April 25, 2005



SUBJECT: Bolton, the Times, and Unreported Emails

In a New York Times article ("Released E-Mail Exchanges Reveal More Bolton Battles") on Sunday, April 24, Douglas Jehl reported on "recently declassified messages [that] provide new details of the bruising battle that John R. Bolton ... waged with analysts" at the State Department and the CIA, "as he sought to deliver a speech reflecting a hard-line view of Cuba and its possible efforts to acquire biological weapons." According to Jehl, a "congressional official" provided the messages to the Times, "saying they should be made available to the public because they have been declassified." The article is based on "dozens of messages reviewed" by the Times from February to September 2002, "including e-mail sent to Mr. Bolton by his principal assistant, Frederick Fleitz, as well as extensive exchanges between Mr. Fleitz and Christian P. Westermann, the State Department's top expert on biological weapons who clashed sharply with Mr. Bolton over Cuba." But in its review of these messages the Times failed to publish several emails that reveal more about some of Bolton's critics than the other way around.

  • For example, the Times quotes a September 25, 2002 email from Thomas Fingar, the No. 2 official in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, to Westermann in which Fingar "deplored ... the toll inflicted on Mr. Westermann by Mr. Bolton and Mr. Fleitz." Fingar was responding to an email from Westermann two days earlier complaining that both Bolton and Fleitz were "impugning" his integrity.

But the Times failed to note Fingar's February 12, 2002 email to John Bolton apologizing for the behavior of Westermann. The day before Fleitz has asked Westermann to gain clearance for a speech Bolton planned on delivering in May 2002 by forwarding draft language on Cuba to the CIA for approval. But Westermann sent the language along with his own memo opposing the language. Fingar wrote:

I looked at what my guy sent to the IC and that won't happen again ... Choice of the phrase 'does not concur' was entirely inappropriate; none of the underlying intelligence comes from INR and we have no role whatsoever in determining how you or any policymaker says what you want to say beyond suggesting alternatives that we think might be cleared more readily than what has been drafted if time is of the essence and the drafter asks for such advice.

  • Also not published in the Times piece was an email Frederick Fleitz received the same day from another government official again related to the behavior of Westermann:

Fred: In my opinion, INR violated both State and IC protocol, big time. INR speaks to the IC on behalf of State, so the IC must presume that, when it receives an INC communication, INR is speaking on behalf of State.

Confronted with a Seventh Floor position with which INR disagreed, INR had two choices: a) submit the language in question to CIA without comment, or b) appeal the Seventh Floor decision without referring it outside The Building.

  • Finally, when Westermann informed Fleitz that he had the sent the memo to the CIA he did not mention that he had sent his own memo with it.

Westermann to Fleitz, February 12, 2002, 4:23 PM:

Fred: I sent your memo intact to CIA for coordination through the IC for cleared language. I added citations so they could reference the intel.


Fleitz to Westermann, February 12, 2002, 4:25 PM:


CIA says INR disputed the language Mr. Bolton wants to use and offered alternative language. Please bring my memo and this memo to T. Thanks, Fred Fleitz.

And, in Westermann's March 29, 2005 email to Thomas Fingar, Westermann discussed the person who "leaked" information that apparently he wanted to withhold from Fleitz and Bolton.

This was the correspondence as I was attempting to get the memo readied to go to WINPAC's demarche coordinator, [redacted], who then leaked back to Fred that I had sent in his request as an official INR action but that INR had dissented and offered alternative language.