Douglas Jehl First to Report on New Set of Bolton-Related Interviews


Doug Jehl has done a truly impressive job working the story on John Bolton and reports today on a set of leaked Senate Foreign Relations Committee interview transcripts with three former SENIOR government officials.
This good article rubs some serious salt into some already very deep wounds in the White House’s Bolton nomination.
The amount of negative front page, major story ink the White House is willing to endure to sustain this nomination seems nearly unprecedented and is impressive to both Bolton proponents and opponents. Even those who oppose Bolton strongly, including TWN, feel that to some degree the manic nature of White House support — and the readiness to crush moderate, internationalist sensibilities in Republican circles — has already scored one kind of victory.
But in the end, it’s about getting someone to the U.N. who can do some good for the U.S. and the United Nations, and that is not Bolton.
Read the entire Doug Jehl article. It’s quite powerful, but here’s a longish intro and teaser:

Three former senior U.S. government officials have provided new accounts of what they described as bullying and intolerance by John Bolton, the nominee for the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, toward subordinates and other officials who disagreed with his views on policy and intelligence matters.
The three officials provided the accounts in interviews with the staff of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is reviewing Bolton’s nomination, according to transcripts of the conversations.
The firsthand accounts came from a former ambassador to South Korea, a former assistant secretary of state and the former head of the CIA’s weapons proliferation center. All three described Bolton as unwilling to listen to alternative views, the transcripts show, and two provided new details about episodes in which he sought to punish those who challenged his positions.
A copy of the transcripts was provided to The New York Times by a congressional official opposed to Bolton’s nomination, who said they raised new questions about his conduct.
Bolton, nominated by President George W. Bush, and his defenders have acknowledged that he can be combative and that he has had sharp disagreements with subordinates and intelligence officials. But they also said that he made sure that his speeches were cleared by his superiors and that he sought to have officials removed from their posts only in cases when he lost confidence in them.
Most of the incidents described by the former officials occurred in 2002 and 2003, when Bolton was under secretary of state for arms control, a post he has held since 2001.
One account gave details of his blocking a new assignment for a promising State Department officer with whom he had clashed, and others provided fresh descriptions of his putting pressure on intelligence analysts to conform to his views on Cuba and other issues.

More shortly.
— Steve Clemons