Wolfowitz Out?

'Architect' of Iraq War

At several points in the scandal, the Bush administration has insisted Wolfowitz stay on as bank president.

"Wolfowitz has acknowledged mistakes and apologized for them," White House spokesperson Tony Fratto told ABC News as recently as Tuesday morning. "We don't believe that actions warrant a change of leadership at the World Bank."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. have placed calls to their counterparts in Europe to defend Wolfowitz.

Vice President Dick Cheney also spoke highly of Wolfowitz this week in an interview on Fox News from Jordan, calling him "one of the most able public servants I've ever known."

Wolfowitz worked in former President George H.W. Bush's administration as undersecretary for defense policy from 1989 to 1993 under then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney.

He played a key role in reshaping U.S. military strategy after the end of the Cold War and reviewing strategy for the Gulf War in Iraq.

Dubbed the "architect" of the Iraq War, Wolfowitz was deputy secretary of defense from 2001 to 2005.

Responsible for Iraq War planning, he, along with a group of fellow neo-conservatives, advocated the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq following the Sept. 11 attacks.

World Bank Turmoil

The scandal has topped a long list of complaints within the World Bank about Wolfowitz's managerial style. Some of the institution's top managers have openly called for Wolfowitz to resign in recent weeks.

Highlighting the souring relationship between Wolfowitz and the World Bank board of directors, his top aide, Kevin Kellems, resigned on May 7.

Kellems moved with Wolfowitz from the Pentagon to the World Bank, serving as a senior adviser and director of external relations strategy at the bank.

Critics said Kellems and another top Wolfowitz aide, Robin Cleveland, were considered by bank staff to be more loyal to Bush administration policy than to the international development mission of the bank.

In a statement to the press, Kellems cited poor working conditions inside the bank for his departure.

"Given the current environment surrounding the leadership of the World Bank Group, it is very difficult to be effective in helping to advance the mission of the institution," Kellems' statement read.

Taking on the job in 2005, Wolfowitz vowed to rid developing countries receiving World Bank aid of government corruption by bypassing their administrations.

But when the scandal broke, critics said Wolfowitz's anti-corruption message was hypocritical and called for his resignation.

"The orchestrated leaks of false, misleading, incomplete and personal information about me and Ms. Riza are all part of a conscious campaign to undermine my effectiveness as president and derail important programs of the bank to aid the poor, especially in Africa," read a statement by Wolfowitz to the board of directors in April.

European Countries Push for Resignation

Before Wolfowitz's run as World Bank chief, a coalition of leading European countries were mounting a campaign to stop the practice of allowing the United States to select the World Bank president.

The U.S. government is given control over who serves as president to the World Bank because it gives the bank the most money for its financing.

However, European officials indicated to the Bush administration in early May that they would allow the United States to choose the bank's next chief if Wolfowitz would step down.

The selection of Wolfowitz in 2005 as president drew criticism from European officials; however, France and Germany went along, hoping to heal the rifts left from their opposition to the Iraq War.

However, in April, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, as European Union chief, called for Wolfowitz to resign, saying she needed to reflect the majority view of European countries.

Many of Wolfowitz's early critics were dismayed that an official so closely tied to the Iraq War would lead the world's anti-poverty institution.

ABC News' Kirit Radia contributed to this report.

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