Monday, April 11, 2005

The weak case against Bolton

OpinionJournal has a short, albeit excellent editorial today (click title) on the spurious charges against John Bolton who is looking to become the US ambassador to the United Nations. Excerpt:

There are two principal charges. First is that Mr. Bolton distorted intelligence information in a public speech in which he warned of a possible biological weapons effort in Cuba. Second, he is said to have intimidated intelligence officials, two or three of whom Democrats may call tomorrow to testify in opposition to Mr. Bolton's confirmation. Among his accusers is Carl Ford, a former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, who clashed with Mr. Bolton.
If they had done their homework, the critics would know that Mr. Bolton wasn't the first U.S. government official to use such language. As our Mary Anastasia O'Grady reported at the time, Mr. Ford used nearly identical words when he testified before Congress two months earlier. On March 19, 2002, he said, Cuba has "a limited developmental offensive biological warfare research and development effort." And, "Cuba has provided dual use biotechnology through rogue states." Mr. Ford repeated himself on June 5, 2002, when he testified again before Congress. If Mr. Bolton skewed the government's position on Cuba's germ-warfare effort, then Mr. Ford did too.
Mr. Dodd said yesterday that there is "credible information" that Mr. Bolton tried to have two intelligence analysts fired for raising objections in advance of his Heritage speech. As it happens, the Senate has also investigated these allegations. The Intelligence Committee issued a report last July exonerating Mr. Bolton and other government officials of trying to manipulate intelligence for political purposes. None of the intelligence analysts it interviewed, the report says, "provided any information to the Committee which showed that policymakers had attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their analysis or that any intelligence analysts had changed their intelligence judgments as a result of political pressure."


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