Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Confirm John Bolton

Picture credit: http://defensa.com/
Excel web sharing - spreadsheet collaboration over the Internet made easy with BadBlueEver wondered what John Bolton did that so energized the Democrats in their opposition to his appointment? Frank Gaffney, Jr. explains:

When John Bolton sought in early 2002 to give a speech that addressed, among other things, the capability for offensive biological weapons inherent in Cuba’s advanced biotech industry, he did it by the book. Since the draft speech drew on available intelligence, his office – represented by a staffer, Fred Fleitz, who is himself a career CIA analyst – sought Intelligence Community clearance.

Although intelligence did indeed support Mr. Bolton’s proposed statement, as Thomas Fingar, then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (INR) put it: “[INR analyst Christian Westermann] tried to flag to Fred where he thought the draft was going beyond the IC consensus as conveyed in a DIA-led briefing on the Hill.”

Westermann then proceeded – in a manner the Foreign Relations Committee record confirms Mr. Fingar and two of Westermann’s other INR supervisors agreed was improper – to try to sabotage clearance of the Bolton speech by the Intelligence Community. When confronted with evidence he had done so, Westermann lied to Mr. Bolton. The result was that Bolton understandably felt he could not trust the analyst, a sentiment he conveyed to Westermann’s ultimate boss, Assistant Secretary of State Carl Ford.

As part of a scathing personal attack on Mr. Bolton, Ford testified to the Committee that he had “the impression that I had been asked to fire the analyst.” But under questioning he was unable to say that was what Bolton actually asked for. And two of his subordinates explicitly told the Committee that Bolton had not sought to have Westermann fired, simply given other duties.

Mr. Ford might have ascertained this to be the case had he bothered to make inquiries. He told the Committee, however, that he had not done so. And, in any event, Westermann’s immediate supervisor testified that he was “not aware” of Mr. Bolton’s response to the analyst’s misconduct making people in INR “antsy” about working with Sec. Bolton. So much for the latter’s purported “chilling effect” on intelligence with which he disagreed and those who generated it.

A second analyst, the then-National Intelligence Officer for Latin America, Fulton Armstrong, similarly earned Mr. Bolton’s ire when he took it upon himself to disparage the Under Secretary of State in a meeting with three Senators shortly after the Cuba speech was given. Armstrong asserted that Mr. Bolton had not properly cleared the speech within the Intelligence Community. The Foreign Relations Committee has established, however, that this claim was untrue, a fact documented by a coordination sheet properly signed off on by every relevant agency and by Carl Ford’s testimony.

Perhaps if Voinovich had found time to attend one of the sixteen committee meetings he missed, he'd have heard this firsthand.

And if this is the best that partisan shills like Trudy Rubin can come up with, the ramifications are crystal clear: Confirm Bolton.

Confirm Bolton

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