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Rumsfeld's 'chief henchman' to step down

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Mike Sheehan
Published: Friday December 1, 2006

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Stephen A. Cambone, Under Secretary of Defense and a close associate of outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is resigning effective December 31, according to a Department of Defense press release. Cambone's departure was not unexpected in the wake of Rumsfeld's resignation.

Cambone has served since 2003 as Rumsfeld's intel chief at the Pentagon and is described by various sources as Rumsfeld's "chief henchman" and "enforcer." Cambone first achieved notoriety during Senate hearings involving Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, when he disagreed with Taguba's assertion that military intelligence was behind the actions of prison guards at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Additionally, as Lolita C. Baldor writes in an Associated Press article, Pentagon intelligence during Cambone's administration had been sharply criticized over the revelation a year ago that "a Pentagon database of suspicious activities contained the names of anti-war groups that had been found not to be security risks."

According to the Defense Department press release, Cambone said, "It has been a distinct honor and privilege to serve the incredible men and women of our Armed Forces, the secretary of defense, and the President's national security team during the past several years." He added that he was "looking forward to spending more time with family."