Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar must be steaming about the fact that the administration stiffed him on the Bolton-related NSA intercepts as well as that John Negroponte has reported to the Ranking Member of the SFRC that if the Committee wants anything more on the NSA intercepts, it will have to go through the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
I posed the following questions to Senator Lugar’s office recently:
My questions for Senator Lugar are:
1. Does DNI Negroponte’s stand, which is clearly at odds with the request by the SFRC Chair, harm the oversight function of the SFRC in nomination matters?
2. Does Senator Lugar plan to take any more action or make any statements regarding the failure of the administration to comply with his own requests — not to mention those made by Senator Biden?
3. Does Senator Lugar believe that the SSCI has any jurisdiction in the Bolton matter?
I received the following response from Andy Fisher, Senator Lugar’s spokesman:
Roberts and Rockefeller have not corresponded to Lugar regarding their briefing on the intercepts. Not much to say beyond that.
Senator Ben Nelson indicated this weekend on CNN’s “Late Edition” that he was inclined to support Bolton’s nomination — but was looking forward to learning more. I can’t believe that Nelson is as poorly informed as he pretends to be — and that he still needs more information or would even venture a comment such as this before reading the materials on Bolton prepared by the Democratic staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
But when Lugar himself is being stiffed and made to grovel before Senators Roberts and Rockefeller for information that should be compelled from the administration and given to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, then Ben Nelson should really tread carefully before commenting further.
TWN plans to share other views on Senator Nelson’s position shortly.
— Steve Clemons