Skip to comments.Bolton wanted CIA analyst removed over Cuba critique
Posted on 04/08/2005 7:02:10 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
WASHINGTON - Congressional investigators are probing a new allegation that President Bush's choice for U.N. ambassador once visited CIA headquarters to demand the removal of a top intelligence analyst who disagreed with him on Cuba's biological warfare capabilities.
Current and former senior U.S. intelligence officials denounced the alleged visit by Under Secretary of State John Bolton. They said it risked undermining the objectivity of intelligence judgments.
The impartiality of U.S. intelligence judgments remains a highly charged issue because of assertions by some lawmakers that analysts were pressured to produce assessments on Iraq that supported Bush's case for war but turned out to be wrong. Several inquiries have rejected those claims of political pressure.
In preparation for Bolton's confirmation hearing on Monday, Republican and Democratic congressional investigators are looking into charges that he tried to penalize the analyst for disputing comments about Cuba's biological warfare capability in a 2002 speech by Bolton.
Bolton alleged Havana had a limited ''offensive biological warfare research and development effort'' -- an allegation Cuba has consistently denied.
The analyst, who was the Latin America expert on the National Intelligence Council, cannot be identified because he is now in an undercover position. The council produces long-range strategic forecasts and assessments of the most critical national security issues for the president and top policymakers.
The inquiry into Bolton's actions was confirmed by U.S. officials who requested anonymity because of the matter's sensitivity.
A telephone call to Bolton's office for comment went unanswered.
One congressional official sympathetic to Bolton said, ``As we've looked at it, we haven't found anything that violates the norms of behavior when it comes to these kinds of things.''
A former senior diplomat in an interview with The Herald said that he tried to get the analyst removed from his position and discussed the matter with Bolton but did not know if Bolton also tried to take action against the analyst.
Otto Reich, former assistant secretary of state for Western hemisphere affairs, said he went to CIA headquarters in 2002 to hand deliver a letter calling for the replacement of the senior analyst.
''The letter was a last resort,'' he said.
''The [analyst's] information was bad, not just on Cuba, but on Latin America, too,'' said Reich. ``He was wrong on Haiti, Colombia and Venezuela.''
The congressional investigators were told that Reich and Bolton demanded that the national intelligence officer be removed from his position during separate visits they made to CIA headquarters in 2002, the U.S. officials said.
But, they said, the then-acting chairman of the NIC, Stuart Cohen, and top CIA officials rebuffed Bolton and Reich, and the analyst was promoted.
In Castro s Service: The undertold story of Cuba s spying, and terror ***EDITOR'S NOTE: On Tuesday, March 19, a high-level Defense Intelligence Agency analyst pleaded guilty to espionage on behalf of Fidel Castro's Cuba. Ana Belen Montes was arrested last September, and now has told officials that she spied for 16 years, starting in 1985. She did not receive compensation for her services, but volunteered them because of her strong opposition to U.S. policy toward Cuba. In the November 5, 2001 issue of NR, John J. Miller described the Montes case in detail, as well as the underappreciated problem of Cuban espionage in the United States and its links to international terrorism.***
***....In 1992 or 1993, she pulled off what seemed to be an intelligence coup. She traveled to Cuba and interviewed Cuban generals about economic reforms on the island. In 1998, she played an important role in drafting a widely cited analysis that found that Cuba's much diminished military posed no strategic threat to the United States. As recently as the week before last, she briefed top Pentagon policy-makers on Cuba.
According to the FBI affidavit, Montes, who had a high-level security clearance, spied for Cuba for at least five years, and possibly longer. She identified at least one U.S. undercover agent to the Cubans, disclosed a top-secret intelligence-gathering program and reported on U.S. training in the Caribbean, the FBI said.
Current and former U.S. officials say she was in a position to tell have told Havana virtually everything the intelligence community knew about Cuba's military and might even have disclosed U.S. contingency plans for taking the island by force.
"I would think, if damage was done, it would be about what she learned about the U.S., how it was militarily prepared vis-a-vis Cuba," said Richard Nuccio, who was President Bill Clinton's special adviser on Cuba. *** Source
Here we go....the trashing begins
Here we go....the trashing begins
exactly, the 'hit-jobs' are just beginning
This might explain a few things.
Given what we now know about the CIA, a lot more visits to knock heads were called for.
Cuba is the least thing in the world for the US government to be concerned about. Any amount of time that the CIA or any other intelligence agency is wasting on Cuba...is simply time flushed down the drain. We've got lots bigger fish to fry and ought to be looking more toward Venzeuela or North Korea.
The idiot "reporting" this story works in a lie that has been proven untrue to take one cheap shot at the President and another at Bolton.
Yes, we've all forgotten just how sacred the CIA's analysis is. Can't taint it with outside information. /SARCASM.
"Three investigations - David Kay's, the Senate Select Committee's and the Presidential Commission all went to extraordinary lengths to determine is political pressure influenced intelligence assessments on Iraq. All three found the opposite to be true."
That is what government investigations are for, to prove no one inmportant did anything really wrong!!
Bolton and Otto are a good team. I hope Bolton keeps working with him and that they have a good relationship similar to Bush/Rice.
I diagree that the investigations concluded "no one important did anything wrong". The Senate committee and the Presidential committee were most harsh on the management of the CIA, not the operatives. They acknowledged that getting information from a closed empire like Iraq was difficult. They placed most of the blame on the higher ups who pretended their estimates were rock-solid when they were very tenuous. George Tenet and the other directors involved came in for a lot of criticism.
For example, the evidence on both uranium from Africa was weak and the aluminum tubes was weak. Yet the CIA portrayed this to the Administration as proof that Saddam had restarted his nuclear program. They reassured Colin Powell before he went to the U.N. even though they were starting to have doubts.
George Tenet and the other directors involved came in for a lot of criticism.""
Hi, i should have clarified, investigations are for clearing *elected* officials of any signifigant wrongdoing.
Your points are well taken and better stated than I could have presented them.
Your statement is ill-informed. Cuba is playing a key role in Venezuala.
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