We Need Your Support!
The primaries have unleashed a tsunami of CEO cash for front groups and PACs.
Help expose the shadowy forces distorting the news and corrupting our democracy.
--The Center for Media and Democracy
(PRWatch, SourceWatch, BanksterUSA, & ALECexposed)
Fight back by funding our independent investigative reporting today. Click here.

Elliott Abrams

From SourceWatch

(Redirected from Eliot Abrams)
Jump to: navigation, search

Elliott Abrams works at the Council on Foreign Relations, as a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies.[1] He is also best known for his hardline zionist advocacy, and he lists among the early neocons. In March 1980, Abrams married Rachel Decter, daughter of conservative pundits Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter.

He previously served as Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush and Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy.[2] In the Bush Administration, Abrams assisted Stephen J. Hadley "in work on the promotion of democracy and human rights, and will provide oversight" to the National Security Council's directorate of Democracy, Human Rights, and International Organization Affairs and its directorate of Near East and North African Affairs. Abrams will work with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Hadley, and "will maintain his involvement in Israeli/Palestinian affairs," the White House said.[2]

"Abrams has served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs since December 2002. Prior to holding that position, he was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Democracy, Human Rights and International Operations."[2]

Abrams was first appointed to serve as a deputy national security advisor to President George W. Bush and the National Security Council. He also served as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American affairs in the Reagan administration as Assistant Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan.




Abrams, considered to be a "neo-con", was a signatory of the January 26, 1998, Project for the New American Century sent to President William Jefferson Clinton.[3]

Iran-Contra Scandal

Abrams was heavily involved in the Iran-Contra scandal. In 1991, Abrams was indicted by the Iran-Contra special prosecutor for giving false testimony before Congress in 1987 about his role in illicitly raising money for the Nicaraguan Contras. He pleaded guilty to two lesser offenses of withholding information to Congress in order to avoid a trial and a possible jail term.[4]

He was pardoned by President George H.W. Bush along with a number of other Iran-Contra defendants on Christmas night 1992.[5]


  • Elliott Abrams was appointed Dec. 3, 2002, as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs, including Arab/Israel relations and U.S. efforts to promote peace and security in the region.[6]
  • Mr. Abrams began his service in the U.S. Government in the 1970s as Assistant Counsel to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, as Special Counsel to Senator Henry Jackson, and as Special Counsel and then Chief of Staff to Senator Daniel P. Moynihan. During the Ronald Reagan Administration, Mr. Abrams served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, and then as Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.[7]
  • "Before assuming his post at the State Department, he was an attorney with the law firm of Verner, Lipfert, Bernhard and McPherson of Washington, DC, in 1979 - 1981. He was special counsel to Senator Daniel Moynihan (D - NY) in 1977 - 1979. In 1973 - 1975 he was an attorney with the firm of Breed, Abbott and Morgan of Boston, MA."[8]
  • Elliott Abrams received his bachelor's degree from Harvard (1969), earned a master's in International Relations from the London School of Economics, and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School (1973).[9]


Government Service

  • National Security Council: Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs, 2002-present ; Senior Director for Democracy, Human Rights, and International Operations, 2001-2002[10]
  • U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom: Chairman, 2000-2001; Commissioner, 1999-2001[10]
  • State Department: Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, 1985-1989; Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, 1981-1985; Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, 1981[10]
  • U.S. Senate: Chief of Staff for Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan, Special Counsel, 1977-1979; Office of Sen. Henry M. Jackson, Staffer/Special Counsel, 1975-1976[10]
  • Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations: Assistant Counsel, 1975[10]

Private Sector

  • Verner, Lipfert, Bernhard, & McPherson: Associate, 1979-1981[10]
  • Breed, Abbott, & Morgan: Attorney, 1973-1975[10]


  • Harvard University: B.A., 1969[10]
  • London School of Economics: M.Sc., 1970[10]
  • Harvard Law School: J.D., 1973[10]

Published Works

  • Democracy How Direct?: Views from the Founding Era and the Polling Era 2002 ISBN 0742523187
  • The Influence of Faith 2001 ISBN 0742507629
  • International Religious Freedom (2001): Annual Report: Submitted by the U.S. Department of State editor 2001 ISBN 0756713382
  • Secularism, Spirituality, and the Future of American Jewry 1999 ISBN 0896331903
  • Close Calls: Intervention, Terrorism, Missile Defense, and 'Just War' Today 1998 ISBN 0896331873
  • Undue Process A Story of How Political Differences are Turned into Crimes 1998 ISBN 0029001676
  • Honor Among Nations: Intangible Interests and Foreign Policy 1998 ISBN 0896331881
  • Faith or Fear: How Jews Can Survive in a Christian America 1997 ISBN 0684825112
  • Security and Sacrifice: Isolation, Intervention, and American Foreign Policy 1995 ISBN 1558130497
  • Shield and Sword 1995 ISBN 002900165X

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 President George W. Bush, "Personnel Announcement", Media Release, February 2, 2005.
  3. Elliott Abrams et al, Letter to The Honorable William J. Clinton, Project for the New American Century, January 26, 1998.
  4. Lawrence E. Walsh, United States v. Elliott Abrams, Chapter 25 from Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Affairs, August 4, 1993.
  5. Robert Parry, "Rehnquist's Legacy: A Partisan Court", Consortium News, September 7, 2005.
  6. George W. Bush, "Zalmay Khalilzad, Elliot Abrahms named to new positions", Media Release, December 3, 2002.
  7. Condoleezza Rice, "Statement by the Press Secretary", Media Release, June 28, 2001.
  8. "Appointment of 17 Members of the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, and Designation of the Chairman", Media Release, June 25, 1985.
  9. George W. Bush, "Personnel Announcement", Media Release, February 2, 2005.
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 10.13 10.14 10.15 10.16 10.17 10.18 10.19 10.20 10.21 10.22 10.23 10.24 10.25 10.26 10.27 "Profile: Elliott Abrams", RightWeb, December 22, 2008.
  11. 2000 Annual Report, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, accessed September 20, 2007.

External articles

  • Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams Schema-Root.org cross-referenced newsfeed.
  • Appointments & Nominations, June 25, 1985, Ronald Reagan Archives, University of Texas.
  • David Corn, "Elliott Abrams: It's Back!", The Nation, June 14, 2001.
  • Jim Lobe, "Bush's trusty new Mideast point man," Asia Times, December 19, 2002: "Yet another Likudnik is moving to a position where they control Washington's agenda on the Mideast," said Rashid Khalidi, a Mideast historian at the University of Chicago. "This is a tragedy for the Israeli and American people." Supporters of Likud were naturally more enthusiastic. "I believe Abrams understands that this is a not a war over borders, but over Israel's existence, something that almost no one in the State Department acknowledges," Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, told the Jewish weekly Forward last week.
  • Richard H. Curtiss, Elliott Abrams, Militant Zionist, Chosen for NSC Post (Side Bar), Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January/February 2003.
  • Jim Lobe, "Israel's Likud Scores Big With White House Appointment," Inter Press Service (RadioIslam.org), January 4, 2003.
  • Richard Sale, "Staff change means Mideast policy shift," UPI (Washington Times) (RadioIslam.org), February 25, 2003.
  • Michael Dobbs, "Back in Political Forefront", The Washington Post (truthout), May 27, 2003.
  • Robert Parry, "Bush Taps Iran-Contra Figure Elliot Abrams to Promote Democracy" (transcript link to audio), Democracy Now!, February 4, 2005.
  • Tom Barry, "Elliott Abrams: the Neocon's Neocon", CounterPunch, February 9, 2005.
  • Michael Hirsh and Dan Ephron, "The Last Man Standing. With the neocons in disarray, Elliott Abrams may be their best hope for keeping President Bush onboard," Newsweek (MSNBC), December 4, 2006 (issue).
  • William M. Leogrande and Jim Lobe, "Wright Redux. The flap over Nancy Pelosi's Syria trip echoes a 20-year-old fight with a previous Democratic House Speaker -- and is being driven by the same right-wing Republican hawks," The American Prospect, April 9, 2007. re Nancy Pelosi, Dick Cheney, and Newt Gingrich
  • "The Architects of War: Where Are They Now?" Think Progress, July 2007.
  • Ran HaCohen, Was Elliott Abrams Hitler’s Senior Advisor?, Antiwar.com, 16 September 2011.
Personal tools

Be a SourceWatcher!

Enter your e-mail address to get the Center for Media and Democracy's free weekly e-newsletter.