American Oversight Sends Four Freedom of Information Act Requests to the State Department on National Security Advisor’s First Day of Work
Non-partisan ethics watchdog American Oversight today filed four Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to uncover John Bolton’s past influence at the State Department. American Oversight’s FOIA requests come on Bolton’s first day as President Trump’s National Security Advisor.
“John Bolton has shown repeatedly that he lacks the judgment and temperament required to serve as National Security Advisor,” said Melanie Sloan, Senior Advisor at American Oversight. “For starters, he bullied subordinates and tried to alter intelligence assessments to match his dangerous worldview. Given his controversial tenure in the George W. Bush administration, there is likely a long paper trail detailing many of his failings. The American people have a right to see those records and form their own opinions about Bolton’s qualifications to serve the Trump White House.”
Prior to his recent work as a commentator on Fox News, Bolton served in the State Department as an Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and Ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush. Bolton became ambassador through a recess appointment after the Republican-controlled Senate refused to approve his nomination in 2005.
American Oversight’s FOIA requests target all communications to or from Bolton in his roles as undersecretary and ambassador, all communications to or from Frederick Fleitz, Bolton’s former chief of staff at the State Department, and all briefings and other memoranda authorized or signed by Bolton in his government roles between 2001 and 2006. American Oversight’s FOIAs also seek any forms that authorized Bolton to remove personal and non-record documents from the State Department, as well as lists of Bolton’s archived records.
Bolton failed to win Senate confirmation largely as a result of his conduct at the State Department, where he had a reputation for suppressing or manipulating intelligence that didn’t square with his personal beliefs. According to former colleagues, Bolton tried to force intelligence analysts to produce evidence that would back up his views on Cuba and other foreign threats—even if that evidence didn’t exist. Bolton then reportedly attempted to fire or remove analysts who refused to comply.
Bolton is also known for his hawkish, hardline stance on foreign affairs and national security matters. He continues to maintain support for the Iraq war, for instance, and has promoted preemptive military action against North Korea.