Jeffrey LewisFrom One Success to Another

From the genius who brought you the Bush Administration’s stem cell policy … comes our North Korea policy:

The architect of [the Bush Administration’s policy on stem cell research], navigating ethically and politically treacherous terrain, was a litigator named Jay P. Lefkowitz who was working as general counsel in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. Eight months later, Bush would promote Lefkowitz to deputy assistant to the president overseeing domestic policy. Many White House watchers expected that the cerebral neoconservative, whose judgment the president so clearly trusted, would rise further still.

Instead, Lefkowitz decamped from the White House—and Washington—in 2003.


Lefkowitz still has a part-time role in government—and the president’s ear. He said he was in Jerusalem during Passover in the spring of 2004 when his cellphone rang. It was Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, asking whether he would be interested in becoming the president’s special envoy on human rights in North Korea.

Devoting about one-fifth of his prodigious working hours to the task, he reports to Rice but has, he said, met with Bush “several times.”

I can just hear poor Chris Hill screaming.


  1. J (History)

    To be fair, Lefkowitz has been hermetically sealed off from the DPRK nuclear portfolio, and has focused exclusively on the North Korean human rights issue. Thankfully, despite some of our fears when he was first appointed, he has not made any “Boltonesque” speeches inciting the North Koreans at inopportune times.

  2. Haninah

    Heckuvajob, Lefky!