Senators may have blown the cover of a covert CIA officer yesterday.
During a hearing on John R. Bolton's nomination to be ambassador to the United Nations, Bolton and members of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee referred to the analyst as "Mr. Smith." They were discussing one of the officials involved in a dispute over what Democrats said was Bolton's inappropriate treatment of an intelligence analyst who disagreed with him.
"We referred to this other analyst at the CIA, whom I'll try and call Mr. Smith here," Bolton said at one point.
But the committee chairman, Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) mentioned a name that had not previously come up in public accounts of the intelligence flap.
In questioning Bolton, Kerry read from a transcript of closed-door interviews that committee staffers conducted with State Department officials before yesterday's hearing.
"Did Otto Reich share his belief that [the person in question] should be removed from his position? The answer is yes," Kerry said, characterizing one interview. "Did John Bolton share that view?" Kerry asked. Again, he said the answer was yes.
"As I said, I had lost confidence in Mr. Smith, and I conveyed that," Bolton replied. "I thought that was the honest thing to do."
-- Associated Press