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Lee Herbert Hamilton (born April 20, 1931), the vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, currently serves on the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council, having previously served in the United States House of Representatives for thirty-four years.


Born in Daytona Beach, Floridamarker, Lee Hamilton graduated from DePauw Universitymarker in 1952, where he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, and from the Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington in 1956. He worked as a lawyer in private practice for the next ten years.

Hamilton was elected to the House of Representatives as a Democrat as part of the national Democratic landslide of 1964. He chaired many committees during his tenure in office, including the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Joint Committee on Printing, and others. As chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, Hamilton chose not to investigate President Ronald Reagan or President George H. W. Bush, stating that he did not think it would be "good for the country" to put the public through another impeachment trial. He was one of the top choices to be running mate of Michael Dukakis in 1988 and Bill Clinton. It was speculated that Hamilton's chances were blocked by feminist organizations like National Organization for Women who didn't find Hamilton sufficiently pro-choice on abortion. He remained in Congress until 1999; at the time he was one of two surviving members of the large Democratic freshman class of 1965 (the other being John Conyers).

On March 15, 2006, Congress announced the formation of the Iraq Study Group, organized by the United States Institute of Peace, of which Hamilton is the Democratic co-chairman, along with the former Secretary of State (under President George H.W. Bush) James A. Baker III. Hamilton, like Baker, is considered a master negotiator.

Since leaving Congress, Mr. Hamilton has served as a member of the Hart-Rudman Commission, and was co-chairman of the Commission to Investigate Certain Security Issues at Los Alamos. He sits on many advisory boards, including those to the CIA, the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council, and the United States Army. Hamilton is an Advisory Board member and Co-Chair for the Partnership for a Secure America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recreating the bipartisan center in American national security and foreign policy. He is currently the president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholarsmarker, and was appointed to serve as the vice chair of the 9/11 Commission.

A nine-mile stretch of I-265 and Indiana 265 in Floydmarker and Clark countiesmarker, part of Hamilton's former House district, was designated the "Lee H. Hamilton Highway" shortly after his retirement from the House in 1999. The moniker is largely symbolic, as locals generally do not refer to the road by that name, although the name is used frequently by the traffic reporter for the area's largest radio station, WHAS 840-AM in nearby Louisville, Kentuckymarker.

Hamilton endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential Election. [62744]


  • A Creative Tension: The Foreign Policy Roles of the President and the Congress, with Jordan Tama, Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Centermarker Press, 2003


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