February 25, 2020

Bolton slams ‘corrupted’ National Security Council review process after book excerpt leaks

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A top aide to former national security adviser John Bolton is disputing part of a Sunday report in The New York Times, which claimed Bolton had shared a manuscript of his forthcoming book with “close associates” — and Bolton’s lawyer is saying the National Security Council’s review process of pending manuscripts is “corrupted” and apparently prone to leaks.The Times reported that the manuscript included a bombshell claim that Trump explicitly linked a hold on Ukraine aid to an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden. Trump told Bolton in August, according to a transcript of Bolton’s forthcoming book reviewed by the Times, “that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens.”The Times further reported that Bolton had circulated “drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates” and also “sent a draft to the White House for a standard review process for some current and former administration officials who write books.”Sarah Tinsley, a senior adviser to Bolton, told Fox News he had submitted a hard copy draft of his manuscript to the NSC [National Security Council] several weeks ago for “pre-publication review,” but had not shared it with anyone else. The NSC is the White House’s internal national security and foreign policy arm.A “pre-publication review” is standard for any former government officials who held security clearances and publicly write or speak publicly about their official work. The review typically would focus on ferreting out any classified or sensitive material in advance of publication, and could take from days to months.In a statement obtained by Fox News, Bolton attorney Charles Cooper lamened that the review process had been “corrupted.”READ BOLTON LAWYER’S INITIAL PREPUBLICATION REVIEW LETTER”On December 30, 2019, I submitted, on behalf of Ambassador Bolton, a book manuscript to the National Security Council’s Records Management Division for standard prepublication security review for classified information. As explained in my cover letter to Ellen J. Knight, Senior Director of the Records Management Division, we submitted the manuscript notwithstanding our firm belief that the manuscript contained no information that could reasonably be considered classified and on the assurance that the ‘process of reviewing submitted materials is restricted to those career government officials and employees regularly charged with responsibility for such reviews’ and that the ‘contents of Ambassador Bolton’s manuscript will not be reviewed or otherwise disclosed to any persons not regularly involved in that process.'”Cooper continued: “A copy of my December 30 letter is attached. It is clear, regrettably, from The New York Times article published today that the prepublication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript.”Bolton resigned last September. His team declined to “speculate” to Fox News as to how a description of his manuscript might have leaked to the Times.Additionally, Bolton’s representatives made clear he was not denying the Times’ claim concerning the Ukraine aid holdup and the possible investigation of the Bidens.At a Fox News Town Hall with Chris Wallace on Sunday in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, Pete Buttigieg joined a chrous of Democrats in calling for Bolton to testify in the wake of the Times’ report.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”Just now, we’re getting more indications about John Bolton, and what he knew, which is one more reason why, if this is a serious trial, we’re going to have the witnesses and evidence,” Buttigieg said.Trump’s lawyers this week are set to resume presenting their defense in the Senate, which will then decide whether to hear additional witnesses by a simple majority vote. At the Town Hall, Buttigieg emphasized that Trump should be removed from office — a highly unlikely eventuality, given that a two-thirds vote of the GOP-controlled Senate would be necessary.
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