Oct. 21, 2020
Exercise of Power
I first met Secretary Gates in the summer of 2006, when he was President of Texas A&M and had been invited to the Pentagon to meet with my boss, Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld. I was a newly selected 3-star Vice Admiral, and knew all about him, of course, as a career CIA officer who went on to lead the Agency before retiring and heading into academe, first as Dean of the Bush School and then as President at Texas A&M. When he came into my small office outside the vast Secretary of Defense office, I started to usher him in immediately, but he spent several minutes asking me about myself, how long I had been with Secretary Rumsfeld, where I had been before my current job. It was friendly and engaging conversation, but you could feel that spymaster’s gaze sizing you up and filing the conversation away. I thought to myself, I would like to work for him someday—never considering it would happen. I sure wasn’t going to get out of the Navy and move to Texas.