Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Saturday, April 23, 2005

CNN.com - Powell Turns on Bolton and Damns Him with Thundering Silence - Apr 22, 2005

CNN.com - Senators seek Powell's advice on Bolton - Apr 22, 2005: "Senators seek Powell's advice on Bolton
Sources: Hagel, Chafee have called U.N. nominee's former boss
From Elise Labott
CNN Washington Bureau
Friday, April 22, 2005 Posted: 7:33 PM EDT (2333 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has been pulled into the battle over the nomination of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, but just what he is saying is not publicly known.

Powell has spoken with two Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, according to spokespersons for Powell and the senators.

Bolton's nomination is before the committee, and the two senators have been wavering on whether to confirm him amid allegations of abusive management practices.

Bolton served as undersecretary of state for arms control under Powell from 2001 until 2005, a position he still holds.

Peggy Cifrino, a spokeswoman for Powell, said the former secretary "has not reached out to senators" but "has returned calls from senators who wanted to discuss specific questions that have been raised" about Bolton.

She declined to reveal the substance of the conversations because Powell "considers the discussions private."

Powell has not spoken publicly about Bolton's nomination. He did not sign a letter to the committee by seven former U.S. secretaries of state and defense in support of Bolton.

Steve Hourahan, a spokesman for Chafee, said the senator reached out to Powell to discuss Bolton's nomination, but he said the conversations were confidential.

Chafee said earlier this week that he was not prepared to vote for Bolton "at this point."

"I want to digest and review some of this information," he said Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition." "I want to support the president when I can. He won the election. He gets to choose his people. But we have our duty also."

The Foreign Relations Committee postponed a vote on Bolton's nomination Tuesday after a Republican member, Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio, joined Democrats in asking for more time to investigate fresh allegations about the nominee's conduct. (Full story)

The committee, dominated 10-8 by Republicans, is expected to meet again in early May. A majority vote in favor is needed to send the nomination to the Senate floor. A tie would be the same as a no vote.

The committee is expected to meet again May 12. Republican Chairman Richard Lugar of Indiana said its plans "would include the possibility that Secretary Bolton might be asked to come back for additional testimony."

Mike Buttry, a spokesman for Hagel, said the senator "speaks frequently" with Powell about a variety of topics but would not elaborate on the discussions between the two about Bolton.

Hagel said earlier this week that though he would vote to send Bolton's nomination to the full Senate, he was not sure he would vote to confirm Bolton if his nomination moved to the Senate floor.

State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said Friday that it was no surprise that senators were asking Powell about Bolton's record.

"The secretary and the State Department believe that questions of the committee should be answered," Ereli said. "Secretary Powell is answering requests for information, the way that we do, the way that any American citizen does."

But he added, "We think that once those answers are given they will lead to an inescapable conclusion. And that conclusion is that Mr. Bolton would be an excellent ambassador for the United States at the United Nations."

Republicans call Bolton a foreign policy realist who would help push U.S. calls for overhauling the United Nations.

During Bolton's confirmation hearings last week, committee members heard allegations that he tried to intimidate or have fired intelligence analysts who disagreed with him, accusations the nominee denied in his own testimony. (Full story)

Democrats said Bolton's testimony has been called into question by fresh allegations that have emerged since Bolton's appearance April 11 -- allegations they argued should be investigated by committee staff or discussed in closed session. (Full story)

Chafee said Thursday that senators have questions about what he called "discrepancies" between Bolton's testimony April 11 and the recollections of others.

"There's been a list of witnesses who have come forward -- seven different people who corroborated that Mr. Bolton tried to fire a defense analyst," Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut said Thursday. "Not just one -- seven different people, all within this administration."

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that five people have come forward to corroborate allegations that Bolton threatened a U.S. Agency for International Development contractor in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s.

President Bush weighed in on the dispute Thursday, urging senators to "put aside politics" and confirm Bolton. (Full story)

White House press secretary Scott McClellan blasted Democrats on Wednesday, saying the complaints they had raised were trumped-up and "unsubstantiated.""

What new information did AIPAC learn about Rosen & Weissman

Palestine Chronicle: "AIPAC Finally Fires Two Employees
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Saturday, April 23 2005 @ 03:05 AM EDT

"What new information did AIPAC learn about the pair that led the lobby to such a dramatic about face?.."

WASHINGTON (CNI) - After a month of speculation, the New York Times and the Washington Post ran stories yesterday that the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee had finally seen the light and fired two of its top officials as a result of an FBI espionage investigation into its activities.

Though their lawyers were reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency declaring that the men had "not violated any U.S. law or AIPAC policy," Steve Rosen, AIPAC's policy director, and Keith Weissman, senior analyst on Iran, were let go. Haaretz's reporter compared the firings to removing a cancer and expected AIPAC to emerge healthy and intact.

But according to the JTA, "The departure of Rosen, who has shaped AIPAC policy for more than 20 years, would be a significant blow to the pro-Israel lobby." Rosen's presence on Capitol Hill was well known.

The same report mentions that Rosen and Weissman had been negotiating a severance package from AIPAC for a week, and had been put on administrative leave since January. Earlier in the year, Rosen and Weissman had appeared before a Washington grand jury that was investigating whether the two had passed on classified material to an Israeli diplomat. The document involved was a classified memo on Iran that had been prepared for the President.

The question remains: what new information did AIPAC learn about the pair that led the lobby to such a dramatic about face? For more than 8 months, it had been protesting its absolute innocence as a go-between for US foreign intelligence and Israel.

Is it not clear that AIPAC is trying to distance itself from being thought of as an agent for a foreign government? Should it not be required to register as a foreign agent so that citizens can hold it accountable under the law for its activities?

Meanwhile, the pro-Israeli lobby continued to bully Congress with one resolution after another. The latest (S.J.Res.14) - and surely one of the silliest - comes out of the office of Sen. Brownback (R-KS) and asks that Jerusalem be recognized as the "undivided capital of the state of Israel."

The text of the resolution is replete with historical mistakes, mistruths, and plain ignorance, beginning with the preposterous claim that "Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years." Did not the "exile" begin with the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD?

But the purpose of the resolution is to prevent the United States from recognizing the state of Palestine unless the world recognizes Jerusalem as belonging to the Israelis. It shows how clueless many senators are about the rest of the world. But understanding how many members of Congress habitually ignore world opinion, the resolution, if successful, could have dire consequences and would dramatically undermine the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, who also claim Jerusalem as their capital. It should be resolutely challenged.

Source: CNI Capital Update - April 22, 2005"