The Senate Foreign Relations Committee took final consideration Thursday of the nomination of John Bolton (search) to become U.S. to the United Nations. Following is an uncorrected transcript of the hearing.
SENATOR RICHARD G. LUGAR (R-Ind.): This business meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is called to order.
Before beginning our testimony and our debate today, I would like to lay out for members how we will proceed.
Democratic members have requested a five-hour debate on the nomination of John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations and we have agreed to that request. I've agreed to hold this debate to give all members of the committee an opportunity, once again, to explain their views, and we look forward to an enlightening and thoughtful debate.
On the interest of decorum and order, it's my intention to manage this debate much like a debate on the Senate floor. I will control two and a half hours of time, that is of the five hours allotted to the debate, yielding time to Republican members. Senator Biden, the distinguished ranking member, will control the other two and a half hours, yielding time to Democrat members.
Republicans will lead off the debate with approximately one hour of time to be controlled by myself and my designees, to be followed by an equal amount of time, another hour, under the control of Senator Biden or his designees.
At that stage, we will alternate between Democrats and Republican members until all time on both sides is consumed or given back.
Now, as chairman and manager of the nomination, I'll reserve the final 10 minutes of our time on the Republican side -- that is of our 150 minutes -- for myself.
Throughout this process, members should request time through the chairman or through the ranking member. Senator Biden and I will be responsible for apportioning the time on our respective sides.
Since five hours of debate time has been requested and we have an abundance of speakers on both sides, I will not entertain motions or other business during the five-hour debate.
If floor votes intervene, I believe we can continue the debate without interruption by voting in shifts, as we frequently do.
I would likewise say as members have need to have a bite to eat or to drink a sip of water, they can proceed to do that. Hopefully our debate will continue on in some responsible way throughout that period of time.
My hope is to complete the meeting by close to 3:00 p.m., as members will have invested five hours of valuable time during this experience.
And I would just say at that point that I begin my statement I will ask the clerk to begin counting the time so that our 150 minutes will be diminished as I make an opening statement to open the debate this morning.
The Foreign Relations Committee meets today...
SENATOR CHRISTOPHER J. DODD (D-Conn.): Mr. Chairman, could I just interrupt?
LUGAR: Yes. Senator Dodd?
DODD:Senator Biden is not here yet, so I'm reluctant -- is this something that's been agreed to between the chair and the ranking member? I'm just unclear as to how the procedures will work.
LUGAR: No, I have not asked for agreement. I'm just indicating the structure of our morning. I'm trying at least in fairness to allocate two and a half hours to both sides, indicate that Senator Biden and I will manage the two and a half hours during that time. I hope we can continue the time running while we go to vote.
LUGAR: We will have a cloture vote at 11:30 more or less.
In other words, I think these are reasonable statements. But nevertheless, the prerogative of the chair, I think, is to structure a debate in a fair manner, which I'm intending to do.
DODD:If I may, by the way, I was going to consent that this discussion need not be -- time taken away from the chairman.
SENATOR BARBARA BOXER (D-Calif.): Mr. Chairman, with the same caveat -- just because you went -- I was confused. You just went on awhile. Now Senator Biden is here.
Would you please go -- I hate to do this -- ...
SENATOR JOSEPH BIDEN (D-Del.): The staff can inform me, but please...
LUGAR: I'll proceed, once again, through the statements so there can be no ambiguity.
Before beginning, I would like to lay out for all members how we will proceed today. Democratic members have requested a five-hour debate on the nomination of John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations, and I've agreed to that plan.
I've agreed to hold this debate to give all members of the committee a chance to explain their views. And I look forward to an enlightening and thoughtful debate.
In the interest of decorum and order, it's my intention to manage the debate much like a debate on the Senate floor. I will control two and a half hours of time, yielding time to Republican members. Senator Biden will control the other two and a half hours, yielding time to Democratic members.
Republicans will lead off the debate with approximately one hour of time, to be controlled by myself and by my designees. To be followed by an equal amount of time -- that is an hour, more or less -- under the control of Senator Biden or his designees.
At that stage, we would alternate between Democrat and Republican members until all time is consumed or yielded back.
As chairman and manager of the nomination, I would reserve the last 10 minutes of our Republican time -- that is of our 150 minutes -- for myself.
Throughout this process, members should request time through the chairman or through the ranking member. Senator Biden and I will be responsible for a portion of the time on our respective sides.
Since five hours of debate time have been requested and we have an abundance of speakers on both sides, I will not entertain motions or other business during the five-hour debate.
If floor votes intervene, I believe that we can continue the debate without interruption by voting in shifts as we frequently do.
My intention is to complete the meeting as close as possible to 3:00 p.m.
But with that, I would instruct the clerk to begin keeping time now as I begin the open segment, which I will do shortly.
BIDEN: Mr. Chairman, I think it's good to proceed like we do on the floor.
But the way we usually do on the floor is the manager of the bill and the opponent of the bill -- the manager speaks and then the opponent gets to speak, and then they control the remaining time.
So I would prefer, if you're willing, after you speak for me to be able to make my opening statement and then you control the time. Otherwise it's not usual on the floor debate that we would have an hour of Republican or Democratic testimony -- or not testimony, debate other than if it's -- if you were to take an hour, that's fine by me, but I would like to be able to open at the time when you finish and then you control the debate in terms of the remaining time, if that's appropriate.
LUGAR: Well, I appreciate the senator's suggestion. I would like to follow the path I set forth, because in the first hour I will try to make a case for the nominee, but then I will yield the remainder of that hour to Senator Voinovich who will approach the case of the nominee in his own way so that members, and I think the public, will have a perspective of our debate from that hour.
And so I would ask the cooperation of the ranking member in allowing us to proceed in that way.
BIDEN: Mr. Chairman, I don't want this committee to look like we're just tied up in parliamentary problems, I will not object. But that is not how we do it on the floor.
And I understand you wishing to set the terms of the debate; I got that part and that's OK by me. But let's just not kid ourselves, this is not how we do it on the Senate floor. But it's OK if you want to do that way. I understand the deal.
BIDEN: And I hope you will be as accommodating to me if I decide to do this -- if I ever become chairman again -- and you'll allow me to do things that we don't do on the floor.
LUGAR: Well, the senator knows that I will be accommodating and as reasonable as possible.
And I thank the senator for his accommodation and his good humor.
BIDEN: I might have objected if it weren't going to be Voinovich second, but that's all right.
LUGAR: Very well.
We will begin now, and I will ask, as I've mentioned before, for the countdown. And we'll make available to the ranking member and the chairman at various times at our request how many minutes remain on both sides so that the management may continue as smoothly as possible.
The Foreign Relations Committee meets today to vote on the nomination of John Bolton to be United States ambassador to the United Nations.
In this capacity, he would play an important role in securing greater international support for the national security and the foreign policy objectives of the United States.
The Foreign Relations Committee has reviewed Secretary Bolton's actions with respect to several allegations. In the process, we have interviewed 29 witnesses, producing approximately 1,000 pages of transcripts.
We have received and reviewed more than 830 pages of documents from the State Department, USAID and the CIA regarding the Bolton nomination. We have questioned Secretary Bolton in person for seven hours. We've received responses to nearly 100 questions for the record, many containing numerous subparts.
This effort represents one of the most intense and far-reaching examinations of a nominee, in my experience. The depth and breadth of the inquiry is particularly notable, given that Secretary Bolton has been confirmed four times by the Senate already and that most of us have had personal experiences with him.
After reviewing this material, my judgment that Secretary Bolton should be confirmed as the United States ambassador to the United Nations. I do not believe that the evidence supports a disqualification of the president's nominee.
I was struck by the portrait of Secretary Bolton that emerged from interviews of witnesses that shows him serving in a job where some of his ideas and strategies were at odds with those above and below him at the State Department.
It is clear from the transcript that he was combative in defense of his perspectives. In some cases, this led to split memos, fed up the policy chain communicating multiple points of view.
Secretary Bolton's actions were not always exemplary. On several occasions, he made incorrect assumptions about the behavior and motivation of subordinates. At other times, he failed to use proper managerial channels or unnecessarily personalized internalist views.
The picture is one of an aggressive policy-maker who pressed his missions at every opportunity and argued vociferously for his point of view.
In the process, his blunt style alienated some colleagues, but there is no evidence that he has broken laws or engaged in serious ethical misconduct.
At the core of any nomination process is the question of whether the nominee is qualified to undertake the task for which he or she is nominated. I have no doubts that Secretary Bolton is extremely well- qualified.
He has just served four years in a key undersecretary position that technically outranks the post for which he is now nominated.
He has succeeded in several high-profile negotiation settings.
LUGAR: He was the primary negotiator in the creation of the successful Proliferation Security Initiative and the landmark Moscow Treaty. He played a large role in the agreement with Libya on the surrender of that nation's WMD programs, and the 10-plus-10-over-10 agreement that resulted in $10 billion in pledges from the other G-8 countries to secure the Soviet weapons of mass destruction arsenal.
These are among the Bush administration's most important and indisputable foreign policy successes. ave thought more about U.N. reform than John Bolton. He served four years as the assistant secretary of state overseeing international organizations under the first President Bush. He has written and commented extensively on the subject.
Senator Biden acknowledged to the nominee at the hearing, and I quote, "There is no question that you have extensive experience in U.N. affairs," end of quote.
Deputy Secretary Rich Armitage recently told reporters, and I quote, "John Bolton is eminently qualified. He is one of the smartest guys in Washington," end of quote.
Secretary Bolton also demonstrated his ability to get things done prior to becoming undersecretary of state. Perhaps the best example is his initiative to repeal U.N. Resolution 3379, which equated Zionism with racism.
In May 1991, as assistant secretary of state for international organizations, John Bolton refused to accept the common wisdom that repealing this infamous resolution was impossible. He and his staff initiated a campaign to change votes in the General Assembly, even though they were advised that they would not be successful.
Within a few months, they had made substantial progress, and by the fall the State Department put its full weight behind the effort. On December 16, 1991, the U.N. General Assembly voted to repeal the resolution by a vote of 111-25.
In the private sector, Secretary Bolton made some blunt statements about the United Nations, and many of these statements were made in academic or think-tank settings where debate on these subjects was encouraged.
Many of the quotes that have been repeated by opponents came in the context of much larger speeches that were more nuanced.
LUGAR: The fact that he has strong views and a long record of commentary on the job that he's about to undertake should not be disqualifying.
During our hearing, Secretary Bolton spoke of the United Nations important role in international security. He has emphasized that he wants the institution to work well on behalf of international security and the interests of the United States.
Beyond qualifications, we should recognize that Secretary Bolton has the confidence of the president and the secretary of state.
The president has made it clear that this is not a casual appointment. He wants a specific person to do a specific job.
President Bush has a reform agenda in mind at the United Nations. This reform agenda is generally supported by the U.N. secretary general, who has put forward a reform plan of his own.
The president wants John Bolton, an avowed and knowledgeable reformer, to carry out that reform agenda.
Kofi Annan has welcomed John Bolton's appointment.
I would emphasize that Secretary Bolton is being appointed to a position that is within the chain of command of the president and the secretary of state. The ambassador to the U.N. reports directly to the president and to the secretary of state.
In fact, historically this ambassadorship has reflected directly on the president. The ambassador is seen as the president's voice at the U.N.
Consequently, there are few positions in government where the president should have more latitude in choosing a nominee.
In my judgment, it would be absolutely extraordinary circumstances for the Senate to say, quote, "Mr. President, you can't have your choice to carry out your directive at the U.N., even though the Senate has approved him for four other high-ranking positions and he is extremely knowledgeable about the task that you are giving him," end of quote.
At times during this process, opponents have suggested that Secretary Bolton sits outside the mainstream in the Bush administration.
Senator Biden devoted several minutes of his opening statement at Secretary Bolton's hearing to this point, saying that, quote, "Your views, based on what you've said in the past, seem to be contrary to the direction the president and the secretary now want to take this administration," end of quote.
The problem with this assertion is that President Bush is telling us that this is not so.
LUGAR: President Bush is telling us that Secretary Bolton accurately represents his views about the U.N. and how that institution should be reformed. President Bush is saying that Secretary Bolton is his considered choice to implement his policies and diplomatic initiatives at the U.N.
Some observers who want a different program than the president's may not agree with the president's choice. But the results of the 2004 election give the president the responsibility and the right to nominate like-minded representatives and to define who a like-molcker and our colleague, Senator Coleman and many others, we have learned much more about the extent of that corruption and mismanagement. And this knowledge has supported the case for reform.
We know that billions of dollars that should have been spent on humanitarian needs in Iraq were siphoned off by Saddam Hussein's regime through a system of surcharges, bribes and kickbacks.
This corruption depended upon members of the U.N. Security Council who were willing to be complicit in these activities. It also depended on U.N. officials and contractors who were dishonest, inattentive or willing to make damaging compromises in the pursuit of a compassionate mission.
The United Nations reform is not a new issue. The structure and role of the United Nations has been debated in our country almost continuously since the U.N. was established in 1945.
But in 2005, we may have a unique opportunity to improve the operations of the U.N.
The revelations of the oil-for-food scandal and the urgency of strengthening global cooperation to address terrorism, the AIDS crisis, nuclear proliferation, many other international problems have created momentum in favor of constructive reforms at the U.N.
Secretary General Kofi Annan has proposed a substantial reform plan that will provide a platform for further reform initiatives and discussions.
The United States must be a leader in the effort to improve the United Nations, particularly its accountability.
LUGAR: At a time when the United Nations is appealing for greater international help in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in trouble spots around the world, a diminishment of U.N. credibility because of scandal reduces U.S. options and increases our own burdens.
Secretary Bolton has become closely associated with the United States efforts to reform the U.N. If he goes to the U.N. and helps achieve reform, the U.N. will gain in credibility, especially with the American people. If reform moves forward, Secretary Bolton will be in an excellent position to help convince skeptics that reform has occurred and that the United Nations can be an effective partner in achieving global security.
If we reject Secretary Bolton without even granting him a vote on the Senate floor, President Bush's hand will be weakened at the U.N. We will recover, but we will have wasted time and we will have strengthened the position of reform opponents.
In the days immediately following Secretary Rice's March 7 announcement of Secretary Bolton's nomination, most Democrat members of this committee expressed their opposition to the nomination on policy grounds.
A March 8th Associated Press report states, quote, "Almost immediately after Bolton's nomination was announced, Democrats objected," end of quote.
The March 8 edition of the Baltimore Sun said, quote, "Reaction from Senate Democrats promised contentious confirmation hearings for Bolton when he goes before the Foreign Relations Committee," end of quote.
In several cases, the statements by Democrats were unequivocal in opposition. In several other cases, statements were very negative, leaving open only the smallest of possibilities that the senators would ultimately support the nominee.
In all of these cases, objections were based on Secretary Bolton's supposed attitudes toward the United Nations.
Senator Dodd said that Secretary Bolton's, quote, "antipathy to the U.N. will prevent him from effectively discharging his duties as our ambassador," end of quote.
Senator Kerry said that the Bolton nomination, quote, "was the most inexplicable appointment the president could make to represent the United States to the world community," end of quote.
Senator Boxer said of Secretary Bolton, quote, "He is contemptuous of the U.N."
By March 31, still almost two weeks before the Bolton hearing, a Los Angeles Times report noted, quote, "Democrats are likely to vote unanimously against John R. Bolton when the nomination to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations comes before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to Democratic and Republican lawmakers and aides," end of quote.
Now, senators have the right to oppose a nominee because of his substantive views and his past statements. However, it's important to acknowledge that the ethical inquiry into Secretary Bolton's background has been pressed by members who planned to vote against him even before we began interviewing the witnesses.
They have the right to ask questions, and the committee has a responsibility to follow up credible allegations. But we should also understand that at times the inquiry has followed a more prosecutorial role than many nominees have had to endure.
The committee staff has worked long and hard to run down the salvo of unsubstantiated allegations that were leveled at Secretary Bolton at the last business meeting. The end result is that many of the accusations have proven to be groundless, or at worst overstated, and new information has cast others in a different light.
With regard to the most serious charge, that Secretary Bolton sought to improperly manipulate intelligence, the insights we have gained do not support that conclusion. He may have disagreed with intelligence findings, but in the end he always accepted the final judgment of the intelligence community and always delivered speeches in their cleared form.
During this inquiry, there has been the implication that if the nominee challenged or opposed the conclusions of intelligence analysts he somehow committed an ethical violation.
I think we need to be very precise that arguing in favor of one's own reading of intelligence within the context of an internal policy debate is not wrongdoing. Intelligence reports are not sacrosanct. They involve interpretations and they are intended to stimulate debate.
This committee has held numerous classified briefings. The word "briefing" is perhaps a misnomer because as senators we spend much of the time during those briefings questioning the panel. We probe to determine not just what analysts think, but why they think it. And often we challenge their conclusions.
Earlier this year, for example, our committee held a highly classified briefing on North Korea, in which one of our members pointedly disputed the conclusions of the briefer. There was a blunt exchange of views, and no resolution to this disagreement was achieved. And I am doubtful that any of us who have attended a good number of intelligence briefings have not done the same thing.
My point is that the act of challenging or disputing an intelligence conclusion is not in and of itself wrong. Some have appeared shocked that Secretary Bolton might have challenged intelligence conclusions or advanced alternative interpretations, even though the same thing happens every day in multiple departments and agencies.
Congress has the benefit of something called the, quote, "Speech and Debate Clause," end of quote. Article 1, Section VI of the Constitution states that members of Congress, quote, "shall, in all cases of treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective houses and in going to and returning from the same. And for any speech or debate in either house, they shall not be questioned in any other place," end of quote.
The founders put this extraordinary provision in the Constitution because they saw the value in debate.
The context surrounding arguments within an administration over intelligence is different, but the principle is the same: Policymakers should be free to exert opinions and interpretations during the policymaking process.
Clearly, there are lines that should not be crossed. Some may argue that Secretary Bolton crossed these lines. But the proof is in the result. After fighting for his interpretation, Secretary Bolton conformed to the clearance process and gave the speeches as they had been approved.
It has been charged Secretary Bolton sought to retaliate in some way against analysts and others with whom he disagreed.
Our staffs have looked into these cases thoroughly and in each one, I believe, the allegations are overstated.
In the case of Christian Westerman, the INR analyst whom the committee heard about from Carl Ford, the dispute was over a procedural issue, and Mr. Westerman continued in his job.
We should recall that the focus of Mr. Ford's complaint was that Mr. Bolton should not have raised his objections directly with Mr. Westerman, not that Mr. Bolton was wrong to raise the issue.
Our Democratic colleagues last month made much of the fact that, after this incident, Secretary Powell had to go all the way down to INR to boost morale.
But we heard last week from Secretary Powell's chief of staff that said visits were not uncommon. It was part of the secretary's leadership style to visit with staff in the bowels of the building, including INR.
In the case of the NIO for Latin America, e-mails the committee staff has reviewed make it clear that Secretary Bolton's primary objection was over disparaging and inaccurate comments the analyst made to members of Congress about a speech.
Secretary Bolton took his complaint to the CIA. Although the NIO has said he feels his career was damaged by Secretary Bolton, his superiors fully backed him at the time. And other witnesses have told the committee that, if he did not get the promotions he felt he deserved, it was for other reasons.
Again, as far as Secretary Bolton was concerned, the dispute was procedural. There was not attempt to fabricate intelligence.
Other allegations related to managerial style show the same pattern upon examination: disagreement over procedure, not policy.
In the case of Rex Anh Yu (ph), a mid-level civil servant in the Non-Proliferation Bureau under Secretary Bolton, no policy issues were involved at all.
Secretary Bolton believed, incorrectly, according to Mr. Yu's (ph) supervisor, that Mr. Yu (ph) had deliberately neglected to share information with Bolton's office.
Some months later, Mr. Yu (ph) was up for a job that would have required him to work closely with Secretary Bolton. Secretary Bolton, perhaps regrettably, expressed his opposition to working with Mr. Yu (ph).
Mr. Yu (ph) was given another prized post instead, an assignment to be deputy secretary.
The case of the Stated Department attorney also raised by other side is even more off the mark. This attorney fully supported what Secretary Bolton wanted to do. It was only because of miscommunication that Secretary Bolton thought the attorney had given out wrong information on a case involving sanctions against a Chinese company.
The State Department legal adviser, Will Taft, told our staff that he quickly straightened things out. The attorney stayed on the case, even wrote the affidavit that Secretary Bolton later submitted to the court.
The staff also looked at a new case that came up. Secretary Bolton's chief of staff, we learned, went to an INR analyst to complain that he had inappropriately attached to a CIA document a cover memo that took exception to some of the CIA's findings regarding China.
No action was sought against the analyst. None was taken. The issue was procedural. No intelligence was manipulated and Secretary Bolton wasn't even directly involved because he was out of the country at the time.
Secretary Bolton's credibility has also been called into question regarding his testimony before our committee on April 11. Senator Biden pressed him whether Mr. Bolton really went to the CIA to learn about the National Intelligence Council.
Stuart Cohen, the acting head of the NIC, said that while he could not recall why Secretary Bolton wanted to come, it was, quote, "perfectly reasonable," end of quote, to believe that was the reason.
In fact, he added, quote, "I was delighted at the prospect that somebody would come out wanting to know more about the NIC."
He also said that Secretary Bolton only talked about reassigning, not firing, the NIO, just as Mr. Bolton testified.
Our investigation has found nothing contrary to Secretary Bolton's claim that his dispute with Mr. Westerman was over procedure and not policy.
Former Ambassador to South Korea Thomas Hubbard called the committee after Secretary Bolton's testimony about a controversial speech he gave in South Korea. Secretary Bolton testified Ambassador Hubbard had thanked him for the speech afterwards. The ambassador told us he indeed had thanked Secretary Bolton afterwards, but only for making certain changes in the speech that he had requested. Ambassador Hubbard told our staff that he wanted to correct the record on that point, but he was not accusing Secretary Bolton of being deliberately misleading.
That speech was one of several by Secretary Bolton that opponents of the nomination have questioned. Our investigation showed that many of these speeches and congressional testimony were preceded by strong policy debates within the administration. As one witness told our staff, quote, "That's how good policy is made," end of quote.
In each case, we found that in the end Secretary Bolton delivered a speech that was perfectly cleared and that expressed official United States policy.
One of the most sensationalized accusations against Secretary Bolton is that 11 years ago he chased a woman around a Moscow hotel, throwing things at her. This is problematic, first, because the behavior described seems so out of place; but secondly, because it has been very difficult for our staff, despite many hours of interviews on this matter, to ascertain just what happened.
The woman, Melody Townsel, who lives in Dallas, admits that she is a liberal Democrat who worked for Mothers Opposing Bush in the last election. Ms. Townsel also told our staff that her original accusation, contained in a letter that was made public, may have been too strong in some pieces. She said, quote, "chasing," end of quote, may not be the best word.
What she meant was that Secretary Bolton would approach her whenever he saw her at the hotel where they were both staying because, as she describes it, she didn't want to meet with him over a legal matter.
It's important to remember that Secretary Bolton was a private lawyer at the time. He was not representing the United States government. He was working for a company against which Ms. Townsel had made some very serious charges, charges which proved unfounded, that could have cost his company an important USAID contract in the former Soviet Union.
Ms. Townsel provided no eyewitnesses to the incidents which are said to have occurred in public or open areas of the hotel.
Moreover, although she claimed that this was a highly traumatic encounter and that she told several people about it, staff had difficulty finding others who knew about it.
Three people who Ms. Townsel identified as having heard her complaints at the time of the events told staff they had no recollection of Ms. Townsel mentioning Mr. Bolton.
Her boss, Charles Black, of Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, who hired her for the post said she never mentioned it to him. Neither did her intermediate supervisor back in Washington.
An employee of a sister company who assisted Ms. Townsel of making her charges against the prime contractor on her project and with whom she has said she was in close touch at the time also knows nothing about it.
Staff's talked to three representatives of the contractor, a small Virginia firm which has long experience working for USAID overseas. These officials also heard nothing about this encounter.
They said that Secretary Bolton was in Moscow at the time, but that he was working for a consultant for a health project that they were involved in, not doing legal work for them.
We did find one of her friends and co-workers from that time who was not in Moscow, who recalls talking with her by telephone about it, as well as a subordinate of hers in a later USAID-funded project who recalls her mentioning it.
Now, ultimately the results of the lengthy investigation into this isolated, long-ago incident are, at most, inconclusive. Ms. Townsel went on to another USAID project in the former Soviet Union. And the company she accused of mismanagement was awarded more USAID contracts and continues to be well regarded.
The original charge against Secretary Bolton appears to be overstated.
On the basis of what we do know, there is nothing to offset Secretary Bolton's long record of public service in several different administrations.
It has been charged that collectively the allegations against Secretary Bolton form an unacceptable pattern of behavior.
This is an unfortunate argument by opponents, because it depends on doubts arising from an intense investigation of accusations, many of which had no substantiation.
By its nature, it also discounts the dozens of positive testimonials on Secretary Bolton's behalf from former co-workers who attest to his character and his effectiveness.
We need to think clearly about the context of the allegations leveled against Secretary Bolton.
First, this has been an extremely public inquiry. By its nature, it has encountered anyone with a grudge or disagreement with Secretary Bolton, stretching back to 1983 to come forward and tell their story. There have been no thematic limits on the allegations that opponents of the nominee have asked to be investigated.
I will simply submit that no one working in Washington in high- ranking positions for that long would come out unscathed from such a process. Any assertive policymaker will develop opponents based on stylistic differences, personal disputes or partisan disagreements.
Most members of this committee have been in public life for decades. If we were nominated for a similar position of responsibility after our terms in the Senate, how many of us would want the same standard to be applied to our confirmation process? How many of us would want any instance of conflict or anger directed at our staffs or our colleagues to be fair game?
Second, as mentioned, the oldest allegation dates back all the way to 1983. Thus we are subjecting 22 years of Secretary Bolton's career to a microscope. This included service in many government jobs as well as time spent in the private sector.
And given the length of John Bolton's service in high-ranking positions, it's inevitable that he would have conflict with co-workers of various ranks and political persuasions. He would have had literally thousands of contacts, meetings and issues to deal with during his career. In this context, the volume of alleged incidents is not that profound.
Third, in John Bolton's case, unsubstantiated charges may seem more material than they are because he has a reputation for being an aggressive and blunt negotiator. But this should not be a disqualifying factor, especially for a post that historically has included a number of blunt, plain-spoken individuals, including Jeane Kirkpatrick and our former colleague Senator Pat Moynihan.
In fact, President Bush has cited John Bolton's direct style as one of the reasons that he's picked him for this particular job.
It is easy to say that any inquiry into any allegation is justified if we are pursuing the truth. But, as senators who are frequently called upon to pass judgment on nominees, we know reality is more complicated than that. We want to ensure that nominees are qualified, skilled, honest and open.
Clearly, we should pursue credible reports of wrong-doing. But in doing so, we should understand that there can be human and organizational costs if the inquiry is not focused and fair.
We have all witnessed quality nominees who have had to endure a contentious nomination process that opened them up to any charge leveled from any direction.
Both Republicans and Democrats have been guilty of employing prosecuting tactics to oppose nominees with whom they did not agree.
Some would say that nominees are fair game. If they accept an appointment they enter the public arena where no quarter will be given.
But we need capable people who are willing to serve our government and the American people. And among all the other qualifications, it seems that we require nominees to subject themselves and their families to partisan scrutiny. This has implications well beyond the current nomination.
Our Democrat colleagues have recognized this fact when they have defended Democrat nominees in the past. With respect to one nominee in October 1993, Senator Biden said, quote, "The Senate does nothing to fulfill its responsibility to advise and consent on presidential nominations, and does nothing to enhance its reputation as the world's greatest deliberative body by entertaining a long and disagreeable litany of past policy disagreements, not by entertaining anonymous and probably false allegations," end of quote.
With regard to a troubled 1999 nomination, Senator Dodd, quite insightfully, stated, quote, "I am one, Mr. Chairman, who worries deeply about our ability to attract the best our society can produce to serve our country. It is not easy to submit yourself and your families to the kind of public scrutiny that a nomination of this magnitude involves. We have got to sort out some ways with which we can go through this process without making is so discouraging that those who watch the process who think one day they might like to serve their country would be discouraged from doing so in any administration. And I'm deeply worried that if we do not get a better handle on this that that will be the net result of what we accomplish," end of quote.
Senator Dodd also provided comments from a March 1, 1997, Washington Post article about the travails of a different nominee. He said, and I quote, "It's getting harder and harder to get good people to serve in government. Advise and consent does not have to be abuse," end of quote.
In an investigation of this type we constantly have to ask where we draw the line. Where does legitimate due diligence turn into partisanship? Where does a desire for the truth turn into a competition over who wins and who loses? Not every line of inquiry is justified by our curiosity or even our suspicions.
The committee has focused a great deal of energy examining several accusations against the nominee, and this may leave some observers with the false impression that John Bolton's service has been dominated by discord and conflict. We need to acknowledge that a great many officials with whom he has worked have endorsed him and that many subordinates have attested to his managerial character.
In the interest of fairness, I would like to cite just a few of the comments received by the committee in support of Secretary Bolton.
Former Secretaries of State James Baker, Larry Eaglhis critics. Anyone as energetic and effective as John Bolton is bound to encounter those who disagree with some or even all of his administration policies. But the policies for which he is sometimes criticized are those of the president and the Department of State, which he served with loyalty, honor and distinction.
Andrew Natsios, the current USAID administrator, and Mr. Peter McPherson, a former USAID administrator, along with 37 officials who worked with John Bolton during his years at USAID, wrote, quote, "We know John to be a forceful policy advocate who both encourages and learns from vigorous debate. We know him to be a man of balanced judgment, and we know him to have a sense of humor, even about himself.
"John leads from in front with courage and conviction, especially positive qualities we believe for the assignment he is being asked to take on.
"He is tough but fair. He does not abuse power or people.
"John is direct yet thoughtful in his communications. He is highly dedicated, working long hours in the never-ending quest to maximize performance. Yet he does not place undue time demands on his staff, recognizing their family obligations.
"What he does demand from his staff is personal honesty and intellectual clarity," end of quote from that letter.
Another letter, from former Attorneys General Ed Meese and Dick Thornburgh; former Governors William Weld and Frank Keating; former counselors to the president C. Boyden Gray and Arthur Colvehouse Jr. (ph); and 39 other distinguished officials stated, quote, "Each of us has worked with Mr. Bolton. We know him to be a man of personal intellectual integrity, deeply devoted to the service of this country and the promotion of our foreign policy interests as established by this president and Congress.
"Not one of us has ever witnessed conduct on his part that resembles that which has been alleged.
"We feel our collective knowledge of him and what he stands for, combined with our experiences in government and in the private sector, more than counterbalances the credibility of those who have tried to destroy the distinguished achievements of a lifetime," end of quote from that letter.
Another letter came from 21 former officials who worked with John Bolton in his capacity as assistant secretary of state for international organizational affairs.
It states, quote, "Despite what has been said and written in the last few weeks, John has never sought to damage the United Nations or its mission.
"Quite the contrary, under John's leadership, the organization was properly challenged to fulfill its original charter. John's energy and innovation transformed I.O. from a State Department backwater into a highly appealing workplace in which individuals could effectively articulate and advance U.S. policy, and their own careers as well," end of quote.
A letter also arrived from 43 of John Bolton's former colleagues at the American Enterprise Institute. It stated, and I quote, "As we have followed the strange allegations suddenly leveled at Mr. Bolton in recent days and reflected among ourselves and our own experiences with him, we have come to realize how much we learned from him and how deep and lasting were his contributions.
"Contrary to the portrayals of his accusers, he combines a temperate disposition, good spirit, utter honesty with his well-known attributes of exceptional intelligence and intensity of purpose.
"This is a rare combination and, we would think, highly desirable for an American ambassador to the United Nations.”
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wrote in a recent letter to Secretary Bolton, quote, "To combine, as you do, clarity of thought, courtesy of expression and an unshakable commitment to justice is rare in any walk of life, but it's particularly so in international affairs.
"A capacity for straight talking rather than peddling half-truths is a strength and not a disadvantage in diplomacy, particularly in the case of a great power like America. It is essential that people know where you stand and assume that you mean what you say. With you at the U.N., they will do both.
"These same qualities are also required for any serious reform at the United Nations itself, without which cooperation between nations to defend and extend liberty will be far more difficult," end of quote from Mrs. Thatcher.
Now, during this inquiry we have spent a great deal of time scrutinizing individual conversations and incidents that happened several years ago.
Regardless of how each senator plans to vote today, we should not lose sight of the larger national security issues, U.N. reform and international diplomacy that are central to this nomination.
The president has tapped Secretary Bolton to undertake this urgent mission.
Secretary Bolton has affirmed his commitment to fostering a strong United Nations. He's expressed his intent to work hard to secure greater international support at the U.N. for the national security and foreign policy objectives of the United States.
He has stated his belief in decisive American leadership at the U.N. and underscored that an effective United Nations is very much in the interest of U.S. national security.
I believe that the president deserves to have his nominee represent him at the United Nations. I am hopeful that we will vote to report this nomination to the whole Senate.
At this time, I would like to yield this first Republican segment to Senator Voinovich for his comments.
SENATOR GEORGE V. VOINOVICH (R-Ohio): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First let me take this opportunity to thank you and your staff for your graciousness and hard work on this nomination.
You have made strong arguments in favor of the nominee throughout this process.
Additionally, thank you for providing all of the members of this committee with timely information related to Mr. Bolton.
I believe that the inquiry has been fair and exhaustive. I am confident that I have enough information to cast my vote today.
Again, I appreciate your staff's hard work, as well as the administration's efforts.
Since our last meeting on this subject, I have pored over hundreds of pages of tections and thoughts about John Bolton.
Most importantly, in addition to the meeting that I had with Mr. Bolton prior to the official business meeting that we had on his nomination, I once again met with Mr. Bolton this week personally to share my concerns and to listen carefully to his thoughts.
After great thought and consideration, I have based my decision on what I think is the bigger picture. Frankly, there is a particular concern that I have about this nomination, and it involves the big picture of U.S. public diplomacy.
It was not long ago when America's love of freedom was a force of inspiration to the world and America was admired for its democracy, generosity and its willingness to help others in need of protection.
Today, the United States is criticized for what the world calls arrogance, unilateralism and for failing to listen and to seek the support of its friends and allies.
There has been a drastic change in the attitude of our friends and allies in such organizations as the United Nations and NATO and in the countries of leaders that we need to rely upon for help.
I discovered this last November when I was in London with people in the Parliament there. I found that to be the case when we visited the NATO meeting in Italy, that things have really changed in the last several years.
It troubles me deeply that the U.S. is perceived this way in a world community, because the United States will face a steeper challenge in achieving its objectives without their support.
We will face more difficulties in conducting the war on terrorism, promoting peace and stability worldwide and building democracies without the help from our friends to share the responsibilities, leadership and costs.
To achieve these objectives, public diplomacy must once again be of high importance. If we cannot win over the hearts and minds of the world community and work together as a team, our goals will be more difficult to achieve.
Additionally, we will be unable to reduce the burden on our own resources. The most important of these resources are the human resources, the lives of the men and women of our armed forces, who are leaving their families every day to serve their country overseas.
Just this last Tuesday we passed an $82 billion supplemental bill for our opera particularly Iraq. We need the help of other countries to share the financial burden that is adding to our national debt and the human resource burden that our armed forces, National Guardsmen and contractors are bearing so heavily now, including the deaths of over 1,500 American servicemen and women.
And the key to this, I believe, is public diplomacy.
Mr. Chairman, I applaud the president and secretary of state for understanding that public diplomacy is an important objective and beginning this new term with an emphasis on repairing relationships.
I applaud the president and Secretary Rice for reaching out to our friends in the world community and articulating that the United States does respect international law and protocol.
And I also applaud the president's decision to appoint Karen Hughes to help take the lead in this effort.
Though the United States may have differences with our friends at times and though we may need to be firm with our positions, it is important to send a message that we're willing to sit down, talk about them, discuss our reasoning and to work for solutions.
The work of the president and Secretary of State Rice is a move in the right direction.
But what message are we sending to the world community when in the same breath we have sought to appoint an ambassador to the United Nations who himself has been accused of being arrogant, of not listening to his friends, of acting unilaterally, of bullying those who do not have the ability to properly defend themselves?
These are the very characteristics that we're trying to dispel in the world community.
We must understand that next to the president, the vice president, secretary of state, the next most important, prominent public diplomat is our ambassador to the United Nations.
It is my concern that the confirmation of John Bolton would send a contradictory and negative message to the world community about U.S. intentions. I'm afraid that his confirmation will tell the world that we're not dedicated to repairing our relationship or working as a team, but that we believe only someone with sharp elbows can deal properly with the international community.
I want to make it clear that I do believe that the U.N. needs to be reformed if it's to be relevant in the 21st century.
I do believe we need to pursue its transformation aggressively, sending the strong message that corruption's not going to be tolerated. The corruption that occurred under the oil-for-food program made it possible for Saddam's Iraq to discredit the U.N. and undermine the goals of its members.
This must never happen again, and severe reforms are needed to stren yes, I believe that it will be necessary to take a firm position so we can succeed, but it will take a special individual to succeed at this endeavor, and I have great concerns with the current nominee and his ability to get the job done.
And to those who say a vote against John Bolton is against reform of the U.N., I say, nonsense.
There are many other people who are qualified to go to the United Nations that can get the job done for our country.
Frankly, I'm concerned that Mr. Bolton would make it more difficult for us to achieve the badly needed reforms to this outdated institution. I believe that there could even be more obstacles to reform if Mr. Bolton is sent to the United Nations than if he were another candidate.
Those in the international community who do not want to see the U.N. reform will act as a roadblock, and I fear that Mr. Bolton's reputation will make it easier for them to succeed.
I believe that some member nations in the U.N. will use Mr. Bolton as part of their agenda to further question the integrity and credibility of the United States and to reinforce their negative U.S. propaganda, and there's a lot of it out there today.
Another reason I believe Mr. Bolton is not the best candidate for the job is his tendency to act without regard for the views of others and without respect for the chain of command.
We have heard that Mr. Bolton has a reputation for straying off message on occasion.
Ambassador Hubbard testified that the tone of Mr. Bolton's speech on North Korea hurt rather than helped efforts to achieve the president's objectives. According to several respectable sources, Mr. Bolton strayed off message too often and had to be called on the carpet quite often to be reprimanded.
In fairness, those sources said that once reprimanded, Mr. Bolton got back on track, but that he needs to be kept on a short leash.
However, this leaves me a very uneasy feeling.
Who is to say that Mr. Bolton will not continue to stray off message as ambassador to the U.N.?
Who is to say he will not hurt rather than help U.S. relations with the international community and our desire to reform the U.N.?
When discussing all these concerns with Secretary Rice, John Bolton's propensity to get off message, his lack of interpersonal skills, his tendency to abuse others who disagree with him, I was informed by the secretary of state that she understood all these things and in spite of them still feels that John Bolton is the best choice and that she would be in frequent communication with him and he would be closely supervised.
My private thought at the time, and I should have expressed it to her, is: Why in the world would you want to send somebody up to the U.N. that has to be supervised?
I'm also concerned about Mr. Bolton's interpersonal skills.
Mr. Chairman, I understand there will be several vacant senior posts on the staff when Mr. Bolton arrives in his new position.
As a matter of fact, I understand all the senior people -- or five of them -- are leaving right now. For example, Anne Patterson, who is highly regarded, is moving to another position.
And I've been told by several people that, if he gets there, to be successful, he's going to need somebody like Anne Patterson to get the job done for him.
As such, Mr. Bolton's going to face a challenge. These people are gone right now. He's going to have to find some new ones. But his challenge right now is to inspire, lead and manage a new team, a staff of 150 individuals that he will need to rely on to get the job done.
We have all witnessed the testimony and observations related to Mr. Bolton's interpersonal and management skills.
I have concerns about Mr. Bolton's ability to inspire and lead a team so that it can be as effective as possible in completing the important task before him.
And I'm not the only one. I understand that 59 U.S. diplomats who served under administrations from both sides of the aisle sent a letter to the committee saying that Mr. Bolton's the wrong man for the job.
I want to note that the interview given by Colin Powell's chief of staff, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, has said that Mr. Bolton would make an abysmal ambassador, that he is, quote, "incapable of listening to people and taking into account their views."
I would also like to highlight the words of another person that I highly respect who worked with Mr. Bolton and told me that if Mr. Bolton were confirmed, he'd be OK for a short time, but within six months his poor interpersonal skills and lack of self-discipline would cause major problems.
Additionally, I wanted to note my concern that Colin Powell, the person to whom Mr. Bolton answered to over the last four years, was conspicuously absent from a letter signed by former secretaries of state recommending Mr. Bolton's confirmation. He's the one that had to deal with him on a day-to-day basis. He's the one that's more capable of commenting about whether or not he's got the ability to get the job done and his name was not on that letter.
We are facing an era of foreign relations in which the choice for our ambassador to the United
Nations should be one of the most thoughtful decisions we make.
The candidate needs to be both a diplomat and a manager. A manager is important. Interpersonal skills are important. The way you treat other people -- do you treat them with dignity and respect -- very important.
You must have the ability to persuade and inspire our friends to communicate and convince, to listen, to absorb the ideas of others. Without such virtues, we will face more challenges in our efforts to win the war on terrorism, to spread democracy and to foster stability globally.
The question is, is John Bolton the best person for the job?
The administration has said they believe he's the right man. They say that despite his interpersonal shortcomings, he knows the U.N. and he can reform the organization and make it more powerful and relevant to the world.
Now, let me say there is no doubt that John Bolton should be commended and thanked for his service and his particular achievements. He has accomplished some important objectives against great odds.
As a sponsor of legislation that established an office on global anti-Semitism in the State Department, legislation that I worked very hard to get passed, I am particularly impressed by his work to combat global anti-Semitism.
I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Bolton that we must get the U.N. to change its anti-Israeli bias.
Further, I'm impressed by Mr. Bolton's achievements in the areas of arms control, specifically the Moscow Treaty, the G-8 Global Partnership Fund, and the president's Proliferation Security Initiative.
Despite these successes, there is no doubt that Mr. Bolton has serious deficiencies in the areas that are critical to be a good ambassador.
As Carl Ford said, he is a kiss-up and kick-down leader who will not tolerate those who disagree with them and who goes out of his way to retaliate for their disagreement.
As Ambassador Hubbard said, he does not listen when an esteemed colleague offers suggested changes to temper language in a speech.
And as I've already mentioned, former secretary of state Powell's chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson said he would be an abysmal ambassador.
Some others who have worked closely with Mr. Bolton stated he's an ideologue and fosters an atmosphere of intimidation. He does not tolerate disagreement. He does not tolerate dissent.
Another esteemed individual who has worked with Mr. Bolton told me that even when he had success he had the tendency to lord it over and say, "Hey, boy, look what I did."
Carl Ford testified that he'd never seen anyone behave as badly in all his days at the State Department, and that he would not even -- testified before this committee if John Bolton had simply followed protocol and simple rules of management -- you know, just follow the procedure.
Mr. Chairman, I have to say that after poring over the hundreds of pages of testimony and -- you know, I wasn't here for those hearings, but I did my penance, I read all of it -- I believe that John Bolton would have been fired if he'd worked for a major corporation.
This is not the behavior of a true leader who upholds the kind of democracy that President Bush is seeking to promote globally. This is not the behavior that should be endorsed as the face of the United States to the world community and the United Nations.
Rather, Mr. Chairman, it is my opinion that John Bolton is the poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be.
I worry about the signal that we're sending to thousands of individuals under the State Department who are serving their country in foreign service, in civil service, living at posts across the world and in some cases risking their lives, also they can represent our country, promote diplomacy and contribute to the safety of Americans everywhere.
I just returned from a trip to the Balkans.
I had a chance to spend four days with people from the State Department. He's not what they consider to be the ideal person, Mr. Chairman, to be our ambassador to the United States -- to the United Nations.
And I think it's important that we think about the signal that we send out there to those people that are all over this world that are doing the very best job that they can to represent the United States of America.
This is an important nomination by the president.
What we're saying to these people when we confirm such an individual to one of the highest positions -- so what are we saying?
I want to emphasize that I weighed Mr. Bolton's strengths carefully. I have weighed the fact that this is the president's nominee.
All things being equal, it is my proclivity to support the president's nominee. However, in this case, all things are not equal.
It's a different world today than it was four years ago. Our enemies are muslim extremists who have hijacked the Koran and have convinced people that the way to get to Heaven is through jihad against the world, particularly the U.S.
We must recognize that to be successful in this war, one of our most important tools is public diplomacy.
After hours of deliberation, telephone calls, personal conversations, reading hundreds of pages of transcripts and asking for guidance from above, I have come to the determination that the United States can do better than John Bolton.
The world needs an ambassador who's interested in encouraging other people's points of view and discouraging any atmosphere of intimidation.
The world needs an American ambassador to the U.N. who will show that the United States has respect for other countries and intermediary organizations, that we are team players and consensus builders and promoters of symbiotic relationships.
And moving forward with the international community, we should remember the words of the great Scot poet who said, "Oh, that some great power would give me the wisdom to see myself as other people see me."
That being said, Mr. Chairman, I'm not so arrogant to think that I should impose my judgment and perspective of the U.S. position in the world community on the rest of my colleagues.
We owe it to the president to give Mr. Bolton an up-or-down vote on the floor of the United States Senate.
My hope is that on a bipartisan basis we can send Mr. Bolton's nomination to the floor without recommendation and let the Senate work its will.
If that goes to the floor, I would plead to my colleagues in the Senate to consider the decision and its consequences carefully, to read all the pertinent material -- so often we get nominees and we don't spend the time to look into the background of the individual -- and to ask themselves several questions.
Will John Bolton do the best job possible representing a trans- Atlantic face of America at the U.N.?
Will he be able to pursue the needed reforms at the U.N. despite his damaged credibility?
Will he share information with the right individuals?
And will he solicit information from the right individuals, including his subordinates, so he can make the most informed decision?
Is he capable of advancing the president and secretary of state's effort to advance our public diplomacy?
Does he have the character, leadership, interpersonal skills, self-discipline, common decency, and understanding of the chain of command to lead his team to victory?
Will he recognize and seize opportunities to repair and strengthen relationships, promote peace, uphold democracy as a team with our fellow nations?
Lastly, Mr. Chairman, I would like to say this.
I have met with Mr. Bolton on two occasions, spent almost two hours with him.
I like Mr. Bolton. I think he's a decent man. Our conversations have been candid and cordial.
But, Mr. Chairman, I really don't believe he's the best man that we can send to the United Nations.
LUGAR: Thank you very much, Senator Voinovich.
And now I'll turn to the distinguished ranking member for his statement and disposition of an opening hour of debate.
BIDEN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And I don't know why I thought for a moment that maybe Senator Voinovich shouldn't go second. I should have reconsidered that position.
So much for partisanship. Look, I don't -- quite frankly, much of what I was going to say would be redundant and not as eloquent as what we just heard.
And I have great respect for every one of my colleagues on this committee, on both sides of the aisle.
BIDEN: And I do respect the fact that many of you may reach a conclusion different than I have reached and based on what I just heard Senator Voinovich has reached.
I happened to reach the same conclusion, and I'm not being solicitous, for the same reason, the same basic, fundamental reason.
I cannot think of a time in my career here where I've heard someone so succinctly state in one sentence what really should have been the question: Why would you send someone to the United Nations that needed to be supervised?
I did ask a similar question, that question, to the secretary of statdid withhold until the day of the hearing any comment -- to the chagrin, I suspect, of some of my Democratic colleagues -- my attitude and views and concerns about Mr. Bolton.
I realize there is a very strong -- we all are elected officials in the most significant legislative body, I would say, in the history of the world. And we all know, though, that each of our parties have overwhelming requirements sometimes to meet the concerns of portions of our party.
That was implied to me as one of the reasons why Mr. Bolton was being nominated.
The question I asked was, "Do you know, Madam Secretary, how much difficulty Mr. Bolton caused for Secretary Powell, your predecessor?" And the answer was yes.
But there had been a discussion, and there was a need to find an important post for Mr. Bolton, who's been an admirable and bright and patriotic servant of this country for a long time.
BIDEN: And I asked the rhetorical question, if you couldn't say no now to that nomination, how are you going to say no if in fact he breaches the control that you indicate to me that will be imposed upon him?
I don't know the answer to that. But I would suggest that if there is a need to appoint him for reasons including and beyond his capacity, then it may be difficult if, in fact, he strays. But that is not for me to decide.
Mr. Chairman, you and I have worked together for a long time. I think it's fair to say we have never had a cross, harsh word and we will not, as far as I'm concerned, have one over this.
But your opening statement makes it sort of sound that it's self- evident that Mr. Bolton was going to be the guy to be nominated to the United Nations.
I would ask a rhetorical question: Was anyone here in the Senate when Bolton's name was mentioned -- unless you had been briefed ahead of time -- did any one of you say, "That fits, that's just what I was thinking, that's just what I was thinking -- U.N., Bolton, U.N."?
I'm not being facetious. I'm being deadly earnest. I think it goes to this whole question of whether or not everybody is out just in a witch hunt to go after Mr. Bolton.
You must admit that this was an unusual, if not surprising, nomination.
If someone had said Mr. Bolton was going to head up -- he was going to be brought in -- I would have been less surprised, myself, if he was going to be -- have the spot Mr. Hadley has, a more -- in some sense a much more critical spot. I would have been less surprised about that.
But it's a little bit like if one of us announced we're going to go back and run for the state legislature -- it would kind of surprise me. It wouldn't fit.
I want to make a second point: We did not seek out any witnesses.
I don't know whether you meant to imply, Mr. Chairman, but it sounded -- might sound to some like the Democrats are out there trying to dig up all they can on Bolton.
I had nothing to do, nor did any of you, with what now is 102 former career ambassadors, Republican, Democrat, Republican appointees, Democrat appointees.
To the best of my knowledge, my word as a Biden, I know of no Democrat that had anything to do with getting those folks to write us a letter.
Tom Hubbard, the ambassador to South Korea -- he contacted us after hearing Mr. Bolton's testimony. We did not contact Mr. Hubbard.
BIDEN: Mr. Westermann? Nobody contacted Mr. Westermann first. That came from Mr. Westermann in an inquiry by the Intelligence Committee as to whether or not anyone had felt intimidated.
Mr. Westermann came forward to the Intelligence Committee. We found out from the Intelligence Committee. We did not go to Mr. Westermann.
Ms. Townsel -- and agree the evidence is not absolutely conclusive. I agree with you. I think you honestly stated it, as you always do. But we didn't go to Ms. Townsel. She wrote an open letter to us. I never titutional responsibility not to talk to them as they came forward or seek out corroboration and/or contradictory statements relative to what they had to say.
And I might point out, the primary witnesses that we interviewed who had the most incredibly damaging things to say -- let me rephrase that -- who have some very damaging things to say about Mr. Bolton's actions are all in a Republican administration.
We did not go to a former administration. We did not go to the Clinton administration to find former assistant secretaries or heads of INR. These are all Republicans; if not Republicans, appointees and/or serving under a Republican administration.
And further, the argument that we need John Bolton for reform at the U.N. and comparing him to Pat Moynihan reminded me of that famous phrase of our friend from Texas, Senator Benson. I knew Pat Moynihan and he's -- and I know John Bolton -- and he's no Pat Moynihan.
I mean, I find that the biggest stretch -- you know, that old phrase we Irish say, Pat's probably rolling over in his grave hearing that comparison.
And so we're not saying -- one last point before I get into the detail.
We're not saying Mr. Bolton is not a patriotic American, has not done very good things in his career, has been a failure. We're not saying that.
What we're saying is he's done some very good things. One comes to mind referenced by our colleague from Ohio, the anti-Zionist resolution, getting it repealed. That's a big deal. That's a big deal, a notable accomplishment. But that does not a U.N. ambassador make.
A lot of people have done very good things who turn out not to be qualified or the right person for other assignments.
Mr. Chairman, my intention obviously is not to keep our committee vote beyond the 3 p.m. agreement we have decided on, but I feel obliged to lay out for the record one of my institutional concerns here.
I recognize that the State Department, the CIA and AID have provided hundreds of pages of documents and declassified many of them. I don't minimize that. State and CIA have made government officials available for interview, and more than once.
But this cooperation has been grudging to say the least. Prior to April 11th hearing, very little cooperation was provided to the Democratic request until you, Mr. Chairman, stepped in.
After our first meeting on April 19th we made additional document requests to the department. The chairman intervened again to help. But he also implicitly invited the department to ignore part of our requests, saying that some of our requests were quote, "extremely broad and may have marginal relevance to specific allegations."
The letter then expressed hope that certain specific requests would be fulfilled, a list that omitted four parts of the minority request. The department took the hint and it has failed to turn over some important materials related to preparations of speeches and testimony.
Even after we narrowed our request at the urging of the State Department, only a relatively small amount of material that we narrowed the request for was provided.
In rejecting the request, the department proffered an extraordinary rationale. I think it's important, as a committee, we understand this.
They said, in rejecting some of the information we sought, quote, "The department," quote, "does not believe the request to be specifically tied to the issues being deliberated by the committee," end of quote.
As my mom would say: "Who died and left them boss?" ng for itself the issues which are relevant to this committee's review of a nomination.
I believe this is a very important issue before the committee. I believe it's very important whether or not Mr. Bolton sought to stretch intelligence to say things in public statements the intelligence would not support and to keep going back to the intelligence community again and again to get answers he wants -- not the answers the facts support.
Put another way, did he attempt to politicize the intelligence process for two former administration officials who testified?
That's why we requested this information.
I'm also concerned that the nominee may have given the committee some misleading testimony.
The material that was not provided would shed further light on both these concerns, and it relates to the preparation of congressional testimony on Syria, their weapons of mass destruction program.
The preparation of this testimony occurred in the summer of 2003. And remember, we already know from intelligence officials that there was an intense debate about what Mr. Bolton wanted to say and whether he should be able to say it. And this was a time there was open discussion about, Is Syria next?
Mr. Bolton told us he hadn't seen the drafts. The department told us in a letter yesterday that he was not personally involved in drafting the testimony.
But this committee has a right and a duty to look at the evidence.
The department's letter yesterday saying that the material is highly classified and compartmentalized and the department is not prepared, quote, "to share these deliberations that cut across the intelligence community," is a rationale.
This answer is unsatisfactory as a matter of principle for future inquiries by this committee.
We've already received deliberative process materials, some of which are highly classified.
Why won't the administration give us this other material?
Are they holding back relevant information?
Could it be that Mr. Bolton was, in fact, involved in drafting the testimony?
I don't know. But there's no cogent rationale why they give us some of this and not others.
The department's attitude during the course of this nomination is a significant departure -- significant departure -- from past practice, including the past four years.
If this is the kind of cooperation we can expect in the future, we may have a long three and a half years.
I'm even more concerned about the failure of the committee to receive information relating to Mr. Bolton's request for NSA information and to identify U.S. persons that he wanted to know in those intercepts.
On April 13th, Senator Dodd made the first request for this information. By a letter dated April 28th, Senator Lugar made a request for the information through the Intelligence Committee.
Specifically, Senator Lugar asked Senators Roberts and Rockefeller to seek, quote, "all information related to Mr. Bolton's request and the responses thereto, including the unredacted contents of the documents in question" -- unredacted.
And the letter said that the chairman was, quote, "prepared to follow the guidance of the Select Committee with respect to," quote, "access and storage of such materials, as well as the provisions under which such materials will be shared with members of the Committee on Foreign Relations."
Clearly, the chairman was pointing out that the past practices mean that we have access to that information and we expected to have access. That's why the reference to storage of material and the nature of the access, not if we could have access.
In other words, Mr. Chairman, you made clear our expectations that NSA would provide, quote, "all the information to the Intelligence Committee," which in turn would share it with us.
And I understand that the chairman and vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee were briefed Tuesday by General Hayden. I understand that they were not given the identities of the U.S. persons that Mr. Bolton requested and received.
And I have no information on when or whether this committee or Senator Lugar or I will be given access to the same information given to the Intelligence Committee.
So far as I can tell, Mr. Chairman, your request has not been fulfilled, and I don't know why.
I think it's unacceptable. We have a right to this information not only as members of this committee, but in our specific responsibility of exercising our advise and consent responsibility.
Mr. Bolton has seen this information, but we cannot. Mr. Bolton can see this information, but a 32-year senator who never had once in his entire career had anybody raise a question about his treatment of Hayden explain it? Can someone at least do us the courtesy of telling us why this information has not been provided?
After all the work we've done in the past decade to strengthen the role of this committee, it is a serious mistake, in my view, for all of us to acquiesce in the administration's withholding of relevant information, whether they think it is relevant or not.
The integrity of the nominating process and our constitutional role is being challenged, in my view. Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that the president "shall nominate and, by and with the advise and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and counsels, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States," end of quote.
The failure of this administration to cooperate with this committee and the rationale offered for this failure, that the department does not believe these requests to be specifically tied to issues being deliberated by the committee -- it has no constitutional justification, and it does damage to the standing and ability of this committee and other committees to perform its function of oversight and advise and consent.
What makes this administration think that it has the right to determine what the United States Senate needs in order to perform its constitutional responsibility?
It has asserted neither executive privilege nor any constitutionally based rationale for not cooperating with this committee. It has no right under past practices, no right under the Constitution to offer as a rationale that, quote, they "do not believe the request to be specifically tied to the issues being deliberated by the committee."
I repeat what my mother says: "Who died and left them boss?"
I do not work for the president of the United States of America. None of you work for the president of the United States of America. We are a co-equal branch -- equally powerful and important, with a specifically assigned constitutional responsibility that only we have a right to determine whether information is relevant or not -- period.
With the doctrine of separation of powers, it's within our power, and ours alone, to decide what we think is relevant to our deliberations in the exercise of our responsibility.
With due respect, Mr. Chairman, I think we're making a big mistake by not insisting this information come forward.
And I might state for the record, I don't think the information requested is going to shed much light on anything. My guess is -- I've gone out and asked former Republican, present Republican, former Democrat, administration officials, "Is this unusual to ask for this information?"
And the answer I got was, "No. It's not that unusual."
I think this is a matter of principle.
Mr. President, I realize you're in a difficult position. I've been there. For 17 years I was the chairman and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.
I remember a president named Clinton contacting me through his staff and directly. He wanted to have a woman named Zoe Baird to be attorney general. It was his first appointment. He needed it badly. Politically it was devastating to lose.
I knew what my party would think about me. But I insisted that all relevant information be made available, even though they argued that it is not relevant to the inquiry.
And I made it clear to the president: We will not go forward. And we defeated -- not an act I loved doing -- the first major appointee after secretary of state. We defeated in the Committee Judiciary, the attorney general of the United States of America, headed by a Democrat and a majority Democrats.
Then along came a woman named Zoe Baird, and I asked for other -- excuse me, Kimba Wood.
And we jointly, Republicans and Democrats, said we insist on information relating to not only her but her husband, as it related to an accusation.
The administration pled, "Do not do this."
And, adding insult to injury, a senior Democrat was the guy who defeated the second nominee of a first-term president.
That's our constitutional responsibility.
Whether or not it causes a defeat or not is not relevant. The relevant point is, no administration, Democrat or Republican, has the right to tell me or this committee or any other committee what is relevant.
If they think it violates the separation of powers doctrine, state it, exert executive privilege, state a constitutional basis. But don't tell me -- don't tell this Senate, "We, the administration, do not think it is relevant."
As I said, we don't work for the president. And no president is entitled to the appointment of anyone he nominates. No president is entitled by the mere fact he has nominated someone. That's why they wrote the Constitution the way they did: It says "advice and consent."
And I think we've undermined our authority and we have shirked our constitutional responsibility. And I intend -- even if tomorrow there is a vote in the Senate and they defeated John Bolton, I would continue to insist we're entitled to that information. It's just a matter of principle.
Let me now turn to the nomination.
By the way, this is a big deal to me. I think it's a big deal to this committee. We fought so long and so hard to regain, and you've established the stature of this committee, Mr. Chairman, under your leadership.
It fell into some what you might call disrepair in the '70s and '80s. We weren't taken seriously by Armed Services, by the Intelligence Committee, by the Appropriations Committee. And because of your stature, Mr. Chairman, and I hope with a little bit of help from me, we've reasserted the role, responsibility and place of this committee.
And the idea that two guys on the Intelligence Committee can tell me I can't see this information -- give me a break. Give me a break.
My concern is not about the United Nations. My concern is about the U.S. interest at the United Nations.
And I believe it will be damaged if John Bolton is sent to the United Nations.
Based on the hearings we've held and the interview we've conducted and the documents we've examined, it is clear to me that John Bolton has engaged in four distinct patterns of conduct that should disqualify him from this job.
First, Mr. Bolton repeatedly sought the removal of intelligence analysts who disagreed with him: the removal of them, taking away their portfolios.
Second, in speeches and testimony Mr. Bolton repeatedly tried to stretent back to the intelligence community to get the facts he wanted. Or as one witness said, "politicizing the process."
Unless you think that's an exaggeration let me ask all of you -- rhetorical question of all you reporters out there. You write a report about this hearing, and you go back and it's for a major Sunday piece. And your editor says, "Do you really have to mention Lugar or Biden or Jones or whoever in that?" You say, "Yes, I think it's relevant to the story."
And then this afternoon he says, "Are you sure you really have to mention those two guys?" And tomorrow morning you come in and he says, "Look, I read it again. Are you sure in your report you have to mention this?" You say, "Yes. I think so."
And he comes to you in the afternoon before you leave or evening and he says, "Look, I'm going to ask you one more time. Are you sure?"
I know many of you want to appear in the second edition of "Profiles in Courage" at your newspaper, but I suspect it would have a chilling effect on you, especially if you were not a nationally known, highly valued at the moment reporter at your newspaper. That's what I mean by politicizing.
Third, in his relations with colleagues and subordinates in and out of government, Mr. Bolton repeatedly exhibit abusive behavior and intolerance of different views, as my friend from Ohio has said.
And fourth, Mr. Bolton repeatedly made misleading, disingenuous or nonresponsive statements to this committee.
But don't take my word for any of this. Look closely at the senior Republican -- senior officials in this Republican administration, who have testified before this committee and its joint staff.
Carl Ford, a respected intelligence professional with three decades of government service, who described himself as a, quote, "huge fan of Vice President Cheney." He described for us not only the attempt by Mr. Bolton to remove Mr. Westermann, one of his analysts, who worked for Mr. Ford, but the unprofessional manner in which he treated his analysts.
Quote: "Secretary Bolton chose to reach five or six levels below him in the bureaucracy, bringing analysts into his office and giving them a tongue lashing.
"He was so far over the line that he's one of the, sort of, memorable moments in my career."
Continuing to quote, "I've never seen anybody quite like Mr. Bolton -- doesn't even come close. I don't have a second, third or fourth in terms of the way he abuses his power, authority and authority with little people," end of quote.
Afterward, Mr. Ford, said, "The news of Mr. Westermann's incident, quote, 'spread like wildfire,' end of quote, in the bureau, so much so that Secretary Powell made a special point of coming down to an assembled group of people at INR and pointing out the analyst by name and saying to the other analysts that he wanted them to continue in essence to speak truth to power."
Let me go right to the testimony here that was before us -- Mr. Wilkerson's characterization of this, which is that Powell always went down; this was nothing unusual.
Powell's chief of staff -- what did he say before our joint staff? He said, "That is to say, one of his leadership," referring to Powell, "one of his leadership techniques was to walk around the building. He went to the basement and talked to the men who clean up in the basement to find out how they felt, how his morale was, and so forth. And he'd do it periodically throughout the building.
"This was not that sort of unprompted trip. This was a trip because several of his subordinate leaders, in this case, I think, Carl Ford in particular, had indicated to him that he thought it might be necessary."
So much for the fact that he was just wondering down there and did this all the time. He may have, in the context that Powell's chief of staff said he went down.
Listen to John McLaughlin, a career CIA professional who served as deputy director of central intelligence and for a time as acting director, both positions under President Bush.
When Mr. McLaughlin was told that Mr. Bolton was seeking to have a national intelligence officer for Latin America transferred, Mr. McLaughlin recalls that he firmly rejected, and I quote, the request by saying, "Well, we're not going to do that. Absolutely not. No way. End of story."
Mr. McLaughlin explains why he so adamantly opposed the request, and it's important -- his rationale -- why he opposed this request. He said, "It's perfectly all right for a policy-maker to express disagreement with NIO or an analyst, and it's perfectly all right for them to challenge their work vigorously.
"But I think it's different to then request, because of the disagreement, that the person be transferred, and unless there is a malfeasance involved here, and in this case I had a high regard for the individual's work. Therefore, I had a strong negative reaction to the suggestion of moving him."
Hear what he said: It's different to then request transfer because of disagreement.
Listen to Robert Hutchings, chairman of the National Intelligence Council, from 2003 to 2005. These are high-level intelligence analysts who do the national intelligence estimates that administration people get and we get.
He said, in the summer of 2003, Mr. Bolton and his team prepared a speech on Syria and weapons of mass destruction that, quote, "struck me as going well beyond where the evidence would ultimately take us, and that was the judgment of the experts on my staff as well. So I said that under these circumstances that we should not clear this kind of testimony."
Hutchings went on to say Mr. Bolton took, quote, "isolated facts and made much more of them to build a case than I thought the intelligence warranted. It was sort of cherry picking of little factoids, and little isolated bits were drawn out to present the starkest possible case," end of quote.
Let me make it clear: No one is saying Mr. Bolton could not have his own views on intelligence.
All, all this is about is Mr. Bolton, when he made an intelligence analysis in public, had to say, "I believe this to be the case, notwithstanding the intelligence community doesn't."
No one ever said a policy-maker should be muzzled by the intelligence community. Let's get this straight, what we're talking about here.
This is all about whether Mr. Bolton can say, "The intelligence community thinks." That's the only reason the intelligence community is in this.
I can stand up, as my friend from -- my chairman indicated and say, "We vigorously disagree."
We can vigorously disagree.
But I would never walk out of a hearing, nor would any member of this committee, after being briefed by the intelligence community, saying that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Xandu, the nonexistent country, and walk out and say, "I just got briefed. There are weapons of mass destruction in Xandu."
I'm allowed to walk out and say, "Speaking for myself, notwithstanding the fact that the Intelligence Committee doesn't believe Xandu has weapons of mass destruction, about.
I used to have a friend named Sid Bailick (ph), who's a great trial lawyer, and I went to work with him early on as a young man. And he'd say to a jury all the time, back in the days where -- you know, Mitch Miller's long gone and Lawrence Welk, he'd say, "Follow the bouncing ball. Don't take your eye off the ball here."
The ball is not "Are we attempting" -- or anyone attempting -- "to muzzle Mr. Bolton as to what his opinion is." That's not what the intelligence community. It was attempting to say, "Don't say we believe that."
Listen to Larry Wilkerson, the chief of staff of the secretary of state, a retired Marine colonel. He said that Mr. Bolton, quote -- and I'm quoting, not my quote, his quote -- "is a lousy leader," end of quote, and had objected to him being U.N. ambassador because, quote, "there are," quote, "a 100 to 150 people in New York that have to be led and led well," end of quote.
He described Mr. Bolton as a man who, quote, "counts beans," continue to quote, "with no willingness and, in many cases, no capacity to understand the other things that were happening around those beans. And that is just a recipe for problems at the United Nations," end of quote.
A Republican colonel, chief of staff for the secretary of state, with indirect responsibility of supervising Mr. Bolton.
Mr. Wilkerson knows of what he speaks as chief of staff. He kept, as everyone said and he said, an open door -- literally an open door -- and he describes a regular flow of officials walking through it to complain about Mr. Bolton's behavior.
These aren't anecdotal incidents.
Mr. Wilkerson told us that because of the problems with Mr. Bolton's speeches not always being properly cleared, that Deputy Secretary Armitage, quote, "made a decision that John Bolton would not give any testimony, nor give any speech, that wasn't cleared first by Rich," referring to the deputy secretary of state, Rich Armitage.
And he later told -- that is, Mr. Wilkerson, told the New York Times, and I quote, "that if anything, the restrictions on Mr. Bolton got more stringent as time went on." Quoting: "No one else was subjected to these tight restrictions," end of quote.
Listen to John Wolf, a career Foreign Service officer for 35 years, who worked closely with Mr. Bolton during two different tours. His most recent tour was from 2001 to 2004, when he was assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation.
Mr. Wolf told the committee staff, Republicans and Democrats, that Mr. Bolton blocked an assignment of a man he described as a truly outstanding civil servant some nine months after an inadvertent mistake by that officer. And Mr. Wolf says that Mr. Bolton asked him to remove two other officials because of disagreements over policy. And that Mr. Bolton, quote, "tended not to be enthusiastic about alternative views," end of quote. Talk about State Department speak.
Listen to Mr. Will Taft, who served as the State Department's legal adviser under Secretary Powell, and before that as general counsel in two other government departments, as well as deputy secretary of defense and as former ambassador to NATO.
He told the committee that he had to take the extraordinary step -- extraordinary step -- of going to Deputy Secretary Armitage to have Armitage remind Mr. Bolton that Mr. Bolton was required to work with Mr. Taft on lawsuits in which the State Department was the defendant. Why?
Because Mr. Bolton decided he could deal with the Justice Department himself on the case and unilaterally decided to tell one of Mr. Taft's attorneys, working for Mr. Taft, that his attorney was, quote, "off the case."
Mr. Bolton is an attorney and a very good attorney. He was once general counsel to AID and assistant attorney general in the Civil Division.
He should have understood the simple concept that the lawyers for Colin Powell would need to work on the lawsuit that was filed against Colin Powell -- that he had the arrogance to think that he knew better and dismissed the State Department's own lawyer, and consequently had to be reminded by Mr. Armitage who was boss.
Read the memo from Mr. Rich Armitage to Mr. Bolton in the package of documents the State Department gave us last Friday. Then ask yourself whether this is a guy who is likely to follow directions from Washington.
Listen to Tom Hubbard, another career foreign service officers of long service whose last post was as ambassador to South Korea. And I never heard nary a negative word that I've heard has been said about him.
During a hearing on April 11th, Senator Chafee asked Mr. Bolton about his speech in Seoul on the eve of the six-party talks. Mr. Bolton replied, quote, "And I can tell you what our ambassador of South Korea, Tom Hubbard said after the speech. He said, 'Thanks a lot for the speech, John. It helps a lot out here."'
What did that trigger? -- Mr. Hubbard contacting the committee. He either read it or heard the answer to your question, Senator Chafee, and felt obliged to contact the committee. Nobody contacted Ambassador Hubbard, to the best of my knowledge.
He comes to us, Democrat and Republican, and he says, basically, "Let's get the facts straight. I remember it quite differently." And he volunteered, and when he volunteered, he made it clear that he disagreed wholesomely with the tone of Mr. Bolton's speech -- thought Mr. Bolton's speech was unhelpful to the negotiation process and felt that Mr. Bolton surely knew that.
According to a memorandum for the record prepared by the Republican staff of the committee who first interviewed Mr. Hubbard on April 26th without a Democratic staff present, Hubbard said that he felt compelled to contact the committee -- felt compelled to contact the Republican staff.
So much for democratic digging things up here.
He felt compelled to go to the Republican staff, and he said -- because, quote, "It's misleading, to say the least, to have me praising him for the speech."
Let me read that again, Mr. Hubbard said, on his own initiative contacted the Republican staff, quote, "It's misleading, to say the least, to have me praising him for the speech," end of quote.
If you're keeping track now, that's seven senior officials who have served at the Department of State or the CIA in this administration who have testified to the committee about Mr. Bolton's actions.
They told us that Mr. Bolton, one, seeks retribution against intelligence analysts or policy officials who disagree with him. They told us he pushes the envelope on intelligence information.
I don't recall -- I've been here for seven presidents. I'm not going to embarrass any of my colleagues with what they recall. I'll tell you what I don't recall.
I don't recall ever a senior official in the State Department -- or Defense Department, for that matter -- being told by the secretary of state and/or the deputy secretary of state or defense that you cannot say a single thing before the Senate committees or House committees or make a single public speech without clearing it first.
Maybe that's happened. If it is, it's the best kept secret in 32 years since I've been here.
Thirdly, what did they say, these seven senior officials?
He doesn't like to hear dissent. He doesn't like to follow rules. He's a bad manager of people. He can't see the forest for the trees. And he mischaracterizes the views of his colleagues.
This is neither hearsay nor innuendo -- as suggested in our prior meetings that it was hearsay or innuendo. This is what a judge would call direct evidence and testimony and documentary evidence. Direct evidence. It's all there for every senator to see.
Some people might ask, as Senator Lugar did, and may assert, that none of this matters.
Nobody lost a job. Mr. Bolton gave these speeches he was authorized to give.
After yelling at the State Department lawyer, the lawyer was put back in the case. And the young career officer that Mr. Bolton blackballed from a career advancing assignment ultimately landed on his feet.
No harm, no foul.
If you think his actions don't matter, then why would so many serious people not working in the government come forward, with little to gain and a lot to lose, to tell their stories?
We didn't subpoena a single person. We didn't pursue anyone to come. We asked. They came.
And they came forward either without being asked or being asked because their name came up.
They came forward because they think Mr. Bolton's actions matter a lot.
If you think his actions don't matter, why was it necessary for Rich Armitage to issue a special decree applied to Mr. Bolton's speeches?
Because words matter -- especially when spoken by a high government official.
If you think his actions don't matter, why did Armitage, according to Larry Wilkinson, the chief of staff of the secretary of state, get mad at his Asian expert Jim Kelly for clearing the Seoul speech?
Because it almost impeded the six-party talks, led Secretary Powell having to send an envoy to New York after that speech to encourage the North Koreans to come to the talks.
If you think his matters don't matter, why did Mr. Armitage postpone Mr. Bolton's testimony on Syria?
By the way, Mr. Bolton told us that he canceled his own testimony. But Larry Wilkerson said that Secretary Armitage is the one who canceled it, because it there was quote, "some diplomacy at the time that might not have served us well. And also the testimony was a biweapons of mass destruction program that Mr. Hutching says was not supported by the intelligence.
This is just a few months after faulty intelligence helped make the case for the war in Iraq, and
Mr. Bolton was trying to push the intelligence envelope on Syria, and Armitage intervenes to stop it. Thank goodness.
Connect the dots folks, of course it matters. We don't know exactly what Mr. Bolton wanted to say because these were among the documents the State Department refused to turn over.
But we do know what the intelligence community said. They said, "No way. Don't characterize us that way."
Why are they hiding and not providing those documents?
If you think his actions didn't matter then why did Colin Powell make a special point, to use Carl Ford's words, to go down to the Intelligence Bureau to INR to tell them do their jobs. Carl Ford said that he made visit to INR before, but both Ford and Larry Wilkinson, his chief of staff, said this instance was a special trip.
If you think his actions don't matter why did John Wolf have to assign a brilliant middle level officer to another bureau because he said quote, -- he, Wolf, said, "He didn't want this brilliant young analyst manning an empty desk." He stayed on a good career track only because Mr. Wolf worked to secure him an assignment away from Mr. Bolton's reach, according to Mr. Wolf.
And if you think actions don't matter then listen to Mr. Hutching on the dangers of policy makers pushing to stretch the intelligence even if they fail.
Here's what he said. "When policy officials come back repeatedly to push the same kind of judgments and push intelligence communities to confirm a particular set of judgments it does have an effect of politicizing intelligence, because they so-called correct answer becomes all too clear.
"And even when it's successfully resisted, it has an effect."
Continuing to quote: "It creates a climate of intimidation and a culture of conformity that is damaging," end of quote.
It matters, even if they didn't get fired.
Is Mr. Bolton really worthy of this trouble? Is this really the best we can do? Are there no other tough-minded professionals in the Republican Party?
It's been said, usually in the same breath about Mr. Bolton's reputation as a straight talker that, if you oppose Mr. Bolton, you oppose U.N. reform.
LeHelms -- Joe Biden and Jesse Helms -- over the objection of the chairman and my colleague Mr. Sarbanes, their objection, that got tough on the U.N., wrote the reform legislation that the chairman and my senior member opposed.
I don't need a lesson from Mr. Bolton or anybody else how to get tough with the U.N. Nor does Senator Helms. Mr. Bolton isn't the only guy that can push the U.N. reform. As a matter of fact, he's the worst guy.
In fact, the secretary of state has said as much because -- no one talks about this, he wanted to get -- I know the vote's almost over. Four days after Mr. Bolton's nomination was announced, the secretary of state appointed someone else to handle the issue of U.N. reform.
On March 11th, the secretary appointed Dr. Tahir-Kheli to, quote, "serve as the secretary's senior adviser and chief interlocutor on U.N. reform, in collaboration with the assistant secretary for international organizations. Dr. Tahir-Kheli reports directly to the secretary of state."
Continuing, the secretary said, "She will engage the U.N. secretary general and the secretary on U.N. reform efforts including the high-level panel report and the report of the secretary general on reform."
She will coordinate within the State Department and the interagency community the U.S. government's position on reform.
So much for that being the rationale for why Bolton was appointed. I understand why people would say that. It's the last straw, I think, you can grasp at.
The press release makes no mention -- the secretary's press release makes no mention of Mr. Bolton or the U.N. ambassador.
So let's not kid each other. It's not about U.N. reform, it's about whether the appointment of Mr. Bolton is in the national interest.
Is it in national interest to have, as some Republican administration official has characterized, have a bully -- their words -- and a lousy leader -- their words -- running our mission in New York with 150 people who need strong leadership.
Concluding, Mr. President, Mr. Chairman, I don't believe it's in the national interest to have an ideologue who appears to have no governor on his internal engine representing the United States at the U.N.
Is it in the national interest to have someone who has a reputation for exaggerating intelligence, seeking and speaking for the U.N. when the next crisis arises, whether it's Iran or Syria? And it will arise.
We have already lost a lot of credibility at home and abroad after the fiasco over the intelligence on Iraq, and Mr. Bolton is not the man to help us to rebuild it.
He's the wrong choice. We can do a lot better. And I think an awful lot of our colleagues know that, notwithstanding the administration wanting him.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman. I don't know how much time is left to the hour we had.
LUGAR: The senator has at least 13 minutes, but we just said more or less...
BIDEN: I'd like to yield to my friend Senator Sarbanes. He's my friend too -- to Senator Sarbanes as much time as he needs.
SENATOR PAUL S. SARBANES (D-Md.): Mr. Chairman?
LUGAR: Senator Sarbanes?
SARBANES: Mr. Chairman, I want to take just a moment or two of the committee's time, at the outset, to read the names of those who have served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in order to set some context in thinking about this nomination: Warren Austin, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., James Wadsworth, Adlai Stevenson, Arthur Goldberg, George W. Ball, James Russell Wiggins, Charles Yost, George Bush, John Scali, Daniel P. Moynihan, William W. Scranton, Andrew J. Young, Donald F. McHenry, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Vernon Walters, Thomas Pickering, Edward Joseph Perkins, Madeleine Albright, Bill Richardson, Richard Holbrooke, John Negroponte and John Danforth.
Now, I do this to underscore the importance of the U.N. ambassadorship, and it's an importance that I think has been recognized in prior administrations. In fact, in some administrations, the U.N. ambassador has been given Cabinet status. Not in all, but in some, the position has been elevated to Cabinet status.
It's a very highly visible position, and our ambassador to the U.N. is, in effect, our spokesman in so many ways to the world.
Now, this has been underscored, the importance of the U.N., by these selections.
The U.N. makes decisions that affect war and peace. It has a vital role in advancing U.S. foreign policy objectives, if we're skillful in exercising our leadership at the U.N. It helps to determine whether the United States will have international support and allies or will be forced to undertake difficult missions on its own in the face of broad opposition across the globe.
The United Nations is a forum for making our case to the world, for demonstrating international leadership and building multilateral cooperation.
Our representatives at the United Nations must be men and women of exceptional integrity and credibility who can listen and persuade, whose counsel and leadership other nations will seek and rely on.
This is a very important position, and the quality of the previous ambassadors demonstrates that that is how it's been so regarded in administration after administration, whether Democratic or Republican.
Now, over a number of years, Mr. Bolton has demonstrated outright hostility for the United Nations as an institution and for the legitimacy of international law.
He has argued repeatedly that the U.S. has no legal obligation to pay its dues to the United Nations, that treaties are nothing more than political commitments.
He called the Law of the Sea Treaty, which has been endorsed by our military and submitted by President Bush as an urgent priority for Senate advice and consent, an illegitimate method of forcing fundamental policy changes on the United States outside the customary political process.
He is quoted as saying that it is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short- term interest to do so, because over the long term the goal of those who think that international law really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States.
To send someone as our ambassador to the United Nations who does not demonstrate a basic respect for the institution and its legal foundations, is a disservice to our national interests.
This has nothing to do with whether you're going to carry out reforms at the U.N. or more closely monitor its activities. This represents very basic questions about one's mindset about the United States, about the United Nations and about international law.
Secondly, I think it's very clear that Mr. Bolton does not have the diplomatic skills or indeed the demeanor to represent our country effectively.
There are certainly moments when the situation may call for bluntness, when abandoning diplomatic niceties can convey the urgency of a particular issue or position.
However, Mr. Bolton has shown a propensity for making extreme and provocative statements that have caused unnecessary conflict and confrontation.
Does it help us in trying to shape the direction in which the U.N. is to move when Mr. Bolton says that the Security Council should have one permanent member, the United States, because that's the real reflection of the distribution of power in the world?
Does anyone think that Mr. Bolton's assertion that if the U.N. secretariat building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference? Does that help us in persuading other countries to support U.N. reform efforts?
These are not isolated misstatements or slips of the tongue, but rather his customary and consistent approach to dealing with others who disagree with him.
Even given the opportunity to demonstrate a less confrontational approach, he has repeatedly declined to do so.
Mr. Bolton, time and time again has shown himself singularly lacking in the willingness to hear, to consider and to respect opposing points of view.
Contrast that attitude with these comments to the committee in their confirmation hearings by Ambassador Moynihan and by Ambassador Kirkpatrick.
Now, I might note, Mr. Chairman, that all of these previous nominees to be U.N. ambassador were approved by overwhelming votes in the committee and on the floor of the United States Senate. Not a one of them had a close vote -- many of them unanimous -- and in the instances where it wasn't, only a handful of votes.
Pat Moynihan, in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- and I set out these quotes to contrast them with all the testimony we've received about how Mr. Bolton carries on his activities -- said, and I quote, "A certain principled statement of views on both sides can be useful. It requires that we respect what others think and try to understand what they think and ask that they do the same in return.
"Things where we disagree are marginal compared with where we do agree. And yet it is so easy to grow estranged at the first problem. The first question is how to get away from a confrontation system back to the quest for understanding in a situation where this is wholly possible and entirely necessary."
And Ambassador Kirkpatrick, in her confirmation hearing before this committee, said, and I quote, "I do not think that one should ever seek confrontation. What I have every intention and hope of doing is to operate in a low-key, quiet, persuasive and consensus- building way."
Now, thirdly -- and I want to speak to the prospects of Mr. Bolton's credibility as our spokesperson at the United Nations -- the material's been quite extensively developed, and I will not go into it in detail here. But it's clear that he's attempted to politicize intelligence in a way that I think has harmed our nation's diplomacy.
He sought to transfer two intelligence analysts who disagreed with him on substantive manners. There was such a feeling of fear and intimidation in the department that the secretary of state actually visited with the analysts to give them reassurance.
He's repeatedly attempted to stretch the facts to back his own ideological predispositions.
In a testimony here, when you had the hearing, he denied that he tried to have analysts punished or to discipline a CIA employee or that he sought retribution against employees for dissenting views.
He told us, and I quote, "I shrugged my shoulders and I moved on," and his attempts to have them reassigned were rebuffed.
And yet we have learned from extensive interviews with numerous administrative any months after he supposedly made his point and moved on.
That he was ultimately unsuccessful does not speak for Mr. Bolton. The question is not solely whether the truth is in the results, what it speaks to is the steadiness is determination of those professionals who withstood his demands, who refused to bend to this inordinate pressure that he was applying.
Given this conduct, when he goes before the U.N. to make a statement about evidence of nuclear weapons production or terrorist plot or whatever it may be, who's going to believe him knowing that he repeatedly punished intelligence analysts who delivered contradictory information; knowing that he is the kind of person who as Robert Hutchings, the former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, put it, "took isolated facts and made much more of them to build a case than I thought the intelligence warranted; he was a cherry picker of little factoids and little isolated bits that were drawn out to present the starkest possible case"?
We need a credible spokesman at the United Nations, and this past conduct on his part casts serious doubt.
Finally, Mr. Bolton's poor administrative and management skills, in my view, make him unfit to exercise a senior leadership role.
The testimony from Carl Ford, assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research, has previously been referred to. He said that, "In my experience, throughout my time in the executive branch, I've really never seen someone so abusive to such a subordinate person."
He said he didn't have anyone else in mind who even comes close to John Bolton in terms of the way that he abuses his power and his authority with little people.
Larry Wilkerson, who was Secretary Powell's chief of staff, described to the committee staff the kinds of problems he had on a daily basis in dealing with Bolton:
"Assistant secretaries, principal deputy assistant secretaries, acting assistant secretaries coming into my office and telling me, 'Can I sit down?'
"And I would say to them, 'Sure, sit down. What's the problem?'
"'I've got to leave.'
"'What's the problem?'
When asked if he got similar complaints about other undersecretaries, he replied, "On one occasion, on one particular individual. The rest were all about Undersecretary Bolton."
In summarizing his experience with Bolton, Wilkerson stated, "I think he's a lousy leader. And there are 100 to 150 people up there that have to be led. They have to be led well, and they have to be led properly."
Being ambassador to the United Nations is not just a representational job; it's also a managerial job. There are 125 full- time permanent State Department employees working there at our mission, alongside of numerous detailees from other agencies and departments. The ambassador has supervisory responsibility over all these people.
Most are career civil servants, and they are there to represent the policies of our president and to serve the interests of our nation.
What are they going to do up there in New York if John Bolton repeats the kind of abusive behavior that led people in the State Department, under incredible duress, to seek the support and counsel of their assistant secretaries and the deputy secretary and the secretary's chief of staff? There will be no one in New York to shield them from the wrath and vindictiveness of John Bolton.
Mr. Chairman, let me just say, because to some, now it's a favorite pastime to assault the United Nations, but the United Nations has a very important role to play. Skillful U.S. leadership can enhance our national interest in very significant ways. And part of that skillful leadership is to send an ambassador who has the skill and the wisdom and all of the other talents that are essential to carrying out his responsibilities in an effective manner.
I think this nominee falls far short of that standard. And that is why I oppose his confirmation.
And let me just add a word on my respect for those witnesses who came forward.
Now, Senator Biden's absolutely right. These people, in effect, volunteered themselves to give what they felt would be an accurate view of Mr. Bolton's behavior, particularly his interpersonal behavior.
It took a lot of courage, in my view, for people like Carl Ford and Mr. Wilkerson, Mr. Hutchings, Ambassador Hubbard and others to come forward.
I'm concerned that they're going to pay a price for that for a very brave action. I deeply regret if that should turn out to be the case. I think their motive in coming was the national interest of their country.
In that sense, I think they were true patriots. They had nothing to gain by opposing the nomination. In fact, they have much to lose.
They clearly were not ideologues with an ax to grind. In fact, they were very supportive of the policies of the president.
But they felt that it was their duty as loyal Americans and as public servants, to tell the truth and to follow their consciences, and I respect that.
And I want to place that on the record and to thank them for this service to their country.
Thank you very much.
LUGAR: Well, thank you very much, Senator Sarbanes.
Let me ask the clerk how much time now remains on both sides.
An hour and 32 minutes remains on both sides each. OK. Very well.
I recognize Senator Allen, the distinguished senator from Virginia.
SENATOR GEORGE ALLEN (R-Va.): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for your patience and the professional manner in which you have handled this nomination. You've maintained, I believe, a great sense of fairness and full disclosure, which I think is in the interest of this committee, the American people and also this nominee.
The situation here is one where I know some on the other side of the aisle will be quoting Senator Voinovich. And some seem to worry about these interpersonal skills. You hear of worries and concerns about John Bolton's speech characterizing living in North Korea as a hellish nightmare -- I will remind folks that then the North Koreans said that he was human scum.
The reality is, as I would think that it is a hellish nightmare to have to live in North Korea, and this committee has had hearings about how awful it is for those who actually do get to escape. They go to China and then China sends them back to be tortured or worse.
I also will note, just for the history, in some of the cases, from some of the colleagues on this committee, in 2001 when John Bolton was nominated for undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, before all these concerns about speechwriting and -- interpersonal skills is the phrase used -- arose, many of them voted against him then, and I would take note of that.
I appreciate the opportunity to discuss John Bolton and his qualifications actually to serve as ambassador to the United Nations.
What has been lost, Mr. Chairman, though, in this debate, virtually from the very beginning, is the desperate need for reform in the United Nations.
The testimony before the committee and subsequent interviews conducted by staff -- in all of this, there's virtually no mention or discussion of what needs to be done to reform the United Nations.
I do believe, contrary to my colleague from Maryland, Senator Sarbanes, that John Bolton does have the skills. He has the wisdom to effectuate these changes; more importantly, he also has the principles.
I think he's the right person to unflinchingly lead those changes as our representative.
Rather than focusing on all these innuendoes and assertions against John Bolton and worrying about, gosh, the people whose sensibilities are easily offended, and this fascination with how speeches are crafted, and noting that he said the same thing about Cuban biological weapons capabilities as did Mr. Ford, we ought to focus -- the one who really ought to be getting the scrutiny is the United Nations.
The United Nations is the one that we need to worry about them straying. And rather than worrying about controlling John Bolton, I'd prefer to pursue the U.N. abuse and their anti-Americanism. And I'm much more concerned about the United Nations being used as a front for dictatorships and terrorism.
The United Nations -- we've just witnessed scandal after scandal being uncovered. Unfortunately, these are not things that can be addressed very easily by internal changes. They are issues that have shaken the credibility of the United Nations body and caused many of our citizens here in the United States -- and, indeed, people around the world -- to wonder whether the United Nations has any real relevance or redeeming role in world affairs.
The United Nations was founded on many principles, one of which was to promote universal human rights and freedoms for all people. And while the United Nations does a number of admirable things, it's also beholden to tyrants and dictators and repressive regimes in certain circumstances.
Not considering even the scandals, this is an organization that has allowed the world's worst violators of human rights to chair the commission on human rights. When the U.S. has made a commitment to the spread of freedom and justice throughout the world, it's difficult for our citizens to see the United Nations as anything but a waste of their tax dollars when countries like Libya and Sudan chair the Human Rights Commission.
And, just recently, just last week, Zimbabwe, selected as a member of the Human Rights Commission, surely not an indication that Secretary General Kofi Annan's call for reform on the commission of human rights is being heeded.
We're public servants. Obviously we have to make decisions here.
We're also stewards of the taxpayers money. The United States is the largest contributor. And that's something that Senator Helms and Senator Biden worked out in the funding of the United Nations. Over $2 billion a year, just for their regular budget it's $439 million. But over $2 billion a year goes to the United Nations. Twenty two percent of their funding comes from American taxpayers.
As the largest contributor to the United nations, we ought to hold them accountable to certain principles and certain policies. One principle surely should be the commission on human rights and to have reasonable requirements that human rights are actually honored in the countries who serve on that commission.
I think all Americans want reforms enacted that would prevent future abuse programs such as the oil-for-food scandal that allowed Saddam and his thugs to skim off $20 billion.
We ought to hole the U.N. peacekeepers who commit crimes against children accountable. The American people, I think, demand swift and severe action against this. And indeed if our United States government had ever done anything like this our citizens would certainly hold our government countable, and we certainly ought to do the same with the United nations.
We have to look to work with like-minded reformers at the U.N. to make sure policies are implemented to prevent similar abuses in the future.
And reform is what is what is necessary. The United Nations is in a crisis, and our country and our taxpayers have a strong interest in seeing it emerge as a credible and relevant institution once again.
United Nations Security Council and International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, they're very needed for discussing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the actions that are needed to be taken to ensure that rogue nations do not acquire those weapons.
We've seen in recent years that the United Nations can provide an important role in helping spread democracy and build societies that have been ruined by decades of depression and tyranny.
The United Nations has an important role to play in the future of global affairs and security. But it only can do so if it takes serious steps to reform from the extraordinary corruption and ineptitude that has plagued it in recent years.
Now, John Bolton's qualifications: He comes to this nomination with a broad and deep knowledge of international affairs, from his early days as general counsel to the United States Agency for International Development, under the Reagan administration, to his most post, of course, as undersecretary of state for arms control and international affairs.
In all these situations, Mr. Bolton has spent a great deal of time -- and his professional life -- working on U.S. foreign policy and devising strategies to carry out effectively that policy.
Some have criticized John Bolton as being a rigid unilateralist who's incapable of building consensus with allies. However, his service in this administration shows otherwise.
Mr. Bolton led the United States negotiations to develop President Bush's Proliferation Security Initiative. That brought in 60 countries to work with us to help stop or interdict the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and related materials worldwide and also delivery systems.
To further combat nuclear proliferation, Mr. Bolton helped create the global partnership at the G-8 summit in Canada. This partnership doubled the size of the nonproliferation effort in the former Soviet Union, by committing our G-8 partners to match the United States $1 billion per year Cooperative Threat Reduction, or Nunn-Lugar, program.
He also played a central role in negotiating the Treaty of Moscow, which will reduce operationally deployed nuclear weapons by two-thirds.
As assistant secretary of state for international organizations, John Bolton lead an effort to have the United Nations change its odious resolution which likened Zionism to racism. And it is hard to get the United Nations or any group to rescind a resolution, but he was able to do that. So he does have the knowledge. He does have the experience to effectively represent the United States in the United Nations and also negotiate the changes that need to be made to ensure its relevancy in the future.
Now, a few here may not agree with his forthright critique of the United Nations and its failing. But it's clear to me that Mr. Bolton has placed a great deal of thought into his views. And, in fact, I think his views are born out by the actions or lack of actions by the United Nations.
I think the American people want someone at the United Nations who pushes strongly for reform and is not going to be seduced by flowery, evasive pontifications from those bureaucrats.
Senator Biden said, "Well, who was he thinking of? And maybe Mr. Bolton should have had another position." Well, President Bush was elected and that's who he thought should be in this position. And I think -- I'll say it for myself: I think John Bolton is the type of person or someone like him should be in this position.
We are not electing Mr. Congeniality. We do not need Mr. Milquetoast in the United Nations. We're not electing Mr. Peepers to go there and just be really happy, and drinking tea with their pinkies up and just saying all these meaningless things when we do need a straight talker, and someone who's going to go there and shake it up.
And it needs shaking up. It needs reform. We can't just keep spending $2 billion a year of the taxpayers' money and have the sort of fraud, abuse, lack of accountability, propping up dictators, funneling money to corrupt regimes, whether it's Saddam's or others'.
And so, I know that this has been a confirmation process that we haven't seen -- at least, I haven't, and I haven't been here as long as many in the Senate.
And we've pursued all these wild claims. They've been exaggerations. The concerns of Mr. Westermann or any of these folks in the speechcrafting. The point of the matter: They're all in their jobs. I think they're more secure and safe now; that if any of them ever had anyone reduce their position, it would be looked upon as retribution. So I think in the grievance procedures they're safer than ever.
I thought Mr. Ford was a very engaging, likable individual, but the bottom line was he wasn't in the meeting when the supposed finger- wagging was going on. He couldn't remember whether or not the word "fire" was used.
The bottom line is all these people are still in their positions.
The exaggerated innuendo that came up in the last hearing from Ms. Townsel -- I'm not going to repeat all the adequately rebutted arguments of our chairman, but Ms. Townsel certainly did not have much credibility and the facts simply were not as she represented; in fact, clearly were not true.
So while we've gone through these overly hyped charges, I think they have been refuted. And that, really, they don't have much bearing, at least in my view, to say there's any compelling reason that John Bolton is not the right person to actually represent the interest, the principles and desires of the American people in the United Nations.
I do think the president has selected wisely in John Bolton.
Now, the way that this is going to proceed, after the last hearing we had, where we played for second down -- as I understand it, the goal here, Mr. Chairman, to somehow vote on John Bolton's nomination and to get him to proceed to the Senate floor where this debate will continue for all of our colleagues.
And so I'm encouraged that, notwithstanding some of the concerns the senator from Ohio has about Senator Bolton -- I thank him for allowing this nomination to proceed to the Senate floor. And we have moved the ball down field.
And I thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for your courtesy and your steady, fair leadership on this issue, as well as others.
BIDEN: We're looking for an onsides kick.
ALLEN: Say what?
BIDEN: We're looking for an onsides kick.
ALLEN: We just got a first down. Haven't scored yet.
LUGAR: Thank you, Senator Allen. Senator Biden, would you designate...
BIDEN: We have, as I say to my colleagues, as I understand it, roughly 15 minutes for all the remaining members each. And if others don't show, then the time we can move back. So if we can try to stay on 15.
DODD: Thank you. In fact, if you'd put the clock on here, I may try to even make it briefer than that.
BIDEN: Is that possible, to stick the clock on...
DODD: Clock on, so we can keep an eye on our...
DODD: Why don't you put it on for 10...
BIDEN: Put it on for 10.
DODD:... and then try and wrap it up there.
BIDEN: It will help us.
DODD: First of all, Mr. Chairman, let me begin by thanking you, Senator Biden, and your respective staffs.
It's been over a month, a month ago yesterday, that we had the public hearing, and then of course this month-long period in which a tremendous amount of work has been done by the committee staff. And I would not want the moment here to pass without expressing our gratitude to the people who sit behind us here who spent a lot of long hours over the last month in gathering the information they have.
So I want them to know how much I appreciate the efforts that you made on behalf of us who sit here on the front seats.
I appreciate as well the chairman's comments during his opening remarks about some of my views regarding presidential appointees and the process of confirmation.
I went back and tried to calculate, because of some accusations that I was a serial abuser when it came to presidential nominees, and over the 24 years, serving eight years under Republican administration and eight years under a Democratic administration, on senior-level people, I've voted on, one way or another, close to 7,000 presidential appointees. And of those 7,000, there were 52 that I voted against.
Three or four of those I've written letters and apologized to because I voted against them when I shouldn't have, and I wrote them letters. Everett Koop is one that comes to mind immediately. I voted Everett Koop and regretted afterwards having done so and expressed to him in a letter some months later.
So I am of a mind, not unlike my friend and colleague from Ohio, and I think most of us here, I think we generally like to be supportive of presidential choices. I think that doesn't mean you shouldn't object where you think it's appropriate to do, but as a general matter, I think we like to defer, particularly when it comes to a Cabinet or people who are going to be part of the official family, if you will, of an administration.
These are all significant people, who have all said to us in their own words, one way or the other, "This is a bad choice."
And I just think it's important that these people, whether you agree with them or not, that it's important that we encourage who feel like this to express themselves to a committee like us here.
And so I hope that, regardless of the outcome of this, that there will be an appreciation of the work that they've done.
And, Mr. Chairman, as you know, the very first question I asked on the April 11th hearing -- in fact, it was the very first question the chairman asked at that hearing -- had to do with what has been my principal concern from the very beginning. It's been said by others here today, but let me just repeat it.
If this were a question of a person's style, I think Senator Voinovich made a strong case that can be made about whether or not this kind of a style is what you want for someone serving as an ambassador to the United Nations.
But that's not my objection. I think if we get into the business here of deciding to be for or against people because of their styles, this is not going to be terribly successful in terms of we relate to them, depending upon the position. Although, I don't disagree with his concerns about public diplomacy, as my colleague has expressed them.
My concern is that we've just come through an incredible period in American history where major decisions were made about this nation's foreign policy based on the intelligence we are receiving. People are losing their lives every single day in a far off land here, because there was a firm belief, based on the intelligence we had, that weapons of mass destruction existed.
Now, put aside whether or not you think it's right or wrong for us to be there today. The reason -- the reason -- that we voted the way we did on that issue was because it was the collective wisdom of the intelligence community that weapons of mass destruction existed.
We now know that not to be the case.
In the case of Mr. Bolton, putting aside his personality, putting aside his style, the fact that he tried to fire -- and there is just -- I don't know how many witnesses you need to have stand up here to tell you that that's exactly what he did despite what he claimed to do. He tried to fire intelligence analysts because they would not conform to what he wanted to say that represented the position of the United States in a public speech.
We now have further evidence -- my colleagues and some of them said, "I need further information." During the 30 interviews that occurred over the past 30 days we discovered e-mails and additional information that in fact, contradict rather significantly what Mr. Bolton said before this committee on April 11th, that it wasn't just a casual trip to the CIA.
It wasn't just ended there. In fact there was significant efforts to penalize, in fact, some of these people, including taking away their building privileges or their identification to go into the State Department. It had got so petty that it went beyond just a casual conversation with the CIA.
That's my major concern here. If we can't make a statement to all future nominees, who may be serving in critical positions today, if you do this you disqualify yourself, in my view. Whatever ever other issues may arise, if you do this, if you try to fire people because you didn't like what they had to say, in a supervisory position, that disqualifies you in my view -- I don't care whether you're a Democrat in the White House, a Republican in the White House, anyone who does that.
And my concern is not just that they may be rewarded with a position but what it does down in the positions. Mr. Bolton said I lost confidence in Mr. Westerman. To lose confidence in someone presupposes you had confidence in them previously.
There's no evidence at all that Mr. Bolton had any idea who Mr. Westerman was. In fact, on the chart back here, as I pointed out to the committee back on the day we had the markup on this nomination, Mr. Bolton's position is a senior policy position. Mr. Westerman was down as a GS-14 in the analyst office.
He didn't know Mr. Westerman. How do you lose confidence in someone you have no idea even exist until you've discovered they've told you you can't say what you want to say? Losing confidence in someone, that wasn't the reason that he decided he wanted to fire him.
He didn't want some GS-14 telling a presidential appointee that he couldn't say what he wanted to say and he said, "I'm going to fire you or try to fire you for doing it."
That's what Carl Ford said here. That's what the chief of staff of Mr. Bolton said. That's what every single person, who had any knowledge of this case told this committee, either in testimony provided by the staff or in front of this committee itself.
That's why more than any other reason I that I can think of this nominee does not deserve the support of this committee.
Now, let me just make one further point here. And I won't go into all the details; the information is there, the interviews are public.
I gather, based on what my colleague from Ohio has said here -- I noticed he's left the room here, I'm going to talk about something he's said. But, Mr. Chairman, there's a reason why committees exist in the Senate., and that is -- and I'd ask to be able to go on here -- there's a reason why committees exist in the Senate.
Our colleagues defer -- we defer to each other, because there's no way 100 people can sit and be busy on every single issue.
And so we are asked to draw judgments.
I only know of one case -- and I'm sure the staff will contradict me if I'm wrong -- but only case in my 24 years where the committee has sent without recommendation a nominee to the floor of the Senate. I think it was the case of Kenneth Edelman (ph) -- I believe -- but maybe there are -- I'm told that's not the case. Maybe someone has a different example.
The point is, it's been very, very rare, in my experience, because we're the ones who have to the work here, and our colleagues, I think, would like to rely on us to some degree.
Now, I know, it's done from time to time. It's not without precedent. But I think we're deluding ourselves that our colleagues are going to spend as much time as we have on this issue. They may listen to us on the floor.
But in some ways, these matters are painful and difficult to deal with. But we bear responsibility to our colleagues and, I think, to the public to move on here.
I don't think we're serving the president well, I don't think we're serving our role of the United Nations well. This is going to drag on. This nominee may go to the floor -- we're going to be on floor with this, and it's not going to be a short debate on the floor. It's going to go on. And I don't think our interests are being well- served by doing that.
This is a painful choice to have to make to someone -- painful for their families. I understand that. But I would hope the committee might reconsider, if the decision is not to support this nominee, then it ought to end here -- end here. And invite the president to send us someone.
And let me say to my friend from Virginia, who's also left the room -- I shouldn't take this as an insult -- there are plenty of good people to fill this job. The idea that there's only one individual who can do the job that needs to be done at the United Nations is, to quote my friend from Ohio, nonsense.
I could pick out five or six names off the top of my head that are bona fide, conservative, blunt Republicans who would serve well in the United Nations and help do the things that need to be done there.
The idea that John Bolton's the only person is an insult in a way to the leadership of the Republican Party that no one else could possibly fulfill this role at all.
And we owe it to the American public, we owe it to ourselves, let's end this matter and let's move on to the more serious business we must deal with: major policy issues and filling these jobs that need to be filed to get the job done.
I thank the chairman.
LUGAR: Thank you very much, Senator Dodd.