Chafee’s Great Question: Was Pritchard the Loose Cannon? or Bolton?


Check out Fred Kaplan’s summary of today’s hearings with John Bolton. He thinks Bolton’s situation is bad.
I’m not convinced that things are as bad as Kaplan portrays, but the vector was not positive for Bolton today.
I think that there is much more to do — and think that there are two points that have thus far gone underreported. First, Chuck Hagel went after John Bolton about WMD intelligence issues and asked “How did the U.N. get it right and we got it wrong?” He then queried why Bolton expended so much effort in trying to get rid of International Atomic Energy Agency Director General ElBaradei.
Bolton’s answer: term limits. Sadly, none of the Dems hammered Bolton on this and on his near obsessive personal reading of intelligence intercepts of ElBaradei’s phone calls to see if there was some substantive reason to get other nations on the then-empty bandwagon to dump ElBaradei.
Secondly, and EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, Lincoln Chafee stumbled into a huge cache of landmines, in TWN‘s view. Chafee asked Bolton to go into the issue of his 31 July 2003 speech regarding North Korea and our policy in negotiating over North Korea’s nuclear pretensions and program. Chafee brought up the name Ambassador Charles “Jack” Pritchard, now a Visiting Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution.
Bolton essentially said that Pritchard resigned after Bolton’s speech because Pritchard was not comfortable with the real, genuine Bush administration policy on North Korea — as compared to what Pritchard was peddling on behalf of Armitage and Powell. This was incredible…simply incredible. Bolton went so far as to say that Pritchard was not in line with Bush administration policy.
The beaten-up-and-intimidated story of intelligence officer Christian Westermann is certainly important and has generated a lot of smoke.
Jack Pritchard’s potential corroboration of Bolton’s patterned behavior is the “fire.” Bolton may have taken extraordinary steps to try and get others outside of the State Department hierarchy to push Pritchard out. I think someone needs to reach Pritchard — and just get a chronology and commentary on what he knows about Bolton’s behavior.
There is more to the story. I’m getting it as quickly as I can — but still more to do.
Pritchard needs to be called. He’s fundamental to understanding the regularity of John Bolton’s constant brinksmanship in his speeches — which one commentator told me were always “laced with gratuitious, outrageous remarks” that could undo the diplomacy underway.
Senator Biden, call him….Pritchard is important.
Senator Chafee, you started this — go after Pritchard and just get the entire story out. Was Pritchard the “loose cannon”? or Bolton?
— Steve Clemons