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Clark Clifford
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Attorney
    (December 25, 1906-October 10, 1998)
    Born in Fort Scott, Kansas
    Lawyer, lobbyist, and Washington insider
    Advisor to Presidents Harry S Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter
    Official positions included White House Counsel (1946-50), Chair of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board (1963-68), and Secretary of Defense (1968-69)
    Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1969)
    His wife said, 'He's a true workaholic, one of the worst I've ever seen.'
    He simultaneously advised John F. Kennedy and one of his opponents for the 1960 Presidential nomination, Senator Stuart Symington.
    He privately advised Lyndon B. Johnson against escalating the War in Vietnam, but publicly supported the President when he sent additional US troops into battle.
    He called Ronald Regan 'an amiable dunce.'
    He was chair of First American Bankshare (1982-91), which was secretly -- and illegally -- controlled by a foreign bank, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).
    BCCI used First American to launder Manuel Noriega's drug money.
    He made $6 million by using an unsecured loan from BCCI to buy stock in First American, then selling the stock at triple the purchase price to the man who had arranged for the BCCI loan.
    After claiming to have no knowledge of illegal activities at First American, he summed up his situation when he told a reporter, 'I have a choice of seeming stupid or venal.'
    He was indicted on charges of fraud, conspiracy, and accepting bribes, but was never brought to trial because of poor health.
    He graduated high school at age fifteen.
    He was an officer in the US Navy during World War II.
    He was one of the key architects of Harry Truman's re-election campaign and upset victory over Thomas Dewey.
    He was married to Margery Kimball for 56 years.
    He was an impeccable dresser.
    LBJ's Press Secretary, George Reedy, said, 'He radiates prudence, more than anyone else I have ever met in Washington.'

Credit: C. Fishel


 
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