While Colin Powell has steadfastly refused to comment on the nomination of John Bolton to serve as Ambassador of the United States to the U.N. and also refused to sign the letter from five former Secretaries of State endorsing him, Powell was effusive in his praise in the past for Christian Westermann’s honest testimony before Congress about the pressures to generate politically-correct intelligence assesments of Iraqi arms.
Mr. Westermann will be on hand to answer Congressional questions about John Bolton’s tactics and behavior at the State Department.
This from the powerful Steven Weisman/Douglas Jehl New York Times article this morning:
The Foreign Relations committee has asked the C.I.A. and the State Department to make the two officials available to the panel’s staff, as well as at least two others, and to produce other documents as part of its review of Mr. Bolton’s conduct, the Congressional officials said. The officials said they were seeking to substantiate the accusations by former officials that Mr. Bolton improperly obtained intelligence reports from the C.I.A., and the National Security Agency, rather than going through the department’s on Bureau of Intelligence and Research, with which he had a stormy relationship.
Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell praised Mr. Westermann in 2003 for providing confidential testimony to the Senate intelligence panel about his disagreements on arms matters. Mr. Powell said he was “pleased” that Mr. Westermann had “honestly answered” when asked about pressure to describe undue influence on intelligence on Iraq.
This battle is going to be ferocious. The administration has made a serious mistake in sending someone to the Senate for confirmation who is so divisive and so seemingly at odds with the kind of “new start” in foreign policy that President Bush himself indicated he wanted to initiate.
If so moved, you might want to call these numbers and share your views:
Senator Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island (202) 224-2921
Senator Chuck Hagel, Nebraska, (202) 224-4224
Perhaps if Secretary Powell remains silent on John Bolton, he might be willing to reiterate his confidence and trust in the judgment of Christian Westermann.
We’ll look forward to hearing Mr. Westermann’s thoughts on the second day of hearings, Tuesday.
— Steve Clemons