AP Probe suggests Bolton manipulated Iraq inspections to favor War

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Sunday, June 5, 2005

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A deputy acting for John Bolton told the Associated Press that Mr. Bolton orchestrated the firing of the head of a global arms-control agency in 2002. Jose Bustani, a Brazilian diplomat for the agency, was trying to send chemical weapons inspectors into Baghdad. The former deputy told the AP that Mr. Bolton did not want that to happen because it might help defuse the crisis over alleged Iraqi weapons and thereby undermine a U.S. rationale for war. A spokeswoman told AP that Bolton has no comment.

This new information comes in the wake of what is purported to be the leaked minutes of a 2002 meeting between top US and UK government officials, in which Matthew Rycroft reported "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." Neither the UK nor the US government is disputing the accuracy of the memo.

According to multiple reports, during a 2002 meeting between National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and a group of US Senators, President Bush interrupted and changed the subject to Iraq. One of the people present told CNN's Daniel Eisenberg that Bush used a vulgar epithet to refer to Saddam and concluded by saying, "We're taking him out."

Following the 2004 presidential election, Republican members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence refused to carry out plans to review how U.S. policymakers used pre-war Iraq intelligence. The plans to review the intelligence after the election were reached as a compromise with the Democratic members of the committee, prior to elections. According to a co-chair, the president's commission on intelligence is not authorized by its charter to look into the subject. Proponents of an inquiry have been unsuccessful in getting an investigation of the matter.

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