View Full Version : Reid: No Documents, No Bolton

06-09-2005, 08:31 PM
Reid: No documents, no Bolton


Thursday, June 9, 2005 Posted: 6:47 PM EDT (2247 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Democrats will not allow a vote on President Bush's choice for U.N. ambassador unless the White House hands over records of communications intercepts Bolton sought from the secretive National Security Agency, Minority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday.

"You can't ignore the Senate. We've told them what we've wanted. The ball is in his court," Reid, D-Nevada, told CNN. "If they want John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, give us this information. If they don't, there will be no Bolton."

The Senate fell four votes shy of the 60 needed to cut off debate on Bolton's nomination in May after two Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee urged their colleagues to hold the issue open. (Full story)

Sens. Joseph Biden, the ranking Democrat on the committee, and Christopher Dodd have demanded the Bush administration produce documents 10 National Security Agency communications intercepts that Bolton, the State Department's undersecretary for arms control, had requested since 2001.

White House Communications Director Nicole Devenish called Reid's stance "another effort to distract from the work that the people want to see done here in Washington."

"This request for additional information is clearly a stalling tactic, and one that I think the American people are growing weary of," she said.

But Reid said Bush is responsible for breaking the impasse -- not Democrats.

"The president is obstructing a vote on John Bolton," he said. "We've asked for simple information that Congresses over many decades that we have been in existence have been given by the White House."

The Senate confirmed Bolton for four previous government jobs dating back to the 1980s. But his nomination to the U.N. post has been more controversial, since he has been an outspoken critic of the world body in the past.

During a Federalist Society forum in 1994, Bolton said: "If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

The White House says Bolton's blunt style and skepticism about the United Nations is needed to promote reform within the organization. But opponents also have criticized his handling of the diplomatic standoffs over the nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea during the past four years.

The Foreign Relations Committee, in a rare move, sent his nomination to the full Senate without a recommendation, and Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich has urged colleagues to vote against Bolton's confirmation.

Bush criticized the delay last week, telling reporters that the information Democrats want was given to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas and ranking committee Democrat John Rockefeller, D-West Virginia.

But Democrats have tried to argue that lawmakers have a right to that information in order to make an informed decision on Bolton, who has been accused of threatening intelligence analysts whose conclusions did not match his. (Full story)

"We know very categorically that John Bolton tried to have fired two intelligence analysts because he didn't like the conclusions they reached about America's intelligence," Dodd told CNN's "Inside Politics" Wednesday.

"That, to me, is going way beyond the prerogatives of a policymaker here. Did he go further than that? I need to know the answers to those questions. I have a right to know it as a senator -- not me personally, but the Senate does."