Thursday, July 28, 2005

Amnesia: the Epidemic 

John G. Roberts Syndrome is spreading like wildfire:
John Bolton, the nominee for U.N. ambassador, inaccurately told Congress he had not been interviewed or testified in any investigation over the past five years, the State Department said Thursday, responding to a Democratic critic.

Bolton was interviewed by the State Department inspector general as part of a joint investigation with the Central Intelligence Agency related to Iraqi attempts to buy nuclear materials from Niger, State Department spokesman Noel Clay said.

When Bolton filled out a Senate questionnaire in connection with his nomination, "he didn't recall being interviewed by the State Department's inspector general. Therefore, his form, as submitted, was inaccurate," Clay said. "He will correct it."

The response came after Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asserting Bolton had been interviewed and suggesting he had not been truthful in his questionnaire.
UPDATE: Add another anonymous State Department official to the ranks of the infected. From the AP wire:
The admission came hours after another State Department official said Bolton had correctly answered a Senate questionnaire when he wrote that he has not testified to a grand jury or been interviewed by investigators in any inquiry over the past five years.
UPDATE II: According to Josh Marshall, the State Department "apparently backed up Bolton's claim that he did not testify before Patrick Fitzgerald's criminal investigation." Bolton was, however, interviewed by the State Department's Inspector General in the joint State/CIA probe into the Niger forgeries, so the question remains: did he quaff that kind nepenthe, or was he just lying to Congress?

UPDATE III (7/29): The distinction Josh Marshall makes above appears is possibly inaccurate and definitely irrelevant. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said early in the day on Thursday that Bolton had not been interviewed by any investigators, and later reversed himself.

Various news agencies are reporting that the President will bypass Congress altogether and install Bolton as ambassador to the UN by way of a recess appointment. 36 Senate Democrats have signed a letter that in essence calls Bolton a liar, and urges the President to put forth a more acceptable nominee.

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