Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Bolton Had Unsanctioned meetingsWith Mossad

Bolton flouted agency's rules, officials say: "WASHINGTON As under secretary of state, John Bolton routinely arranged meetings with Israeli, Russian, British and French officials without first notifying the State Department offices responsible for relations with those countries, according to three former department officials.

The officials described the practice by Bolton, who has been nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as unusual and a violation of department procedures.

On at least one occasion, the officials said, Elizabeth Jones, then assistant secretary of state for European affairs, confronted Bolton to complain about meetings in Moscow that Bolton had sought with Russian officials without clearance from the European bureau.

Some meetings that Bolton held in Israel, including those with officials of Mossad, the foreign intelligence service, also prompted complaints in the State Department from the bureau of Near Eastern affairs, the officials said.

Bolton traveled overseas widely during his tenure but often ignored a requirement that he seek "country clearance" from the U.S. Embassy involved, the officials said.

The episodes were described by former State Department officials with direct knowledge of the events. They said they regarded the episodes as notable because they reflected Bolton's practice of acting unilaterally, even in sensitive diplomatic areas in which it was important that U.S. policy be coordinated.

The staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to ask questions about the episodes as it begins a new round of interviews about Bolton, whose nomination has caused unease, even among Republicans on the committee.

John Wolf, a former assistant secretary of state who traveled with Bolton on some of the trips, is among about two dozen people scheduled to be interviewed by the panel in coming days.

In advance of a vote now scheduled for May 12, some Republican congressional officials have begun to suggest that the full Senate be given an opportunity to vote on Bolton, whether or not the Foreign Relations Committee votes to recommend that he be confirmed.

A single no vote by one of 10 Republicans on the panel could block an endorsement of Bolton, but the committee could still vote to the send the nomination to the Senate floor. Even if all 44 Democrats and one independent in the Senate vote against Bolton, six Republican defections would be required to block the nomination.

Jones, the former assistant secretary and a former U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan who is retiring from the State Department this month, would not comment for this article. Bolton's office has declined requests for comment while his nomination is before the Senate committee.

Bolton was known to have had tense relations with many of his counterparts on a State Department team headed by Secretary of State Colin Powell.

One former colleague, Carl Ford Jr., testified publicly this month about what he called Bolton's "kiss up, kick down" approach to superiors and subordinates. Bolton clashed with others on a number of fronts, including policy toward Iran and North Korea, and his attempts in speeches and congressional testimony to make what intelligence officials regarded as inflated assertions about Cuba and Syria, among others.

But it had not previously been known that the clashes included concerns about Bolton's meetings abroad, which some of the former State Department officials described as exercises in freelance diplomacy. "He was just constitutionally incapable of being collegial," said the former senior State Department official who clashed with Bolton over some of the meetings.

The official would not speak for the record, saying that to do so would damage important business and professional relationships. "He just had the idea that whatever he wanted to do was not anybody's business but his."

The White House reiterated its unstinting support for Bolton on Wednesday, declaring that a Senate vote for him would be a vote for reform at the international organization and that a vote against him would be an embrace of an unsatisfactory status quo.

"John Bolton is someone we are very confident will be confirmed," said Bush's spokesman, Scott McClellan. "We urge the Senate to move forward quickly on his nomination so that he can get about doing the much-needed business of reform at the United Nations."

When McClellan was asked whether he thought Senate Democrats were opposing the nomination because they opposed UN reform, he replied, "That's what this issue boils down to." He went on to say that Bolton's hard-driving, occasionally abrasive personality was just what was needed at the United Nations.

WASHINGTON As under secretary of state, John Bolton routinely arranged meetings with Israeli, Russian, British and French officials without first notifying the State Department offices responsible for relations with those countries, according to three former department officials.

The officials described the practice by Bolton, who has been nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as unusual and a violation of department procedures.

On at least one occasion, the officials said, Elizabeth Jones, then assistant secretary of state for European affairs, confronted Bolton to complain about meetings in Moscow that Bolton had sought with Russian officials without clearance from the European bureau.

Some meetings that Bolton held in Israel, including those with officials of Mossad, the foreign intelligence service, also prompted complaints in the State Department from the bureau of Near Eastern affairs, the officials said.

Bolton traveled overseas widely during his tenure but often ignored a requirement that he seek "country clearance" from the U.S. Embassy involved, the officials said.

The episodes were described by former State Department officials with direct knowledge of the events. They said they regarded the episodes as notable because they reflected Bolton's practice of acting unilaterally, even in sensitive diplomatic areas in which it was important that U.S. policy be coordinated.

The staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to ask questions about the episodes as it begins a new round of interviews about Bolton, whose nomination has caused unease, even among Republicans on the committee.

John Wolf, a former assistant secretary of state who traveled with Bolton on some of the trips, is among about two dozen people scheduled to be interviewed by the panel in coming days.

In advance of a vote now scheduled for May 12, some Republican congressional officials have begun to suggest that the full Senate be given an opportunity to vote on Bolton, whether or not the Foreign Relations Committee votes to recommend that he be confirmed.

A single no vote by one of 10 Republicans on the panel could block an endorsement of Bolton, but the committee could still vote to the send the nomination to the Senate floor. Even if all 44 Democrats and one independent in the Senate vote against Bolton, six Republican defections would be required to block the nomination.

Jones, the former assistant secretary and a former U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan who is retiring from the State Department this month, would not comment for this article. Bolton's office has declined requests for comment while his nomination is before the Senate committee.

Bolton was known to have had tense relations with many of his counterparts on a State Department team headed by Secretary of State Colin Powell.

One former colleague, Carl Ford Jr., testified publicly this month about what he called Bolton's "kiss up, kick down" approach to superiors and subordinates. Bolton clashed with others on a number of fronts, including policy toward Iran and North Korea, and his attempts in speeches and congressional testimony to make what intelligence officials regarded as inflated assertions about Cuba and Syria, among others.

But it had not previously been known that the clashes included concerns about Bolton's meetings abroad, which some of the former State Department officials described as exercises in freelance diplomacy. "He was just constitutionally incapable of being collegial," said the former senior State Department official who clashed with Bolton over some of the meetings.

The official would not speak for the record, saying that to do so would damage important business and professional relationships. "He just had the idea that whatever he wanted to do was not anybody's business but his."

The White House reiterated its unstinting support for Bolton on Wednesday, declaring that a Senate vote for him would be a vote for reform at the international organization and that a vote against him would be an embrace of an unsatisfactory status quo.

"John Bolton is someone we are very confident will be confirmed," said Bush's spokesman, Scott McClellan. "We urge the Senate to move forward quickly on his nomination so that he can get about doing the much-needed business of reform at the United Nations."

When McClellan was asked whether he thought Senate Democrats were opposing the nomination because they opposed UN reform, he replied, "That's what this issue boils down to." He went on to say that Bolton's hard-driving, occasionally abrasive personality was just what was needed at the United Nations.

WASHINGTON As under secretary of state, John Bolton routinely arranged meetings with Israeli, Russian, British and French officials without first notifying the State Department offices responsible for relations with those countries, according to three former department officials.

The officials described the practice by Bolton, who has been nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as unusual and a violation of department procedures.

On at least one occasion, the officials said, Elizabeth Jones, then assistant secretary of state for European affairs, confronted Bolton to complain about meetings in Moscow that Bolton had sought with Russian officials without clearance from the European bureau.

Some meetings that Bolton held in Israel, including those with officials of Mossad, the foreign intelligence service, also prompted complaints in the State Department from the bureau of Near Eastern affairs, the officials said.

Bolton traveled overseas widely during his tenure but often ignored a requirement that he seek "country clearance" from the U.S. Embassy involved, the officials said.

The episodes were described by former State Department officials with direct knowledge of the events. They said they regarded the episodes as notable because they reflected Bolton's practice of acting unilaterally, even in sensitive diplomatic areas in which it was important that U.S. policy be coordinated.

The staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to ask questions about the episodes as it begins a new round of interviews about Bolton, whose nomination has caused unease, even among Republicans on the committee.

John Wolf, a former assistant secretary of state who traveled with Bolton on some of the trips, is among about two dozen people scheduled to be interviewed by the panel in coming days.

In advance of a vote now scheduled for May 12, some Republican congressional officials have begun to suggest that the full Senate be given an opportunity to vote on Bolton, whether or not the Foreign Relations Committee votes to recommend that he be confirmed.

A single no vote by one of 10 Republicans on the panel could block an endorsement of Bolton, but the committee could still vote to the send the nomination to the Senate floor. Even if all 44 Democrats and one independent in the Senate vote against Bolton, six Republican defections would be required to block the nomination.

Jones, the former assistant secretary and a former U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan who is retiring from the State Department this month, would not comment for this article. Bolton's office has declined requests for comment while his nomination is before the Senate committee.

Bolton was known to have had tense relations with many of his counterparts on a State Department team headed by Secretary of State Colin Powell.

One former colleague, Carl Ford Jr., testified publicly this month about what he called Bolton's "kiss up, kick down" approach to superiors and subordinates. Bolton clashed with others on a number of fronts, including policy toward Iran and North Korea, and his attempts in speeches and congressional testimony to make what intelligence officials regarded as inflated assertions about Cuba and Syria, among others.

But it had not previously been known that the clashes included concerns about Bolton's meetings abroad, which some of the former State Department officials described as exercises in freelance diplomacy. "He was just constitutionally incapable of being collegial," said the former senior State Department official who clashed with Bolton over some of the meetings.

The official would not speak for the record, saying that to do so would damage important business and professional relationships. "He just had the idea that whatever he wanted to do was not anybody's business but his."

The White House reiterated its unstinting support for Bolton on Wednesday, declaring that a Senate vote for him would be a vote for reform at the international organization and that a vote against him would be an embrace of an unsatisfactory status quo.

"John Bolton is someone we are very confident will be confirmed," said Bush's spokesman, Scott McClellan. "We urge the Senate to move forward quickly on his nomination so that he can get about doing the much-needed business of reform at the United Nations."

When McClellan was asked whether he thought Senate Democrats were opposing the nomination because they opposed UN reform, he replied, "That's what this issue boils down to." He went on to say that Bolton's hard-driving, occasionally abrasive personality was just what was needed at the United Nations."

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home