Bolton Should Be Denied Clearance
Newly appointed national security advisor John Bolton is anything but new when it comes to his efforts to foment war—anywhere and everywhere possible. Phil Giraldi says the warmonger Bolton, “supremely sure of himself and possessing a tendency to do what he considers expedient without regard for consequences, cannot be relied upon to do the right thing when it comes to national security” and, based on his record, should not be given security clearance.
By Philip Giraldi
Much of the criticism of the appointment of John Bolton as national security advisor focuses on his record as a warmonger, a man who believes that any complex foreign problem can and should be resolved by force in support of the principle that the United States knows best how other countries should govern themselves.
The Israeli liberal newspaper Ha’aretz, dismayed over how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government were overjoyed at the appointment, described Bolton as “Dr. Strangelove with a whiff of Apocalypse Now,” before observing ruefully how he “has yet to meet a war he didn’t love, a rival he didn’t want to destroy, an enemy he didn’t seek to blow to smithereens, and an international conflict he didn’t believe could be solved by force of arms. He denigrates diplomacy, maligns multilateral organizations, yearns for the days, if they ever existed, that America told the world what to do and everyone saluted.”
Bolton, a leading architect of the Iraq war, rightly described as America’s worst foreign policy blunder ever, endorses that decision to this day. But it was more than a blunder. It was a war crime that in turn produced many other crimes to include torture, rendition, and black site prisons.Bolton’s inability to recognize defeat and failure marks him as an intelligent man locked into his own worldview who is completely unable to learn from his mistakes.
For the past 15 years, Bolton has consistently advocated bombing Iran and has connived at creating some casus belli, by false flag if necessary, to initiate fighting. He has even pressured America’s hawkish United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley to contrive some kind of confrontation to kill the successful Iran nuclear deal. Bolton’s nomination has many Americans rightly alarmed that he might initiate yet another endless cycle of costly and bloody military engagement in the Mideast.
Beyond the general concerns, however, one might consider Bolton’s impending access to the most highly classified intelligence information that the United States possesses due to his close personal relationship with Israel and its government, which appears to have included divulging classified information in the past. The Israeli connection is particularly sensitive because of the role of casino billionaire GOP funder Sheldon Adelson, who supported some of Bolton’s initiatives after he left the State Department in 2006. Bolton certainly knows how to return a favor, approving of Adelson’s suggestion to detonate a nuclear bomb in the Iranian desert, just to warn the Mullahs what might be coming.
Bolton’s regard for Israel has included activity that might have involved unauthorized disclosure of classified information when he was undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. He collaborated with the Israelis, often without telling his superiors in the State Department, to create a justification for a U.S. attack on Iran. The strategy to bring about a war included diplomatic pressure, crude propaganda, and the production of fabricated evidence by Mossad.
Despite the fact that Bolton was technically under the supervision of Secretary of State Colin Powell, he violated existing State Department regulations by taking a series of secret trips to Israel in 2003 and 2004 without the required clearance from the State Department’s Bureau for Near Eastern Affairs. Thus, when Powell was saying administration policy was not to attack Iran, Bolton was working with the Israelis to prepare for just such a war. During a February 2003 visit, Bolton assured Israeli officials in private meetings that he was certain that the United States would attack Iraq to take down Saddam before dealing with Iran as well as Syria.
During multiple trips to Israel, Bolton had unannounced meetings, including with the head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, without the usual reporting cable to the secretary of state. Those meetings involved crafting a joint strategy to bring about political conditions supporting an eventual U.S. strike against the Iranians.
Bolton, while serving as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, also supplied Israel with crucial information on American plans at the UN so as to redirect U.S. policy. Dan Gillerman, who served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN in 2006 when Bolton was U.S. ambassador, has described how “in more than one case, Ambassador Bolton called me and alerted me to the fact that his mission—the United States mission to the UN—was about to vote against Israel and asked that I alert the prime minister, who at that time was Ehud Olmert. In more than one case the prime minister called the president, who was then George W. Bush, and got him to overrule the State Department.”
Bolton was working with Israel to subvert positions being supported by the U.S. government, as in August 2006 when the UN Security Council was considering Resolution 1701, to end a month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Bolton warned the Israelis that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice planned to support the initiative. Gillerman reports, “In that case John Bolton got in touch with me at about 8 o’clock in the evening, which was 3 in the morning in Israel, calling to say ‘You have to call your prime minister and tell him that Condi Rice sold you out to the French.’ ”
All of the above is now part of the public record on Bolton. Some might consider what he did as treasonous. Given what we know about his last experience of high office, he should never again be cleared to have access to classified information since he would likely abuse that privilege to satisfy his own agenda. Bolton, supremely sure of himself and possessing a tendency to do what he considers expedient without regard for consequences, cannot be relied upon to do the right thing when it comes to national security. He should never be granted a security clearance and should never be placed in a position of authority that would again permit him to do mischief. Unfortunately, however, urging President Donald Trump to reverse the Bolton decision because of the grave damage it will inevitably do to the United States is not likely be received favorably by the White House.
Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi can be found on the website of the Unz Review.