Friday, May 06, 2005

Another Showdown Looming on Bolton

Six days before the scheduled committee meeting, delays in producing requested documents could scuttle the agreement to vote on the nomination of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations on May 12. The Financial Times is following the story:
As under-secretary of state for arms control, Mr Bolton made 10 requests to the NSA to obtain the names of US officials blanked out in intelligence reports.
John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, is currently deciding whether to release the information.
“The office of the DNI is in discussions with the chairman of the intelligence committee to determine the best way to meet the committee's needs,” said a government official, who declined to say whether the intelligence committee would allow the foreign relations committee access.
Earlier this week Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar wrote a letter to Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice that omits several items that Democrats consider important to the investigation. (The Washington Note has more on this.) Yesterday, ranking member Joe Biden wrote Rice a letter that spells out the importance of all of the requested documents:
The Chairman and I disagree about the extent, but not the fact, of their relevance. If more time is needed to produce these documents, please let me know.
I also wanted to make sure that you know the basis upon which I committed to move forward with a Committee meeting and vote on this nomination on May 12. As I wrote to the Chairman April 22, that commitment "is predicated on my expectation, as I stated on Tuesday [April 19, at the first Committee business meeting on the nomination] that the Executive Branch will cooperate in providing access to witnesses and documents.
Assuming such cooperation, I will not seek to delay consideration of the nomination in the Committee beyond May 12, and I will urge my colleagues strongly to do the same."
My Democratic colleagues and I would consider the failure to produce the requested documents in a timely manner a lack of cooperation.

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