Congressional Quarterly ran a great piece today by Martin Kady II that outlined the recent state of play on the Bolton-related NSA intercepts.
I have a bit more to add, but here is a brief snapshot of the piece:
John D. Negroponte has only been in his new position as the national intelligence director for two weeks, but his office is now playing a significant role in deciding how to share with senators several spy communications involving U.S. citizens that Bolton reviewed during his time at the State Department, according to congressional and government officials familiar with intelligence issues.
Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee, where BoltonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nomination has stalled, have asked the National Security Agency (NSA) to release a series of classified intercepts that Bolton requested during his time as undersecretary of State for arms control. On 10 occasions, Bolton asked the NSA, which monitors electronic communications, for permission to review various intercepts to find out which American names were in these communications.
Senate aides say Democrats want to know whether Bolton sought the names for legitimate intelligence purposes or if he was checking up on American officials to see if they were towing the Bush administration line. Witnesses have told the committee that Bolton tried to have at least two U.S. government analysts fired after they challenged his intelligence assessments.
What I have learned as of late last night is that former NSA Director and new Deputy Director of National Intelligence Michael Hayden wants to brief Senator Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller on the intercepts — but not necessarily any members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
There is real chaos about these intercepts at this point. If the Committee Members and staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee do not get them by Friday, watch out.
All deals will be off.
— Steve Clemons