Those Opposing Bolton Need to Stand on Principles and Evidence


Time Magazine ran this little snippet:

. . .Bolton’s confirmation looks far from assured. That has not prevented the nominee, however, from moving through his to-do list. Government sources tell TIME that after he was nominated in early March, Bolton requested that all American employees of the U.S. mission to the U.N. submit their resumes for review.
The move cast a chill over the operation, where some saw it as presumptuous. It may also have been premature.

I had heard this same rumor a couple of weeks ago — and worked hard at either getting a copy of the email or talking to one of the staff who had concerns about this request. The email just didn’t make its way to me — though I don’t doubt at all the “level of concern” among some staffers that their resumes were under review. My sources were very credible regarding the concern — but weak on the evidence.
So, I called the U.S. Mission to the U.N. and talked with numerous individuals on a background basis. This is what I learned.
A low-level foreign service officer tasked with serving as the liaison between State and the U.S. Mission to the U.N. regarding Bolton’s likely move to the delegation prompted some bureaucratic paper-shuffling. One of the items that she thought would make sense was for each section of the U.S. Mission to document what the activities of the respective department were — what objectives they had, etc.
The press and communications department is in constant flux, faced with different circumstances and objectives all the time — so in addition to making that reality clear — this department added “profiles” of its key staff members. Apparently, the foreign service officer and the Chief of Staff of the delegation thought that the ‘template’ provided by the communications department was a pretty good one and encouraged others if they liked to also add profiles and cv’s. But according to my U.N. sources, there was no edict demanding such.
Instead, several key staffers began to provide full curriculum vitae and “juiced-up personal profiles” for their Bolton submissions so as to compete with other personalities in the delegation.
The key point is that Bolton and his people seem never to have requested such documentation. It seems that the U.S. staff to the U.N. just organized themselves in that direction — suspecting that Bolton may in fact want such information.
Why am I writing this? Because I think it’s important to be fair with the evidence on Bolton and let it go the direction it will. Because those with the apparently disconcerting emails did not in the end provide them — what TIME wrote (unless it had a copy of the emails) is thinly researched. If TIME had called the U.N., I believe that a sensible alternative explanation was possible. . .and in this case, provided.
I do know that the possibility of Bolton moving to the U.S. Delegation has sent a cold shiver through the staff there — but it’s important to report what is real, and not to give too much air time to those things that just can’t be validated.
More later on the NSA intercepts — they matter.
— Steve Clemons