Jewish World Review April 19, 2005 / 10 Nisan 5765
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
The Bolton vote
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is ready to vote on President Bush's nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Democrats have lined up to oppose Under Secretary of State John Bolton's appointment. Committee Republicans are expected to support it.
For two weeks, however, the former have hoped to pick off one or more of the latter by subjecting Mr. Bolton to a series of allegations and charges that call into question his judgment, integrity and conduct. As the votes on the Bolton nomination are cast, Senators should bear in mind the following:
At the eleventh hour, the attack on Secretary Bolton has come up with a heretofore unknown charge: According to Monday's Washington Post, unnamed State Department sources claim that the Under Secretary deliberately withheld information from his superiors related to diplomatic and other aspects of Iran's proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
There is a certain irony to this accusation, whose timing smacks of a last-gasp bid to derail the Bolton nomination: It ostensibly rests on information "back-channeled" to those superiors by Mr. Bolton's subordinates in order to circumvent him and the normal reporting channels. At the same time, Secretary Bolton is being taken to task for allegedly circumventing similar channels to secure information from the Central Intelligence Agency. He is said to have done so in order to ensure that intelligence information he was relying upon was not being distorted by analysts with their own agenda in Foggy Bottom's Office of Intelligence and Research.
Generally speaking, government works best when there is an abundance of information. Intelligence analysts are seconded to agencies like the State Department and not just John Bolton's office precisely in order to facilitate the timely sharing of relevant data with policy-makers. And, while senior officials are entitled to make decisions about which of the countless number of memos generated every day they deem worthy of passing up the line and when, Secretaries of State generally rely as much on direct contacts with their counterparts as staff memoranda to keep them apprized of allied views about pending issues.
Mr. Bolton's experiences and conduct under clearly very difficult circumstances in the State Department over the past four years are, if anything, evidence that he is the right man for the UN job. After all, he is accustomed to dealing with institutions hostile to President Bush, his administration and its security policies. He has demonstrated the necessary diplomatic and bureaucratic skills needed to overcome myriad obstacles thrown in his way by opponents, foreign and domestic. And he has displayed the sort of principled tenacity that will certainly be even more necessary to truly reforming the United Nations than it has been to trying to get, and keep, the State Department on the President's
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