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The Specific Allegations Against John Bolton

Bolton sought replacement of two intelligence officials, angry that they wouldn't back his personal intelligence agenda

SOUGHT RETRIBUTION AGAINST INTELLIGENCE ANALYSTS WHO DISAGREED WITH HIM: Bolton sought replacement of two intelligence officials, angry that they wouldn’t back his personal intelligence agenda. Neither Fulton Armstrong, a CIA analyst in Latin America, nor Christian Westermann, the State Department’s top biological weapons analyst, would agree to back Bolton’s claims that Cuba was building a bioweapons program. In a fit of pique, Bolton tried to have them “reassigned.” It took interventions from then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin to save the analysts’ jobs.

PUSHED FOR DISMISSAL OF SUBORDINATE FOR BASELESS CHARGE: In February 2003 Bolton also tried to fire a young official named Rexon Ryu after accusing him of concealing information by not passing along a cable he’d written about weapons inspectors in Iraq. Ryu’s superiors investigated and found the charges to be baseless. Still, Bolton pushed for his dismissal. Why? Just a few weeks before Bolton made these bogus charges, Ryu had been one of the officials to accompany Powell to the CIA to review the presentation he would give to the U.N. about Iraq’s weapons. According to officials, “Ryu had been instrumental in getting the most controversial allegations out of Powell’s speech.”

CONCEALED INTELLIGENCE THAT DIDN’T CONFORM TO HIS VIEWS: Bolton made a habit of blocking intelligence which didn’t conform to his personal policy views from “then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and, on one occasion, his successor Condoleezza Rice.” For example, on multiple occasions, Bolton refused to forward information vital to U.S. strategies on Iran to Powell, delaying intelligence from getting through for weeks or, in some instances, at all. Career officials at the State Department report Bolton’s decisions often left Powell “uninformed and fed the long-running struggles inside the agency.”

FALSELY CLAIMED HE HAD APPROVAL FOR CONTROVERSIAL SPEECH: Bolton gave a now-infamous, inflammatory 2003 speech in Seoul which disrupted the United States’ delicate relations with North and South Korea. In his testimony last week, Bolton defended his speech, saying it had been fully approved by the former United States ambassador to South Korea, Thomas C. Hubbard. He said Hubbard told him his “speech had been helpful and done them some good.”  Hubbard came forward to say that’s not true: “At the very least, he greatly, greatly exaggerated my comments.

ALLEGED ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR TOWARD LAW FIRM ASSOCIATES: Bolton had been a partner at the prestigious law firm Covington & Burling. According to staffers, after his stint in the George H.W. Bush administration, he was “not invited to return” to his law firm because of “abusive treatment of subordinates there.”

ALLEGED ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR TOWARD A FEMALE USAID WORKER:  A woman working for the U.S. Agency for International Development has reported that when Bolton was a private lawyer for a USAID subcontractor, Bolton allegedly threatened her, threw documents at her and was “genuinely behaving like a madman.” Her story has been corroborated by two witnesses.

TRIED TO FIRE A FEMALE EMPLOYEE FOR TAKING MATERNITY LEAVE: According to Sen. Chris Dodd, while Bolton was in the Justice Department in the 1980s, “He threatened a woman who needed maternity leave for health reasons.”

UNUSUAL REQUESTS FOR NAMES OF U.S. OFFICIALS IN SECRET COMMUNICATION INTERCEPTS: During the past four years, Bolton asked for – and received – the identities of 10 different U.S. officials who were either involved in or talked about in top-secret National Security communication intercepts. (In his testimony, Bolton recalled he’d made such requests “on a couple of occasions, maybe a few more.”) The identities of American officials whose communications are intercepted “are usually closely protected by law, and not included even in classified intelligence reports. Access to the names may be authorized by the N.S.A. only in response to special requests, and these are not common, particularly from policy makers.” According to intelligence officials, a request for ten names is “unusually high for one person.” It’s thus far not clear how Bolton used this information, and Bolton “did not respond to a request for the names of those U.S. officials that he sought or which intercepts they appeared in.”