The Senators want facts. Lawrence Wilkerson just blew Bolton’s professional performance in his Under Secretary job apart in his recent interviews.
Senators will ignore the material at great peril because it discloses the lengths that then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage went to keep Bolton contained and controlled.
From Doug Jehl’s very important New York Times piece this morning:
A new portrayal of John R. Bolton describes him as having so angered senior State Department officials with his public comments that the deputy secretary of state, Richard L. Armitage, ordered two years ago that Mr. Bolton be blocked from delivering speeches and testimony unless they were personally approved by Mr. Armitage.
The detailed account was provided to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Lawrence S. Wilkerson, a longtime aide to former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Mr. Wilkerson said that Mr. Bolton, who was then an under secretary of state, had caused “problems” by speaking out on North Korea, the International Atomic Energy Agency and other delicate issues in remarks that had not been properly cleared.
Jehl’s article continues:
Mr. Wilkerson said that Mr. Bolton had been a major cause of tension and resentment at the highest levels of the State Department because of his temperament, his treatment of subordinates and the fact that he had “overstepped his bounds” on a number of occasions, including what Mr. Wilkerson called “his moves and gyrations” aimed at preventing Mohamed ElBaradei from being reappointed as the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear monitoring body.
“Now, what do I mean by that?” Mr. Wilkerson said. “I mean, going out of his way to bad-mouth him, to make sure that everybody knew that the maximum power of the United States would be brought to bear against them if he were brought back in,” Mr. Wilkerson said of Mr. Bolton’s approach to Dr. ElBaradei.
Mr. Wilkerson also disputed one account that had been provided by Mr. Bolton, and said that it was Mr. Armitage, and not Mr. Bolton, who decided in the summer of 2003 to postpone Congressional testimony that Mr. Bolton had planned to give on Syria and that had touched off significant opposition from American intelligence agencies. Mr. Wilkerson also provided a new account of the reaction within the State Department to a speech that Mr. Bolton delivered on North Korea in the summer of 2003, saying that the speech had not been fully vetted and that Mr. Armitage had become “very angry – that’s to put it mildly” – at an assistant secretary of state who signed off on Mr. Bolton’s language.
I find it important and interesting that Wilkerson reports that the July 31 Seoul speech that caused so much uproar and threatened the fragile beginning of the Six Party Talks with North Korea was NOT cleared by Armitage and Powell.
The speech was not cleared by Ambassador Hubbard, and it was not cleared by chief North Korea negotiations envoy, Ambassador Charles “Jack” Pritchard. The speech was not signed off by other of the INR staff involved, and it was not signed off at the Deputy Assistant Secretary Level (TWN has confirmed). This means that if it was signed off on — according to Wilkerson’s statement — Asst. Secretary James Kelly probably was the one mentioned as having signed off. But Armitage and Powell did not clear.
Bolton sabotaged U.S. foreign policy repeatedly.
Bolton lied about the lengths he went to try and prevent ElBaradei from getting a third term.
Senator Hagel asked specifically about Bolton’s resistance to ElBaradei — and BOLTON REPLIED THAT IT WAS ONLY A CONCERN ABOUT “TERM LIMITS.”
Bolton lied to Senator Hagel then.
Just the facts, Senators. . .Just the facts.
We have lots and lots and lots of facts.
— Steve Clemons
(ed. note: Just FYI, this is a blog I’ve just run across that is also writing some very good contextual material on the recent Bolton revelations. The last two posts are particularly good. — Steve Clemons)