So now Bush has sidestepped the Senate by appointing Bolton to the UN as a recess appointment. He stonewalled under “executive priviledge” and did not provide the documents asked for by the Senate. Problems and questions about Bolton that might have been resolved one way or another by providing such documents are: whether he was seeking secret information on rivals, whether he misled lawmakers about his role in compiling papers regarding Syria, whether he bullied/harassed officials and analysts who challenged his views, whether he also pressured intelligence analysts to support his views, and whether he silenced views that did not support his own even to the point of selectively choosing intelligence to support his assertions.
The Washington Post quotes Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, a senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as saying: “The president has done a real disservice to our nation by appointing an individual who lacks the credibility to further U.S. interests at the United Nations. I will be monitoring his performance closely to ensure that he does not abuse his authority as he has in the past.”
CNN quotes from a statement of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Massachusetts:
“The abuse of power and the cloak of secrecy from the White House continues. It’s bad enough that the administration stonewalled the Senate by refusing to disclose documents highly relevant to the Bolton nomination. It’s even worse for the administration to abuse the recess appointment power by making the appointment while Congress is in this five-week recess. It’s a devious maneuver that evades the constitutional requirement of Senate consent and only further darkens the cloud over Mr. Bolton’s credibility at the U.N.”
The State Department has acknowledged that Bolton lied to the Foreign Relations Committee when he asserted that he had not been interviewed as part of any investigation within the past five years. Its own inspector general interviewed Bolton as part of a joint probe by the State Department and CIA into alleged attempts by Iraq to procure uranium from Niger – another pivot point for supressing accurate information?
Bolton’s been busy doubling the office space and hiring more staff than is customary for the position. Bolton failed to get a Senate Foreign Relations Committee endorsement, nor did he gain enough Senate support for a confirmation vote – on two separate occasions.
A recess appointment puts Bolton – who one colleague referred to as a “quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy” – at the United Nations through the end of 2006 – or 2007 (I’ve seen both dates!).
Associated Press Writer Nick Wadhams fills in the part of the Annan quotation that seems to have been left off by some of the other media: “I think it is all right for one ambassador to come and push, but an ambassador always has to remember that there are 190 others who will have to be convinced, or a vast majority of them, for action to take place,” Annan said.
Don’t count on it Kofi – ve haff wayz of may-kingk you agree.