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David S. Adddington (1957- ) is an American lawyer, public servant and conservative policy scholar.

Addington was born in Washington, DC in 1957. His father was Brigadier General Jerry Adddington. Addington's childhood followed a typical military childhood pattern with many family moves and some time spent abroad.

During the Reagan Administration, Addington served in a wide variety of positions concluding at the White House. He was an assistant general counsel for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1981 to 1984.

From 1984 to 1987 Addington was counsel for the House committees on intelligence and foreign affairs. He served as a staff attorney on the joint U.S. House-Senate Committee investigation of the Iran-Contra affair as an assistant to Congressman Bill Broomfield (R-MI). Addington was also a special assistant and deputy assistant to President Ronald Reagan in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House, 1987-1988. His primary duties involved defense appropriations and lobbying for the efforts to maintain funding to the Nicaraguan resistance fighters (the "Contras")

Then Addington became heavily involved in both Bush Administrations. From 1989 to 1992, Addington served as special assistant to Richard "Dick" Cheney who was then Secretary of Defense. In 1992 President George H.W. Bush appointed Addington as the Department of Defense's General Counsel.

During the early years of the Clinton Administration, Addington returned to Congress and was the Republican staff director of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

In 1994-1995, Addington headed up a political action committee, the Allicance for American Leadership, set up to support Republican candidates for public office, with a principle focus on being a Presidential exploratory committee for Cheney, as the former Defense Secretary contemplated running for the 1996 Republican Presidential nomination.

From 1995 to 2001, Addington worked in private practice, for law firms Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowtiz and Holland & Knight and the American Trucking Association.

He also provided extensive assistance to Dick Cheney when the latter was chief executive of the Halliburton Corporation and was in charge of vetting potential Presidential running mates for Texas Governor George W. Bush. His long association with Cheney paid off when Cheney was surprisingly chosen as Bush's Vice President. After the election victory, Addington was appointed Counsel to the Vice President.

After he began working for Cheney, Addington was influential in numerous policy areas. He provided advice and drafted memoranda on many of the most controversial policies of the Bush Administration. Addington's influence strongly reflects his hawkish views on U.S. foreign policy, a position he has long held. As Vice Presidential counsel, Addington was known for his focus on the constitutional independence of the Vice President. He tried to protect the inner workings of the Office of the Vice President from investigations by the Government Accountability Organization (GAO) and private organizations.

In 2005, Addington was appointed the Chief of Staff for the Vice President after his previous Chief of Staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, resigned facing perjury and obstruction of justice charges.  As Chief of Staff, Addington supervised the Vice President's staff. This title also included "Assistant to the President," and as such, Addington provided advice on behalf of the Vice President to White House staff.

Over the course of eight years, Addington was reportedly involved in the more visible controversies of the Bush Administration. Press reports state Addington took a leading role in pressing for the use of torture (so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques"), the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) "torture memos" justifying and legalizing torture, and the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance on United States citizens' telecommunications. Addington has neither confirmed nor denied any of these reports.

Press reports state that Adddington consistently advocated the expansion of presidential powers and the "unitary executive theory," a nearly absolute deference to the executive branch from Congress and the judiciary. Addington stated in his sworn House Judiciary Committee testimony that he intends the term "unitary executive" to refer to the provision of the Constitution that vests all "executive power" in "a President" rather than in multiple officials or Congress.

Another controversy involved the oversight for declassification by the National Archives Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), Addington stating the Vice President was exempt from this oversight. He was pressed to provide depositions on this attitude, but the United States Court of Appeals District of Columbia overruled previous rulings and Addington did not have to testify on this position.

Addington, along with many other officials, was mentioned by title in Scooter Libby's indictment for five felony charges related to the Plame affair regarding the leak of the identity of a CIA officer, and he testified at the Libby trial.

A PBS Frontline documentary, "Cheney's Law" broadcast on October 16, 2007 detailed Addington's key role in Bush Administration policy making, and noted that he declined to be interviewed regarding his thoughts on the limits of executive privilege. On June 26, 2008, Addington testified under subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee along with former Justice Department attorney John Yoo in a contentious hearing on detainee treatment, interrogation methods and the extent of executive branch authority. This testimony was Addington's only public statement during his eight years as Cheney's Vice Presidential Counsel and Chief of Staff.

Human Rights Watch and The New York Times editorial board have called for investigation and prosecution of Addington for conspiracy to torture as well as other crimes.

In November 2006, the German government received a complaint seeking the prosecution of Addington and 15 other current and former U.S. government officials for alleged war crimes. The German Prosecutor General at the Federal Supreme Court declined to initiate proceedings on the complaint.

Since his time in the Bush Administration Addington has served as Senior Vice President and Deputy Chief Operating Officer at The Heritage Foundation, and as Senior VIce President, General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer at the National Federation of Independent Business.

Addington is married to Cynthia Mary Addington and they have three children


This collection consists of three series: SERIES I: Subject File, SERIES II: Chron File and SERIES III: Nicaragua File. 

Last Updated: 03/17/2022 10:38PM

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