Background Briefing - Sunday September 5, 2010

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Colonel Lawence Wilkerson was Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff at the Department of State from August 2002 to January 2005. He began working with Powell as his Deputy Executive Officer starting in 1989, Upon Powell's retirement from active service in 1993, Colonel Wilkerson served as the Deputy Director and Director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Virginia. Wilkerson rejoined Powell’s staff as a civilian in the State Department. In October of 2005, Colonel Wilkerson, after considerable soul searching, went public with his knowledge that Vice President Cheney had provided the "guidance" that led to America's torture disgrace in Guantanamo, Abu Ghriab and elsewhere. He currently teaches courses at the College of William & Mary and George Washington University.

Dr. Paul Pillar is the Director of Graduate Studies at the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University. He retired in 2005 from a 28-year career in the U.S. intelligence community, in which his last position was National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia. He is the author of the books Terrorism and US Foreign Policy and Negotiating Peace: War Termination as a Bargaining Process. He will be part of the New America Foundation’s “Team B” Group that will be taking part in a forum called, “A New Way Forward?: Rethinking US Strategy in Afghanistan.”

Dr. Lawrence Mishel is an economist, author and analyst who is president of the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan economic research institution in Washington, D.C., that focuses primarily on economic trends that affect the lives and living standards of working people. He is principal author of a research volume published every two years that is widely considered the authoritative text on the American workforce, The State of Working America. His latest report is titled, “Recession Hits Workers’ Paychecks: Wage growth Has Collapsed.”