A former senior Bush administration official told Senate staff members yesterday that John R. Bolton, the president's nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, sought to punish two State Department officials for disagreeing with him on nonproliferation issues, congressional sources said. And a former CIA chief, disputing Bolton, said the nominee had tried to fire a national intelligence officer who believed Bolton was exaggerating evidence on Cuba, they said.
John S. Wolf, who served as assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation and as President Bush's senior envoy to the Middle East until last year, and Alan Foley, who ran the CIA's weapons of mass destruction office, were two of six people who were interviewed by staff members on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Bolton has been Cheney's capo at the State Department, apparently well suited for the job. Nice, the Administration that lets people skate for overt "retaliation" (see Sibel Edmunds); and sends out their minions to lie about servants with a proven track record (see Dick Clark); or flat out lie about someone's military record (see Swift Boat A-holes); wants to make sure its douchebags get rewarded.
In the past three weeks, the panel has been told about four instances in which people said Bolton sought to remove officials who disagreed with him. In his own testimony, Bolton said he lost confidence in two intelligence analysts who disagreed with his assertions about Cuba and he tried to have them reassigned. He has not fully responded to questions about the cases involving State Department officials.
Wolf, who worked directly for Bolton in the current administration and in the President George H.W. Bush administration, is no longer on close terms with his former colleague. He would not comment yesterday on the substance of his 75-minute testimony, which was described by two committee staff members.
Wolf has already said publicly that Bolton, as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, targeted a young career officer who was close to former secretary of state Colin L. Powell and whom Bolton mistakenly accused of concealing a cable.
In an interview yesterday with Republican and Democratic staff members, Wolf elaborated on that incident in 2003 and told the committee for the first time that Bolton demanded disciplinary actions against other career officials who offered views that differed from his own. To protect the officials' privacy, Wolf did not name them to the committee staff or describe the nature of the views they offered.
Committee sources said he confirmed testimony provided by Stuart Cohen, the former acting director of the National Intelligence Council, that Bolton had tried to fire the national intelligence officer for Latin America who disagreed with Bolton's assertions about an alleged bioweapons programs in Cuba.
"Foley told us that Bolton's chief of staff, Fred Fleitz, called him up and said that Bolton wanted the analyst fired," one committee investigator said. Bolton has denied that he sought to fire the officer.
What a "diplomat". Will he attempt to fire the French from the United Nations?