Another day, another Powell loyalist.
A fourth senior member of Colin L. Powell’s team at the State Department expressed strong reservations on Friday about the nomination of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations.
The official, A. Elizabeth Jones, is a veteran diplomat who stepped down in February as assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia. Among those who have now voiced public concerns about Mr. Bolton, Ms. Jones joins Lawrence Wilkerson, Mr. Powell’s chief of staff; Carl W. Ford, Jr., who headed the department’s intelligence bureau; and John R. Wolf, who was assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation. Associates of Mr. Powell have said he has expressed concerns of his own in private conversations with at least two Republican senators.
“I don’t know if he’s incapable of negotiation, but he’s unwilling,” Ms. Jones said in an interview. She said she believed that “the fundamental problem,” if Mr. Bolton were to become United Nations ambassador, would be a reluctance on his part to make the kinds of minor, symbolic concessions necessary to build consensus among other governments and maintain the American position.
Ms. Jones spoke as the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is reviewing Mr. Bolton’s nomination, was holding closed-door interviews with former senior intelligence officials who clashed with Mr. Bolton during his tenure as under secretary of state for arms control. Congressional officials who heard the testimony said John E. McLaughlin, a former deputy director of central intelligence, used strong language on Friday in telling the group that he regarded as totally inappropriate an attempt by Mr. Bolton in 2002 to seek the ouster of Fulton Armstrong, the national intelligence officer for Latin America, in a dispute over reports on Cuba.
Among new disclosures under committee review are some included in previously undisclosed testimony by Mr. Armstrong, now a senior C.I.A. official. Within days of Mr. Bolton’s delivering a speech in May 2002 that warned of attempts by Cuba to develop biological weapons, Mr. Armstrong has told the committee, the Central Intelligence Agency took the rare step of circulating within the Bush administration a classified assessment that was more cautious than Mr. Bolton’s approach.
But Mr. Armstrong told the panel that he believed the publication of the assessment, in the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief, had been “seen by Bolton and his staff as a direct insult to Bolton.” Mr. Bolton’s top aide, Frederick Fleitz, later sent to Mr. Armstrong what the intelligence officer described in his testimony as an abusive e-mail message.