Bolton and Cuba

BOLTON AND CUBA….Douglas Jehl writes in the New York Times today about “recently declassified” email exchanges between John Bolton’s staff and various intelligence officials. On the personal abuse front, here’s an exchange between Christian Westermann, the State Department’s top expert on biological weapons, and Thomas Fingar, State’s #2 intelligence official. The subject is Cuba’s development of biological weapons:

  • Westermann to Fingar: “Personal attacks, harassment and impugning of my integrity” by Mr. Bolton and Mr. Fleitz are “now affecting my work, my health and dedication to public service.”

  • Fingar to Westermann: “I am dismayed and disgusted that unwarranted personal attacks are affecting you in this way.”

On the abuse of intelligence front, here’s an email regarding a speech Bolton wanted to give about Cuba in 2002:

  • Westermann to Fleitz (one of Bolton’s assistants): “As you are probably aware, C.I.A. is not able to complete the cleared-language request on Cuba B.W. for use in Mr. Bolton’s upcoming speech. The demarche coordinator told me this evening that C.I.A., N.S.A., I.N.R, and D.I.A. had several difficulties with the proposed language and that C.I.A. is trying to craft an answer to you.”

Hmmm, that’s pretty much all the intelligence agencies, isn’t it?

Read the whole thing. It’s not really a smoking gun, but it’s pretty clear that Bolton was hell bent on saying whatever he wanted to say about Cuba, regardless of what every intelligence agency in town was telling him about our actual state of knowledge.

I give him until Tuesday, maybe Wednesday. At that point I suspect Bolton will develop a sudden desire to spare the country and the president a divisive confirmation debate. The whip marks will be barely visible.