By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 28, 2005; A02
The Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee predicted yesterday that John R. Bolton would be approved as the next ambassador to the United Nations, even as Senate Democrats prepared new questions for the controversial nominee.
Committee sources said they are exploring new complaints and accusations against Bolton. His nomination was stalled last week to review allegations that he bullied intelligence analysts, exaggerated foreign threats and sought to remove officials who disagreed with him.
Bolton's nomination was jeopardized when four of the 10 Republicans on the Foreign Relations Committee expressed some skepticism about his record during the past four years as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. The committee was given three weeks to continue its investigation, and a vote was scheduled for May 12.
"We will have a vote that I believe will be favorable, and the committee will report the nomination to the floor," Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), chairman of the panel, told reporters yesterday.
The White House yesterday cast the fight as a battle over the future of the United Nations, rather than over Bolton's qualifications.
"A vote for John Bolton is a vote for reform at the United Nations," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
"A vote against him is a vote for the status quo at the United Nations."
President Bush and Senate Republicans indicated they are considering a showdown vote on the Senate floor even if the foreign relations panel does not endorse Bolton.
In an unusual move, Bolton campaigned on Capitol Hill on his own behalf Tuesday. He visited with Republican senators not on the committee in an effort to counter portrayals of him by former colleagues, one of whom told the panel that Bolton was a "serial abuser."
The committee has received complaints that over the past four years, Bolton tried to remove or replace a State Department intelligence analyst, a CIA intelligence officer, a young official who worked closely with then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and a State Department lawyer. All four officials either stayed in their jobs or were eventually promoted.
In an appearance before the committee two weeks ago, Bolton said he sought to have intelligence analysts reassigned -- not fired -- because he had lost confidence in them after he disagreed with them on assessments of Cuba's weapons programs.
He did not directly answer written questions about two other alleged incidents last week. But some answers, coupled with fresh allegations, caused enough unease on the committee last week to postpone the vote and allow more investigation.
Senate Democrats said yesterday they would resubmit to Bolton each question that he did not fully or partially answer, along with other requests. They continue to pursue questions about instances in which Bolton requested the names of U.S. officials that showed up in U.S. intelligence intercepts. Such names are redacted when intercepted communications are circulated among U.S. government officials, but senior officials can request to learn the names.
Congressional sources said the National Security Agency, which provided Bolton with names on 10 occasions, has not responded to the committee's request for that information. The NSA declined to comment.
The committee plans two dozen more interviews in the next week with senior intelligence officials. They include Alan Foley, who allegedly clashed with Bolton while he ran the CIA's branch on weapons of mass destruction.