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For foreign policy pointers, Rumsfeld pointed Perry to Bush-era neocons

The National Review reported last week that Gov. Rick Perry is reaching out to veterans of the George W. Bush White House for foreign policy tips, meeting with former under secretary of defense Douglas Feith and former special assistant to the president William Luti.

Feith, along with Paul Wolfowitz, headed the Office of Special Plans under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, tasked with digging up raw intelligence on Saddam Hussein before the war began — specifically ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

Today, Politico’s Ben Smith reports that Perry reached out to Rumsfeld himself for tips on foreign policy contacts:

Perry’s aides have been tight-lipped about the gathering, which National Review reported included former Rumsfeld aides Doug Feith, Daniel Fata, and William Luti, as well as the magazine’s Andrew McCarthy and others. But I’m told Rumsfeld helped steer Perry’s staff to the low-key advisory group, and his detainee adviser Cully Stimson was also invited, but couldn’t attend.

Stimson ran the Department of Defense’s detainee affairs office, overseeing prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan. Fata, at the Department of Defense under Rumsfeld and Robert Gates, focused on Europe and NATO.

Feith, now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, slammed many of his former colleagues on the Iraq war in his 2008 memoir.

Despite few other indicators as to how Perry would handle foreign policy, Adam Serwer at the American Prospect suggests, based on that lineup of visitors, “Perry would be the candidate most likely to inherit the former president’s foreign policy views.”

Till now, Perry’s foreign policy experience has centered on the Texas-Mexico border, where he’s criticized the Obama administration for its “grossly inadequate” defense, and dispatched Texas Department of Public Safety officers and helicopters for additional defense.

As the Texas Tribune reported in late June, Perry also staked out his turf in the Israel-Palestine debate, with a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, criticizing attempts to protest Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza.

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