Elliott Abrams (born January 24, 1948) is an American lawyer and policy analyst who served in foreign policy positions for two Republican U.S. Presidents, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. He is currently a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
During the Reagan administration, Abrams gained notoriety for his involvement controversial foreign policy decisions regarding Nicaragua and El Salvador. During Bush's first term, he served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director on the National Security Council for Near East and North African Affairs. At the start of Bush's second term, Abrams was promoted to be his Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democracy Strategy, in charge of promoting Bush's strategy of advancing democracy abroad. His appointment by Bush was controversial due to his conviction in 1991 on two misdemeanor counts of unlawfully withholding information from Congress during the Iran-Contra Affair investigation.
Abrams was born into a Jewish-American family in New York. His father was an immigration lawyer. He attended Harvard College in the late 1960s and was a roommate of Steven Kelman, founder of the Young People's Socialist League campus chapter. Together they penned an article on the 1969 Harvard strike for The New Leader, “The Contented Revolutionists.”. Abrams received his bachelor of arts from Harvard College in 1969, a master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics in 1970, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1973.