It looks like Senator Joe Biden has sent another letter to Secretary Rice today, circling in on the controversy over Bolton’s truthfulness on his nomination form.
Josh Marshall points to a Raw Story piece reproducing a July 28 letter to Rice asking whether Bolton was interviewed by State’s Inspector General. (See yesterday’s post.) I’ll reproduce the letter here:
July 28, 2005
The Honorable Condoleezza Rice Secretary of State Washington, DC
Dear Madam Secretary:
It has just come to my attention that then-Undersecretary of State John Bolton was interviewed on July 18, 2003 by the State Department Office of the Inspector General in connection with a joint State Department/CIA IG investigation related to the alleged Iraqi attempts to procure uranium from Niger. This information would appear to be inconsistent with information that Mr. Bolton provided to the Committee on Foreign Relations during the Committee’s consideration of his pending nomination to be Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
The Committee on Foreign Relations expects all nominees to provide to it accurate and timely information. Indeed, in submitting the Committee’s questionnaire, all nominees are required to swear out an affidavit stating that the information provided is “true and accurate.” It now appears that Mr. Bolton’s answers may not meet that standard. I write, therefore, to request that you review this matter to determine whether incomplete or inaccurate information was provided by Mr. Bolton.
Thank you for your assistance.
Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Ranking Minority Member
Remember, ala yesterday’s post, John Bolton replied negatively to following question on the SFRC form:
Interviews — Have you been interviewed or asked to supply any information in connection with any administrative (including an inspector general), Congressional or grand jury investigation within the past 5 years, except routine Congressional testimony? If so, provide details.
Yesterday, July 27, Senator Biden sent a different letter to Rice asking whether Bolton:
. . . whether Mr. Bolton did, in fact, appear before the grand jury, or whether he has been interviewed or otherwise asked to provide information by the special prosecutor or his staff in connection with this matter, and if so, when that occurred.
The State Department today answered that question thus:
They’d asked whether or not the nominee has been interviewed or asked to supply any information in connection with any administrative, including an Inspector General, congressional or grand jury investigation within the past five years, except routine Congressional testimony. Mr. Bolton, in his response on the written paperwork, was to say no. And that answer was truthful then and it remains the case now.
I’m thrilled that Biden’s people looked into the IG investigation issue, which Steve first noted here, and not just the Fitzgerald investigation. The State Department’s blanket denial clashes with Biden’s assertion of a confirmed fact. This confusion means that not only is the IG angle not yet closed, but the Fitzgerald investigation issue remains open as well.
If the administration is stonewalling in hopes of making it through Friday’s recess, they will be miscalculating badly by thinking that these open questions are an appropriate environment for a recess appointment. The smell is too rank to send John Bolton to the United Nations in these circumstances.