James L. Pavitt (born February 19, 1946) was Deputy Director for Operations (DDO) for the CIA from 1999 until June 4, 2004. His sudden resignation – as well as that of his chief, DCI George Tenet the previous day – led to speculation that it was over the controversy surrounding Iraq weapons of mass destruction or 9-11 intelligence issues.[citation needed]

Background[edit | edit source]

Pavitt was born in St. Louis, Missouri and graduated from the University of Missouri (B.A., 1968) in Columbia, Missouri as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation, he was a National Defense Education Act fellow at Clark University (1969). He is currently a Principal of The Scowcroft Group, an international business advisory firm, and is on the board of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO).[1]

He is married with two children and resides in McLean, Virginia.

Intelligence career[edit | edit source]

Pavitt served in the United States Army from 1969-1971 as an intelligence officer and was a legislative assistant with the House of Representatives from 1971 until 1973.

Pavitt joined the CIA in 1973 as a Career Trainee with postings to Europe, Asia and Washington.[citation needed] He was later appointed Chief of the CIA’s Counterproliferation Division. He was Deputy Director of Operations from 1999 until his resignation in 2004.[2]

In April 2004 he appeared before the 9/11 Commission.[2] The BBC called his 9/11 commission appearance 'unprecedented'.[2] The commission's report said that shortly after Bush's election, Pavitt told the President-elect that Osama bin Laden was one of the gravest threats to the country. He also added that killing the Al Qaeda leader would have an effect but not stop the threat posed by the terrorist organization.[3]

When Bush put Porter Goss in charge of the agency, Pavitt reportedly opposed the internal reorganizations announced by Goss, on the ground that they might "do damage to a strategic effort that has produced excellent work on terrorism and a variety of other important issues."[4] On June 4, 2004, he unexpectedly announced his retirement one day after George Tenet. The CIA says Mr. Pavitt's decision was unconnected with Mr. Tenet's departure.[citation needed] Pavitt was succeeded by his deputy, Stephen Kappes.

External links[edit | edit source]

Speeches[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Government offices
Preceded by
Jack G. Downing
CIA Deputy Director for Operations
August 1999 – June 4, 2004
Succeeded by
Stephen Kappes
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