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Friday, June 17, 2005

Harry Reid on Bolton and DSM

Hat tip to mzmolly at DU.

On Thursday, June 16th, Harry Reid added his voice to those Senators who have spoken out regarding the Downing Street Minutes (aka Downing Street Memo); drawing the connection between the information the Democrats have requested on John Bolton before allowing a vote on his nomination; and the implication by the DSM that intelligence was "hyped" to create the justification for the Iraq War.

From the Congressional Record, pp. S6670-S6671, which can be retrieved here by entering the page number.

The questions about Bolton:
We are not going on a fishing expedition in this instance. Democrats are seeking clearly defined and specific information about two very important issues that bear directly on John Bolton's fitness to represent this great country in the United Nations. I know what a fishing expedition is. A fishing expedition is, for example, in the law when one does a deposition or sends interrogatories and they have no idea what the answers are going to be, they have no idea what information they are really seeking to obtain, they hope something will turn up. That is not the case here because we have given two important areas where we want information: Did Mr. Bolton attempt to exaggerate what Congress and the American people would be told about Syria's alleged weapons of mass destruction capabilities? Secondly, did Mr. Bolton use or maybe perhaps misuse highly classified intelligence intercepts to spy on bureaucratic rivals who disagreed with his views or for other inappropriate purposes?

Summarized: Dems are interested in two key questions about John Bolton:
  1. Did Mr. Bolton attempt to exaggerate what Congress and the American people would be told about Syria's alleged weapons of mass destruction capabilities?

  2. ...did Mr. Bolton use or maybe perhaps misuse highly classified intelligence intercepts to spy on bureaucratic rivals who disagreed with his views or for other inappropriate purposes?

Why is the DSM relevant to the questions surrounding Bolton's nomination:
All over the news the last 2 days has been concerns about weapons of mass destruction by virtue of the memo that was discovered in England. Concerns about this administration hyping intelligence and Great Britain hyping intelligence cannot be dismissed lightly.

U.S. troops are fighting in Iraq today largely because this administration told the Congress and the American people that Iraq not only possessed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction but was also capable of using them against us and our allies.

U.S. troops are fighting in Iraq today. In the last 48 hours, 11 American soldiers have been killed. During that same period of time, I do not know the exact count, but well over 100 Iraqis have been killed. During that same 48-hour period, I do not know how many American soldiers have been grievously injured. I have no idea how many Iraqis have been paralyzed, blinded, or lost limbs. It is serious.

But we have learned since the war that the administration's own investigator concluded Iraq did not possess either the stockpiles or the means of delivery. Just as importantly, there are a series of unanswered questions about whether senior officials in this administration dramatically and intentionally hyped this threat to justify their desire to invade Iraq. So one can see why we believe it is no small matter for us to learn whether Mr. Bolton was a party to other efforts to hype intelligence.

Good job, Senator Reid!

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