The American Prospect‘s Mark Leon Goldberg gets at one of the key deficits in John Bolton’s profile.
Bolton frequently verges on the edge of insubordination, which isn’t always a bad thing in some climates, but is when representing the President of the United States. Goldberg shares some disconcerting vignettes, particularly Bolton’s overly ambitious zeal to extract America from the ABM Treaty — sooner than his bosses were prepared for.
He also explains in the following grafs Bolton’s expulsion of a senior intelligence analyst from his morning meetings. He seemingly wanted to ignore what intelligence was telling us about various WMD programs and materials around the world.
To be sure, that wasn’t the only time that Bolton ignored protocol at the State Department to serve his quirky ends. According to Seymour M. Hersh’s October 2003 article in The New Yorker on the phenomenon of intelligence “stovepiping” — the process by which raw intelligence bypassed the normal professional analysis and ended up in the hands of political appointees — Bolton deliberately kicked a professional intelligence analyst (from the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research) out of his morning briefings. Apparently, the analyst, an expert on disarmament, hadn’t been telling him what he wanted to hear about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction so Bolton found a way to access raw intelligence data that he could sift through himself. The problem is, according to the analyst, his posting had been mandated by the secretary of state himself.
These are but two examples are part of a pattern by which Bolton refuses to subordinate himself to those above his pay grade. Though there is little indication that Bolton has any capacity for reform, he’s slick. He’ll try to convince the committee’s moderate Republicans that, once again, his only agenda is the faithful execution of the president’s foreign policy at the United Nations. The problem is, it’s been four years since Bolton’s gamed them with a variation of that same guarantee.
John Bolton wants to hear what he wants to hear — but I really don’t think that is going to be the case during Thursday’s Senate confirmation hearings.
— Steve Clemons