Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Roberts on Bolton - Breaking Now

[Note: If you're coming directly to this post and want Bolton news from Thursday, please go to this post above. This post contains updates only through 11 p.m. Wednesday. -- 16 June, 2:35 p.m. Second Note: If you're coming here on June 20 for "Cloture Vote, Take 2" please click here for updates. -- 20 June, 4:53 p.m.]

Senator Pat Roberts (KS), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, has just completed a very interesting statement on the floor of the Senate. On his own accord, Roberts said that he sent a list of names to DNI John Negroponte, and asked him to indicate to him whether those names appeared in the NSA intercepts requested by John Bolton. Among those names, he said, were Carl Ford, Christian Westermann, "Mr. Smith" (Fulton Armstrong), Rexon Ryu, Charles L. Pritchard, and two CIA analysts whose names have not been released.

Roberts said that Negroponte gave him assurances that none of those names were among those requested by Mr. Bolton, and that he continues to believe that the requests made by Bolton were completely routine. He said that he made the requests of names in good faith as an attempt to reach a compromise on the Bolton nomination and hoped that his Democratic colleagues would accept it as such.

Impacting now. Much more to come, including any response from Democrats.

[Update: Noticeably absent from Roberts' list (and he began by saying his list "included" the names mentioned above) was former US Ambassador to South Korea, Thomas Hubbard. Still more to come, stay tuned. Senate has now adjourned for the night, will continue to track responses to Roberts' statement. -- 6:35 p.m.]

[Update: Steve Clemons calls Roberts' statement "a stupid, uninformed, ridiculously idiotic move ..." I'm not so sure that's true. -- 6:57 p.m.]

[Update: While we wait for responses from Bolton opponents, some further thoughts on my second update just above. What I meant was, I'm not sure that Roberts' statement, while clearly a stunt and probably not enough to satisfy Biden and Dodd, might be enough to satisfy those like Mark Pryor, who have publicly wavered on cloture recently. It might also bring a few other conservative Democrats over, enough to make the next cloture vote swing Bolton's way. It certainly may change the dynamic slightly should Frist call a vote for tomorrow. -- 7:18 p.m.]

[Update: Clemons reminds "John Bolton said he wanted the American names to give context to conversations between the Americans and the foreign source. Almost all these names don't fit the bill, now do they?" Democrats should ask Roberts what other names he asked Negroponte about, if any - did they include Tom Hubbard, Bill Burns, Dick Armitage, even Colin Powell? If Roberts asked about others and they were included in the intercepts, he needs to inform Biden and Dodd. -- 7:43 p.m.]

[Update: If anyone catches any mainstream coverage of this, please post in the comments. As usual, all the 24-hour networks are not actually giving much in the way of "news". Still waiting for any response from Dodd, Biden or others. -- 8:01 p.m.]

[Update: Clemons has some more, suggesting the reason Roberts made his statement tonight, and adding that he has set a precedent that Dodd and Biden could seize on and request further verification from Negroponte. I have, as yet, still seen nothing from elected Dems on this turn of events. -- 8:39 p.m.]

[Update: The AP's Liz Sidoti reports that Senator Dodd has rejected the offer by Senator Roberts, saying "For Senator Roberts to decide on our behalf what we should be concerned about is most unusual." Sidoti: "Dodd said the Bush administration should provide all the information or accept last week's proposal from Dodd and Sen. Joseph Biden." -- 8:56 p.m.]

[Update: At 9;30, FOXNews correspondent Steve Centanni reported, in typical Fox fashion, that Bolton's nomination "remains stalled despite the best efforts of a key Republican to break that deadlock." He went on to say that while Frist "wants a vote this week, it appears that he doesn't have the sixty votes that he would need." -- 9:33 p.m.]

[Update: Media coverage of this evening's events so far is not making the Democrats look good. Reuters: "Senate Republicans Offer Deal on Bolton" begins:

"Trying to break an impasse on John Bolton's nomination for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Senate Republicans on Wednesday acted as intermediaries to give Democrats information on whether Bolton tried to misuse U.S. intelligence.

But Sen. Christopher Dodd, a key Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, dismissed the Republican action as 'highly unorthodox and presumptuous,' and said the White House should turn over the information." -- 10:04 p.m.]

[Update: A New York Times brief for Thursday's edition begins: "In an effort to prod Democrats to approve the nomination of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, a leading Republican senator said Wednesday that he was convinced Mr. Bolton's requests for classified information were routine and that Mr. Bolton had not reviewed files on officials with whom he had clashed." -- 10:17 p.m.]

[Update: I think we're just about done with new revelations about this story for the evening, so I've posed some questions to close out this thread here. To all those visiting from The Washington Note, I hope I've been half as useful as Steve is over there - feel free to come back again anytime! -- 10:55 p.m.]

9 Comments:

At 6:42 PM, Anonymous Stygius said...

Hubbard. Exactly! This is obviously coordinated with the White House.

Thanks for this update.

 
At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, your link from Steve Clemons blog is acting funky.

 
At 6:57 PM, Blogger EG said...

Do you think Negroponte reads your blog or at least your comments?

I knew this would happen.

 
At 7:34 PM, Blogger JBD said...

anon: Define 'funky' - what's it doing?

 
At 8:25 PM, Blogger -Don- said...

Looks like the adminstration is willing to do almost anything to get out of providing the intercepts and Syria speeches. And the longer they stonewall the more people will get suspicious.

There are a lot of articles out today about Bush losing his influence already. This could provide a complete loss for him and back up claims of his becoming a lame duck. Add the almost certain death of Social Security reform and the non-starter energy bill and he's going in circles like a one-legged duck.

 
At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Roberts stopped wasting time on the Bolton affair, then he and the SSCI would have time for the back-burnered "phase two" of the committee's investigation into BushCo manipulation of pre-war Iraq intelligence.

Many thanks for the updates.

 
At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dibble this is drivel. You don't know understand the intercepts issue do you?

 
At 11:34 PM, Blogger JBD said...

anon, sorry you feel that way.

 
At 10:18 AM, Blogger audrey said...

this is bull shit!

 

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