Published April 27, 2005
WASHINGTON – Democratic staff members on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have set May 6 as their deadline for collection of "new" material about or allegations against John Bolton (search), President Bush's nominee to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, FOX News has learned.
A well-placed Capitol Hill source said the Democrats will need a few days to collate what they have gathered and then the committee's vote will occur as scheduled on May 12.
The minority staff is still investigating a number of old and new allegations against Bolton, whose confirmation has been delayed over charges that he has a fiery temper and is not suited to become the United States' top diplomat in the world body.
Sources say Democrats are "still trying to lock in a few more details" relating to the case of the U.S. Agency for International Development worker in Kyrgyzstan who claimed that in 1994 Bolton harassed her in a dispute over her work duties and banged on her hotel room door to her distress.
Other details relate to analyst Christian P. Westermann (search), who was said to have been the target of an abusive tirade by Bolton for questioning and then allegedly lying about an interagency review on whether Cuba and Syria were developing biological and chemical weapons.
Another case involves a "Mr. Smith," a CIA officer who was also believed to be in a dispute with Bolton over inappropriate treatment of an intelligence analyst who disagreed with him.
Another allegation concerns National Security Agency (search) intercepts. Some Democrats on the committee said they believe Bolton deliberately misled the panel when, in public session, he said he had requested the redacted names of U.S. officials mentioned in NSA intercepts on "a few occasions." A spokesman for Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said that Bolton may have made as many as 10 such requests over four years.
The source characterized the number of requests as a "still unknown" quantity, suggesting that the number could determine the potential damage to Bolton's credibility. According to the source, NSA has yet to decide whether to permit access to the intercepts in question, and apparently is in no hurry to do so despite assurances the data would not be released publicly but only to authorized committee staff.
It is possible, the source said, that the relevant data "debunks" the notion that Bolton acted improperly; but absent the names of the individuals or even the subjects discussed in the intercepts, the committee is supposedly in a poor position to evaluate the matter.
The source also contended that Bolton "didn't answer directly" certain written questions put to him on this subject. On Wednesday, Bolton was to receive up to two dozen more written interrogatories concerning this and many other, if not all, of the various allegations.
Also, among the matters the Democrats are investigating are two cases that have not been reported in any form elsewhere. These cases concern Bolton's "temperament in government" and stem from his tenure as undersecretary for arms control and international security at the State Department — not his stints in previous administrations.
"They are not serious in terms of the substance of the issues involved, like the Syria [and] Cuba cases," the source said, "but they are serious in terms of his treatment of people."
Overall, the feeling on Capitol Hill appears to be that party discipline will reassert itself and Bolton will be confirmed. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told FOX News Radio's Tony Snow that he believes Bolton "will make it."
With that in mind, Senate Democrats are now hoping the process as it has worked in Bolton's case will serve to keep him "on a bit of a short leash at the U.N."
As for the White House: "Clearly they didn't do all their homework here. They've been [playing] catch-up, and usually they are pretty good at that," the source said.
FOX News' James Rosen and Sharon Kehnemui Liss contributed to this report.