Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Yet Another Bolton Volley

Well, so much for being done with John Bolton for the night. Douglas Jehl at the New York Times has released this new article on Bolton for tomorrow's edition, and it contains some important new information.

In a written response to a query from Senator Kerry asking whether Bolton would "'unfailingly use the established procedure' for clearing speeches, testimony and other public remarks with intelligence agencies," Bolton responded by saying "that he would adhere to rules that require formal clearance of any statement purporting to describe intelligence agencies' views. But he also said, 'A policy official may state his own reading of the intelligence (assuming the information is cleared for release as a policy matter) as long as he does not purport to speak for the intelligence community.'"

A policy official may state his own reading of the intelligence? That doesn't sound at all like a good idea. Yes, if there is a disclaimer indicating that's his personal view, that's good. But I'd rather not have someone who sees intelligence like John Bolton sees intelligence being allowed to "state his own reading" of it in front of the UN Security Council or any other body!

Jehl's article also includes quotes from some of the declassified internal memos concerning testimony that Bolton intended to deliver to a Senate subcommittee regarding a Cuban biological weapons program. Jehl:

"One memorandum sent by an unnamed C.I.A. official to George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, told how a meeting in mid-2002 on the Cuba testimony 'quickly grew contentious when we discovered that Mr. Bolton had left instructions that we confine our comments to sources and methods issues or to substantive information that strengthened the under secretary's argumentation in the proposed testimony.'

In another memo, a different agency official, also unidentified, expressed 'serious concerns about the tone and tenor' of the testimony on Cuba that Mr. Bolton had proposed, saying it 'misrepresents' the judgments of the intelligence agencies about not only B.W., biological weapons, 'but also on terrorism.'"

"[I]nstructions that we confine our comments to ... substantive information that strengthened the under secretary's argumentation in the propose testimony."

It is this kind of thinking that contributed directly to the misrepresentation and groupthink concerning weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. This is clear-cut abuse of intelligence for political purposes, and it should not be tolerated. Not by anyone.

John Bolton should have been fired. He should not be promoted.


At 11:19 PM, Blogger The Cynical Liberal said...

Same goes for Condoleeza Rice. And Gonzales. And more! Remember, yes-men get all the goods.

At 8:55 PM, Blogger JBD said...

Yes - the old confusion between "fire" and "promote" strikes again.


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