were for Ho Chi Minh.'
    One journalist wrote, 'Carter fired Schlesinger in 1979 in part for the same reason Gerald Ford had—he was unbearably arrogant and impatient with lesser minds who disagreed with him, and hence inept at dealing with Congress.'
    He later admitted, 'I tended to be too self-righteous, a quibbler, stubborn, too. It took me a while to understand how hard I must have been to deal with.'
    Much of the hostility towards him at the CIA stemmed from his efforts to shake up an institution he felt had ossified into a 'gentlemen's club.'
    After learning that the CIA had advised Nixon's 'Plumbers' on how to burglarize Daniel Ellsburg's offices, he ordered a review of illegal agency activities, which uncovered 700 violations of the CIA Charter.
    Near the end of the Watergate crisis, he told the Joint Chiefs of Staff to check with him or Secretary of State Henry Kissinger before complying with any orders from President Nixon concerning nuclear weapons.
    He oversaw the transition to an all-volunteer military after the Vietnam War.
    He was appointed to head an investigation into the security of the nuclear arsenal after incidents in which the Air Force mishandled nuclear weapons (2008).

Credit: C. Fishel

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