Figuring out the Matt Freedman Connection: Innocuous or Consequential?


Lots of information is pouring in on Matthew Freedman, a consultant who has been allegedy providing counsel on various strategic issues and management advice to John Bolton over the last four years.
One former highly placed official recounted a meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance, Paula DeSutter. A To protect the person providing the account, I will not mention the country being discussed — but the meeting occurred at the State Department. Apparently, Mr. Freedman walked in to the briefing midway and appeared to be a substantive expert, answering a couple of questions posed.
This person feels that there may be an innocuous answer for why he was in the position of “Consultant.” Others feel like four years is a long time to keep someone in what otherwise was a temporary position.
TWN has learned that there is another interesting anomaly about Bolton’s operation. In what is not characteristic of a State Undersecretary’s office, Boltons had his own personal press secretary — Sarah Demerest.
According to a source, “Undersecretaries normally do not have individual press officers, since their direct staffs are so small.”
The source continues, “At the State Department, individual bureaus, e.g. the Nonproliferation Bureau, will have one or two public affairs officers, and of course, there is the Bureau of Public Affairs headed by Richard Boucher. But I have never come across a press person working for an individual Undersecretary. Even the Deputy Secretary’s office does not have a press person.”
Obviously, this raises the question of why Bolton had a press secretary at all, distinct from the broader establishment for which he worked.
Is it because his distrust of the Department was such that he couldn’t even rely on the Public Afffairs bureau to spin for him that he needed his own person that he could trust?
In the case of his Chief of Staff he brought in his own personal intelligence officer, Fred Fleitz, because of his distrust of the State Department’s Intelligence & Research Bureau (INR)
According to another source, “Also, it is well-known that Bolton was the architect of many a leak strategically deployed at various points over the past four years, especially with regards to intel reports suddenly appearing in the New York Times to torpedo any positive movement on North Korea.”
This then poses what looks like the increasingly likely case that while Frederick Fleitz was cherry-picking intelligence to fit the Cheney-Bolton-Fleitz mold, Demarast may have been the person pumping material into the press. The most important cases would be the material Boltons use, like in the case of North Korea, to sabotage under State Department diplomatic efforts.
— Steve Clemons