James Richard Blankenship (born 1949) previously served as the United States Ambassador to the Bahamas. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and was appointed by President George W. Bush in the Spring of 2001.
Before becoming Ambassador Richard Blankenship was a partner in the Capital Policy Group, an investment banking firm whose home office was in Jacksonville, Florida, and a close friend of Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida and brother of President of George W. Bush. He is currently the managing Director of Global Policy Advisers, an international business consulting group. He also served as President and CFO of St. John's Capital, a regional firm with offices in the south-east. He was educated at Florida State University and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Blankenship writes a syndicated column for newspapers in the Caribbean and his writings on reorganization of government can frequently be found on conservative web sites.
He was often seen cruising the streets of Nassau in his State Department vehicle, with flags flying as an indication the safety of U.S. citizens was paramount and to those who participated in the illicit smuggling of narcotics, America was again active and effective in prosecuting those individuals. While serving in the Bahamas, Blankenship became best known for his emphasis on drug interdiction. Under his leadership, a record amounts of cocaine were seized and more drug smugglers extradited to the United States than in the entire relationship between the Bahamas and United States. Notable in his efforts was the added use of electronic intelligence gathering and small guerrilla actions against the cartels, which the US Coast Guard in joint efforts with the DEA had been practicing for some time ineffectively. Blankenship could often be found in the producing countries of South America coordinating operations, in the jungles or on isolated islands with law enforcement authorities. He was referred to as the "no nonsense diplomat" by the Nassau Tribune after exposing a ten-year cover-up of a Royal Bahamian Defense Force theft of cocaine used in an undercover operation. Some Mexican Government officials believe the smuggling routes thru Mexico were established because of the increased emphasis Blankenship brought to interdiction efforts in the Caribbean.
It is thought Global Policy Advisers is currently involved with interdiction efforts of governments in the Caribbean and South America. It is known Global Policy Advisers has clients in Mexico and is conducting intelligence gathering, according to Mexican Police Authorities. Blankenship, located in Mexico City, would neither confirm or deny any information about Global Policy Advisers' clients. Ambassador Blankenship is also listed as the Managing Director of The Policy Advisers, a partnership providing foreign policy advice to U.S. clients. Recently he became Chairman of the Board of Bio-Renewable Fuels Inc, a company who mission it is to grow renewable biomass fuels (eucalyptus trees) for use by electrical producers both in the United State and abroad