Hello to all. I blog at Stygius, and I want to thank Steve for allowing me to guest-blog at The Washington Note while heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s away. Steve has been the anti-Bolton camp’s center of gravity, and look how far we’ve come since the nomination was announced! Much of that has to do with Steve and his readers, who have been instrumental in making John Bolton a household name.
For this first post, I want to focus on an issue Steve raised yesterday, namely State Department IG investigations involving Bolton. Here is the SFRC question to which Bolton replied, "No":
Interviews — Have you been interviewed or asked to supply any information in connection with any administrative (including an inspector general), Congressional or grand jury investigation within the past 5 years, except routine Congressional testimony? If so, provide details.
That’s a very broad query. While questions have swirled as to whether Bolton testified or was interviewed in the Valerie Plame investigation, Steve pointed out that Bolton was most likely either interviewed, or had to provide information to the State Department Inspector General over the development of a State Dept. fact sheet which included the bogus Niger uranium claim. That led me to remember a second IG investigation involving Bolton’s office.
A May article in The Hill reported on an Inspector General investigation even more closely centered on Bolton’s office:
State Department officials have shared with Senate Democrats the findings of a sensitive State Department inspector general’s report that could further undermine the nomination of John Bolton to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
The inspector general’s report, which is considered sensitive but not classified, is critical of the expansion of a State Department bureau’s role in assessing intelligence under Bolton during his service as the undersecretary of arms control and international security, according to sources who have read the report.
In this little bit of failed intrigue, Bolton was trying to end his dependence on State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the analytic agency that was getting its intelligence calls right during the run-up to war. The independence of the INR was problematic for Bolton, "lost confidence" and all that, as we saw in his treatment of its employees. Thus, Bolton wanted to turn one of his arms control shops into a stand-alone analysis agency that would feed him what he wanted to hear (see more).
But what is relevant to this new thread of controversy is that it indicates that Bolton faced a second IG inquiry that he would have had to disclose on his nomination form. (Who wants to bet there’s a third lurking around somewhere?) Thus, this makes any omission not just a single hapless oversight.
Perhaps there is an explanation to all of this, but we won’t know until senators and journalists raise these questions:
- Has John Bolton ever been interviewed as part of Fitzgerald’s investigation?
- Has he supplied any information to Fitzgerald’s investigation?
- Has John Bolton ever been interviewed by the State Department Inspector General as part of an investigation?
- Has he ever supplied any information to the IG as part of an investigation?
Relevant, timely questions that need to be publicly asked and answered before Friday’s recess. Reporters at the White House and State Department are going nowhere by eliciting yawner non-answers on the Bush Administration’s desire for an up-or-down vote (while off-the-record sources claim Bolton didn’t testify). Instead, by probing along these lines, we might find that such stonewalling rapidly collapses.