Stephen Reader covers politics for It's a Free Country, WNYC's interactive politics site. He joined the station in 2010 and has also worked for Studio 360, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning show about art, culture, and creativity.
Ten years after the towers fell, where are the leaders and policymakers who shaped our response to the tragedy?
The former president has kept a relatively low profile since leaving office and has shied away from politics, though he tours as a public speaker and released his memoir Decision Points last fall. President Bush also got involved in humanitarian efforts after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, joining with former President Bill Clinton to form the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. For the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Bush appeared in a special on the National Geographic Channel.
Most recently, Cheney's been making the talk show rounds promoting his controversial new memoir In My Time and suggesting that Hillary Clinton run for the Democratic nomination in 2012. Unlike his former boss, Cheney has remained very much in the public eye, criticizing the Obama administration's policies, both domestic and foreign, as well as his former colleagues.
Colin Powell has walked furthest from the Bush administration since the two parted ways in 2005. He was critical of U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, of the administration's interrogation and detainee policy, and of its response to Hurricane Katrina, among other things. He even endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008. Powell has also been a motivational speaker, teaming up with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for speaking engagements. He now serves on the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations
Though she would eventually replace Colin Powell as Secretary of State, Rice was the U.S. National Security Adviser in 2001. Almost immediately after leaving office in 2009 she returned to Stanford University, where she had been provost before joining the Bush Administration. She is now a faculty member of the university's Graduate School of Business.
Upon returning to private life in 2005, John Ashcroft wasted little time starting his consulting firm The Ashcroft Group, LLC, which helps private companies secure government homeland security contracts with the Justice Department. Yes, the man who led the Justice Department and was a staunch proponent of the PATRIOT Act now makes money by helping companies (like ChoicePoint, which "gathers public records and sells access to them") profit off of the homeland security apparatus he had a hand in constructing. Fascinating.
Rumsfeld released his memoir Known and Unknown early in 2011, and has since launched a companion website called The Rumsfeld Papers providing supplementary documents that were cited in the book. He's been a Visiting Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, but has also traded barbs with former colleague fellow Stanford employee Condoleezza Rice over her tenure in the Bush administration.
America's Mayor made an unsuccessful run for the White House in 2008, but has otherwise worked in consulting and law since leaving office. He's also flirted with the idea of running for Governor of New York, or running for New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's seat; he eventually decided not to run for either, citing his full private sector schedule. A 2012 campaign for president has yet to be ruled out by Giuliani, but he says he'll make a decision after the 9/11 anniversary.