Today in the Senate, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) delivered a fiery speech calling for the Senate to filibuster U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.
Dodd said Bolton had earned a “failing grade” for his work as ambassador and had already “largely burned his bridges with his colleagues” at the United Nations. Moreover, he said Bolton’s effort to have two intelligence analysts fired after they refused to support his conclusions had “endangered our national security” and were “so outrageous that they show that Mr. Bolton does not even deserve a vote.” Watch it:
According to BoltonWatch, Bolton’s opponents may already have enough votes to block him.
DODD: When the tally is taken on how effective Mr. Bolton has been at the UN, in my view he gets a failing grade overall. Mr. President, these are key positions that help to strengthen the United States, and yet in case after case, from reform to Darfur to North Korea to the U.N. Human Rights Council, critical issues to strengthen the United States, our ambassador failed to get the kind of results that are critically important.
But Mr. President there’s more.
On the basis of those issues, I would urge my colleagues to vote against Mr. Bolton. But I’m going to go a step further, Mr. President, because I believe that other actions taken by Mr. Bolton are so outrageous that they show that Mr. Bolton does not even deserve a vote, in my view.
There’s Mr. Bolton’s well documented attempts to manipulate intelligence to suit his world view and to seek the removal of at least two intelligence analysts who wouldn’t play ball. When these analysts refused to support intelligence conclusions not supported by available intelligence, Mr. Bolton mounted a concerted effort to have them fired. The fact that they weren’t removed doesn’t excuse his actions. Now, Mr. President, I don’t mind a heated debate. I don’t mind people having serious disagreements with conclusions of people. But when you attempt to fire lower-level employees who are responsible for gathering intelligence for the United States because you don’t like the results, that is dangerous business indeed.
His behavior endangered our national security because it goes to the very heart of what we depend on to protect that security — unbiased and professional intelligence collection and analysis. Mr. Bolton stepped way over the line and committed an offense so grievous in my view that it warrants that this Senate deny him an up or down vote on the nomination.
In concluding, Mr. President, I would return to a point that I made earlier, namely that Mr. Bolton has largely burned his bridges with his colleagues in New York and isn’t likely to be an effective diplomat when diplomacy is increasingly becoming the coin of the realm in protecting and advancing US interests at this very unstable moment in history.
Fifty nine former US ambassadors and diplomats who have served in five administrations agree — yesterday they sent a letter to the Foreign Relations Committee in opposition to the nomination.
They recognized as I do that at this critical moment in our nation’s future, the President should put the nation’s interest first and nominate an individual with strong diplomatic skills who believes in diplomacy, rather than placating his conservative base by continuing to push for confirmation of an unsuitable nominee. I believe that it is time for the Senate to send that message loudly and clearly to the President by rejecting efforts to ramrod this nomination through in the closing days of the session.
I urge my colleagues to join me in strongly opposing this nomination.