WASHINGTON – Minority Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have taken up the most space in the panel's report on John Bolton (search), President Bush's nominee to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, but differences from Republican perspectives are perhaps even more pronounced.
The eight-page majority report recaps previous statements by Chairman Richard Lugar of Indiana, who hailed Bolton as "a highly qualified nominee with deep experience in U.N. affairs."
The 52-page footnoted minority report repeats Democrats' core allegations against Bolton, namely that he twisted intelligence and tried to punish analysts who challenged his views. They also argue that he misled lawmakers.
The minority report cites six previously undisclosed e-mails between Bolton's staff and that of former assistant secretary of state Otto Reich (search) in 2002, in which aides to the men who found fault with the work of a CIA analyst code named "Mr. Smith" contemplated asking then CIA Director George Tenet to replace him.
Evidently, no one ever approached Tenet and other agency officials declined to act.
Still, Democrats argue the e-mails show that Bolton misled the committee when he testified that he "had one part of one conversation with one person one time on 'Mr. Smith,' and that was it. I let it go."
The minority report ignores testimony by former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Jami Miscik, who said the analyst's career suffered not because of Bolton, but from "other issues" involving "Mr. Smith."
The minority report dwells at length on Bolton's confrontation with an analyst at the State Department's Intelligence and Research Bureau, the department's intelligence arm.
Bolton sought to have analyst Christian Westermann (search) transferred three years ago because he believed Westermann had "prejudiced" the intelligence community's review of a speech.
Citing Bolton's testimony that he "may have mentioned it to one or two other people, but then I shrugged my shoulders and I moved on," the minority report claims the nominee misled the panel. They point to three talks Bolton had with INR managers seeking Westermann's transfer.
But Democrats omit that on at least one occasion, Bolton renewed his request only after the INR manager asked "if there were issues or things which came up" involving his employees.
The trouble began when Fred Fleitz, the CIA officer on Bolton's staff, learned that Westermann had criticized the proposed language while circulating it to CIA and other agencies, but failed to so inform Bolton's office.
The Democratic report argues that Westermann "was not under any obligation to do so." But this ignores Fleitz's charge that when confronted Westermann "tried to claim he had not sent alternate language."
The dueling reports led to dueling predictions within each party.
"We feel very confident that the Republicans, all except for Senator Voinovich, will vote for him," said Sen. George Allen, R-Va.
"Each Democratic senator has not been asked how we would vote. I would expect overwhelmingly the majority would vote against him, and possibly all," countered Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., the ranking minority member on the panel.
Allen went on to express confidence that Republicans can muster the votes necessary to override the hold that Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has placed on the Bolton nomination. But that showdown won't occur until its counterpart over judicial nominees, which is currently being played out in the Senate, is resolved.
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' James Rosen.