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U.N. AMBASSADOR Battle brewing over nominee to U.N.



Published: Tue, April 19, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Most of the complaints about John R. Bolton are about his personality.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A trickle of allegations, some anonymous, paint the Bush administration's choice for U.N. ambassador as an imperious hothead who dressed down junior bureaucrats and withheld information from his superiors.

John R. Bolton hasn't been talking since his confirmation hearing, but the Bush administration is dismissing the complaints against him as trifling. A showdown Senate committee vote is planned for today.

At least one Democratic senator said Monday he will ask for a closed session so the committee can hear from intelligence officials about information Bolton requested relating to National Security Agency communications.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "is still confident he'll make a good representative for the United States," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Monday. "That's what the president believed in nominating him. And they still support the nomination."

A critic

Bolton is a harsh critic of the United Nations bureaucracy and thus a provocative choice to be Washington's representative to the world body. Most of the allegations that have accompanied his nomination, however, concern his personal dealings and judgment.

"I do not think the concerns raised about Secretary Bolton warrant our rejection of the president's selection for his own representative to the U.N.," Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said in a statement prepared for today's hearing.

Most of the eight Democrats on the committee have said they plan to vote against Bolton today. Two of the 10 Republicans -- Sens. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska -- have expressed reservations. Democrats' hopes of defeating Bolton lie in swaying one or both to defect.

Hagel said Sunday he planned to support Bolton "if there's nothing more that comes out."

"I have been troubled with more and more allegations, revelations, coming out about his style, his method of operation," Hagel said on CNN.

Chafee has not commented since last week, when he said he planned to support Bolton even though "he would not be my choice" for the job.

Personal issues

High-profile nominees have been damaged or brought down by revelations about their personal lives or business dealings. In 1991, Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas survived graphic allegations of sexual harassment, which he denied.

The stories about Bolton mostly amount to allegations that he has a mean streak, that he takes out his frustrations on underlings and that he lets hard-line conservative ideology govern decisions.

There were repeated questions by senators at his confirmation hearing last week concerning what Bolton may have done to punish or pressure underlings who crossed him in his current job as the State Department's arms control chief. A senior colleague called him a "serial abuser."

Bolton denied he did anything improper, but he said he had "lost confidence" in two intelligence analysts who disagreed with him. He also acknowledged that he had asked a U.S. spy agency for details of the secretly recorded communications of other U.S. officials.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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