How did John Bolton think he was going to get away with the emphatic testimony he gave that he did not try to get any one removed or fired from their positions and never, in any way, tried to meddle with the intelligence findings with which he was being provided by State Department intel officers?
He lied to Congress. He’s done it before — but there is certainly something odd about sending someone to deal with transparency, corruption, and management problems at the United Nations when he himself seems to operate with so many of the same behaviors as the institution he is criticizing.
Now, it turns out that Senator Hagel’s foreign policy advisor, a detailee from the State Department, is one of the unnamed victims of John Bolton.
Here’s some of Dafna Linzer’s important reporting:
In 2003, John R. Bolton, President Bush’s choice for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, ordered a young official working closely with then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell removed from duties in the State Department’s nonproliferation bureau in what U.S. officials described as a third attempt by Bolton to purge career officials he perceived as impeding his policy goals.
The officials, who would discuss the incident only on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss it, said Rexon Ryu, an expert on nonproliferation issues in the Middle East, was transferred to another bureau after he failed to produce a document requested by Bolton’s chief of staff.
Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security for the past four years, reportedly accused Ryu of concealing the information and of insubordination. One of the officials recalled Bolton saying that he had a file on Ryu and did not want him to work on issues he was involved in.
John Wolf, Ryu’s former boss, said that Ryu was a brilliant and dedicated civil servant, and that the allegations were found to be baseless.
John Bolton is so far down the list of serious potential ambassadors from Republican circles who ought to be America’s Ambassador to the United Nations that it must be embarrassing for some of his recent advocates — particularly given recent revelations.
However, the reasons to oppose him go so far beyond the cosmetic, behavioral questions of inside-the-system thuggery and really get to whether Bolton is stable and predictable enough to not be a “loose cannon” in our foreign policy team.
Colin Powell’s silence is palpable. So too is Dick Armitage’s.
This fight is long from over. And I can tell everyone that more is coming down the pike — and it’s explosive.
— Steve Clemons