The State Department's former intelligence chief yesterday described John R. Bolton, President Bush's nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, as a "bully" who abused his authority and power, intimidated intelligence analysts, and damaged the integrity of the agency.
Bolton's behavior "brings real question to my mind about his suitability for high office," said Carl W. Ford Jr. He told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is considering Bolton's nomination, that he is a loyal Republican, a staunch supporter of Bush and a "huge fan" of Vice President Cheney. "I'm as conservative as John Bolton is," Ford said. "But the fact is that the collateral damage and the personal hurt that he causes is not worth the price that had to be paid."
"The personal hurt that he causes is not worth the price that had to be paid," Carl W. Ford Jr. said.
(Manuel Balce Ceneta -- AP)
_____In Profile_____John R. Bolton
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Born: Nov. 20, 1948, in Baltimore.
Education: Bachelor's degree from Yale University, 1970; law degree from Yale Law School, 1974.
Experience: Undersecretary of state for arms control and international security since May 11, 2001; assistant attorney general, Department of Justice, 1985-1989; assistant administrator for program and policy coordination, U.S. Agency for International Development, 1982-1983; general counsel, U.S. Agency for International Development, 1981-1982; associate at the Washington office of Covington & Burling, 1974-81; partner in the law firm of Lerner, Reed, Bolton & McManus, 1993-99.
Family: Married to the former Gretchen Brainerd; one daughter.
Democrats on the committee hoped that Ford's testimony would help persuade Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R-R.I.) to vote against the nomination. Chafee is seen as the panel's only Republican who might vote against Bolton and block the nomination from getting to the full Senate, where the GOP holds a 55 to 45 edge.
But Chafee said after the hearing that he was still inclined to back Bolton.
"It was strong testimony from Mr. Ford. He used strong language," Chafee said. But "it's all focused on this one incident. We're not really seeing a pattern."
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) disagreed. "This is not an isolated incident," he told the committee of 10 Republicans and eight Democrats. "We have testimony from a total of four other people" relating to several incidents.
In preparation for Bolton's confirmation hearings, the committee interviewed a handful of current and former intelligence officials about allegations that Bolton tried to pressure analysts to change their findings in support of his policy goals.
Over nearly seven hours of hearings on Monday, Bolton was pressed about two incidents involving a speech he gave in 2002 about Cuba. Bolton, who at the time held his current job of undersecretary of state for arms control, planned to announce that Cuba had a secret bioweapons program, although several intelligence officials considered the evidence ambiguous.
Christian Westermann, the chief bioweapons analyst at the State Department's bureau for intelligence and research, refused to approve the language and recommended changes. Yesterday, Ford, who ran the intelligence bureau at the time, said Bolton berated and intimidated Westermann and then tried to have him fired.
"Secretary Bolton chose to reach five or six levels below him in the bureaucracy, bring an analyst into his office and give him a tongue-lashing," Ford said.
Bolton told the committee on Monday that he did not ask that Westermann be fired but merely wanted him to work elsewhere because he had inappropriately shared his concerns about the Cuba speech with others.
Ford said it was Bolton who was out of line. The two men argued about the incident for several minutes outside Bolton's office in February 2002 and then stopped speaking entirely. In the end, Bolton was ordered to change his speech and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell commended Westermann. But Ford said that word of the incident spread quickly through the bureau and that the analysts were "very negatively affected" and "scared" by it.
Ford called Bolton "a quintessential kiss-up, kick-down kind of guy. He's got a bigger kick, and it gets bigger and stronger the further down the bureaucracy he's kicking. And he stands out. I don't have any other example to give you of someone who acts this way," said Ford, who left the State Department in 2003 and is now a consultant with Cassidy and Associates in Washington.
Bolton's combative style and promotion of hard-line policies are well known within the Bush administration.
His supporters praise him as a realist in foreign policy who is clear-eyed and forceful in protecting U.S. interests. He has been a longtime critic of the United Nations, and backers say he is the right choice for ambassador at a time when Bush has made reform of the world body a priority.
Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), chairman of the foreign relations panel, said yesterday that he did not want to excuse Bolton's "demeanor" but that the "the paramount issue, as I perceive it, is the reform of the United Nations and the confidence that President Bush and Secretary [of State Condoleezza] Rice have in this particular nominee."
The committee could vote on Bolton as early as tomorrow, but yesterday Democrats were putting together a list of follow-up questions they want Bolton to answer before a vote.