I only have a few moments as I have to meet an important source shortly on Capitol Hill. However, I want to make a couple of quick points.
First, the White House is attempting to get reporters to parrot the line that the stand against cloture on Bolton is weak. They have suggested to reporters that Senators Lieberman and Feinstein are weak links that don’t want to be misperceived as indefinitely blocking Bolton. TWN has been in communication with both offices — and as best we can tell — this is another round of White House psychological warfare.
The fact is that Senator Feinstein and Lieberman BOTH understand that the argument on cloture is one in which vital documents have been blocked from review by key senators engaged in an investigation of Bolton. Many believe that Senators Pat Roberts and John D. “Jay” Rockefeller IV saw the disputed information — and that is incorrect. Neither saw the material that was requested by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In their Senate Select Intelligence Committee roles, these two Senators had a briefing and were shown “digests” of the NSA intercepts and not shown any of the redacted names.
In addition, no Senators have been shown any of the material on America’s Syria policy at a time when Bolton and other wings of the government were warring with each other over disclosures Bolton planned to make on Syria’s WMD programs.
There is no evidence WHATSOEVER that Lieberman and Feinstein have changed their positions on the VITAL IMPORTANCE of the White House in complying with official Senate evidence requests.
In addition, since the failed cloture vote on Bolton a week ago Thursday, Senators Mark Pryor and Mary Landrieu have come out strongly against Bolton — and Susan Collins would not be able to hold her head up if demanding administration materials in base closing and then letting the administration off on Bolton materials.
So, journalists — THINK!
It was reported to TWN today that “CNN’s Congressional Correspondent Ed Henry and White House Correspondent Dana Bash were both talking about how the White House is hoping for a vote on Bolton by the end of this week. They both went on to say that it is unclear whether Frist will have the votes for cloture. However, Dana Bash highlighted Feinstein and Lieberman as two Senators the Republicans hope to pick off because they won’t want to be seen to be “stalling” forever. Feinstein and Lieberman were also included in CQ’s story today.”
Let me just say that this is classic misinformation which we have BLOWN through before — and will again.
In addition. . .and then I really have to run. . .the intelligence community is leaking material. Some elements of the intel community are irritated that John Bolton had such easy access to highly sensitive material — and misused it. The information leaked to TWN today and to Doug Jehl of the New York Times more recently may be part of a drip-by-drip effort to show the public what is being missed in the Bolton debate.
The key is Fred Fleitz, Bolton’s former Chief of Staff, who continued to operate in the machinery of government that provides intelligence — as well as in the parts of government making policy.
This is the smoking gun.
The Senate needs to investigate further and shut Bolton down. He does not inspire confidence — and no one beyond Dick Cheney’s circle trusts him.
— Steve Clemons