Security screening of manuscripts


It is the law in the United States that those who have had legal access to the secrets of the government must submit private manuscripts for removal of such secrets BEFORE they are published or even presented to a potential publisher.  Every department of government has an office charged with such work.

I know this process well because my memoir "Tattoo" has been in the hands of the appropriate Defense Department office for nigh on six months.  The book is long, and I was so unlucky as to have DoD shut down its auxiliary services during my wait.  I have thought of withdrawing it from screening but, surprisingly, the screeners tell me it has some worth for those who will come after. So, I will wait.

All this applies to John Bolton, a career State Department man whose adult life has been soaked in government secrets.  I first noticed Bolton as a glowering presence at briefings I gave to selected State Department people with regard to national command authority projects I was running.  His attitude was consistent.  If the idea was not his, it was simply wrong.

Bolton's "kiss and tell" book about Trump is IMO as much caused by wounded ego as a desire to make money.  He submitted the book for security review to DoD and the CIA.  Why not State?  Ah, Pompeo would tear it to pieces.  Bolton evidently grew impatient with the pace of clearance and decided to go ahead with publication without clearance

To do this is a felony.  The release of the book today completes the elements of proof for the crime.

Bolton should be arrested and charged with any of a number of possible crimes.  pl

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48 Responses to Security screening of manuscripts

  1. Chiron says:

    I sort of think that Trump was used by the Borg to make unpopular moves like give Jerusalem and Golan Heights to israel, start a Cold War with China, let the Saudis off the hook, never ending sanctions against a bunch of countries not aligned with Israel,.. but now that all this is done they will throw him out like a bad habit and if Joe Biden becomes POTUS next year it won’t be any reversal to any of these policies because it was what the Borg wanted.

  2. A.I.S. says:

    Was Bolton at least the type of “if its not my idea its wrong, but if it good anyway it can become my idea”?
    These are a pita but still possible to work with.
    Straight if it not my idea its wrong are walking disasters.

  3. Jack says:

    Let’s see what Trump does with Bolton now that he has committed a felony.
    My bet is that other than crying on Twitter, he’ll not do much. His previous actions/inactions on these matters show weakness.
    In any case bitching on Twitter makes him look like an executive with poor hiring judgement as he was the one that hired him. Just like he hired Mattis and Kelly as well as Rosenstein and Wray.

  4. Barbara Ann says:

    Bolton being successfully charged with violations associated with his sour grapes hit piece memoir is analogous to Al Capone finally going down for tax evasion. But if that’s the way it goes I will not be sad.
    Re “Tattoo”, your Memorial Day “Ap Bu Nho” extract alone makes “some worth” an amusingly ludicrous understatement. I wish you luck with the censors & very much look forward to one day reading “Tattoo”.

  5. eakens says:

    Who can we rely on to uphold the rule of law anymore? It’s starting to appear we are living in a failed state.

  6. turcopolier says:

    He was a convert to the neocon faith early in life and all else was mischief.

  7. Deap says:

    We hardly live in a failed state. We live in the state the Founders’ envisioned: power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We were not founded to be a “perfect government” nor Lady Bountiful to be all things to all persons at all times.
    We were founded to be a limited government, constrained by built in checks and balances. To provide only those essential government services the people consented to create.
    We did not consent to the massive growth of the unelected administrative state controlled by unionized government employee unions, which have become the extension of a single political party. JFK did that to us with a stroke on his pen by executive order.
    Too many recent immigrants, legal, fraudulently obtained, illegal or otherwise come steeped with America as Lady Bountiful demands on our country; and fail to accept this was always intended to be a county built on personal responsibility, opportunity and limited government interference in our lives except in those areas agreed by mutual compact.
    JFK + LBJ opened up the massive US welfare state for personal political gain. And thus struck a knife deep into the heart of every original American founding principle. Measure the decline of the American Dream from those two men forward.
    We have long knows the difference between a hand up and a hand out. America has always been a generous, charitable and caring nation – because it has an open conscience for the common good. When evil existed, we the people worked with government resources to stamp it out.
    The growth of Big Government post WWII put an end to America former and genuine civic engagement. Public sector employee unions supplanted civic volunteerism and personal philanthropy. How do we re-engage this uniquely American heritage or civic engagement; not partisan sabotage?

  8. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Colonel, regarding your book, do the reviewing authoties give you an end date by which they will or must give you a decision, or can they drag this out indefinitely, keeping you in limbo?

  9. Artemesia says:

    “He was a convert – – -”
    I was going to ask what went wrong with Bolton: was he dropped on his head as an infant? No father in the home? The Dulles brothers spent their childhoods being harangued by their bible-thumping Calvinist grandfather (reports Kinzer in his useful bio on the brothers).
    In Jeff Engel’s book about the decision-making behind G H W Bush’s decision to wage war against Saddam re Kuwait, he recounts that an argument by Brent Scowcroft was significant, AND that “Scowcroft, who was very short,” confronted taller-than-average Bush while knees-to-knees in an airplane.
    Bolton is shorter than the average American male. Does he have ‘short-person’ compulsion to compensate?
    People psychologize Trump constantly, usually from ignorance and malice. But something is very wrong with Bolton. Pompeo as well. What is it?
    “What huge imago made a psychopathic god?” (Auden, Sept. 1939)

  10. turcopolier says:

    Keith Harbaugh
    I am at their mercy it seems. It went to six different outfits. Five have cleared although I have not seen what they want to take out.

  11. Polish Janitor says:

    Col Lang,
    #1 I read this WaPo article that argued because the recent DOJ’s lawsuit against the release of the book is based on “prior restraint on speech before it occurs”, meaning the Trump administration cannot censor speech before it happens, therefore there is no 1st amendment breach against the Trump admin by Bolton. As the court elaborated in Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart, prior restraints are “the most serious and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights” and “one of the most extraordinary remedies known to our jurisprudence.”
    #2 Bolton took all of his notes containing classified intelligence with him after he was fired and nobody took an issue. How is that possible?
    #3 The Wapo article says his manuscript was reviewed for four months by one Ellen Knight, an official (doesn’t mention which department) responsible for reviewing publishing material and she gave it the green light for publication on April 27th.
    #4 During a press conference, Bill Barr gave an unusual take on Bolton’s book as if he was giving publicity to the book. He said he had never seen a book being written on Trump with such pace and in such quick time and that it had a lot of sensitive information and stuff. It sounded really odd what Bill Barr said. I dunno maybe I am reading to much between the lines…
    #5 With regards to Pompeo, back in September during a press conference at the State, when asked by a reporter about Bolton’s firing I specifically remember watching him on TV giving a big meaningful chuckle and a smile… it was revealed later that they clearly did not get along with each other and Pompeo had complained on numerous times that Bolton as NSA, who does not have executive authorities, had been doing a lot of policy stuff and running his own show in shadow.
    On a final note, I don’t think Bolton is a neocon in the mold of Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, Abrams, Kagan, Kristol etc…There is this long piece by New Yorker published last year that really gets into detail of how and why Bolton is not a neocon, but adheres to a more hawkish Jacksonian nationalism approach rather than the liberal idealism of arch neocons I mentioned above. However, he does have quite similar F.P. views with neocon oldies such as Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, and Jeane Kirkpatrick.

  12. JohnH says:

    If Bolton does NOT get the book thrown at him, it will be pretty good evidence of the existence of the Deep State allowing those it favors to write their own rules. Of course, we already knew that after Clapper lied with impunity to Wyden when he was under oath.

  13. TV says:

    He’ll never be prosecuted and neither will Comey, Clapper and the rest of the swamp scum.
    Strozk (lower on the food chain) might be the human sacrifice (with a sentence of “community service”) but no one of any significance (or “royal” title) is ever prosecuted in the swamp.
    Trump has tried, but his miserable lack of hiring experience and skill has not made a dent

  14. Polish Janitor says:

    I feel like I have a few words to say about Bolton if I may,
    IMHO Bolton’s view of the world is very dark and extremely Hobbesian. He is no slouch by any stretch of imagination, in fact he is extremely knowledgeable and masterful when it comes to policy-making and that basically how things are done in D.C. He has made a brand for himself as the most hawkish national security expert in all of America in my opinion. Honestly I cannot think of anyone else who espouses more hawkishness and zero diplomacy than Bolton, ever… maybe Tom Cotton or Liz Cheney but still not close. This is the reason why Trump hired him. In fact Trump did not want to hire him as the top brass in first place, citing his mustache as one reason that would not look good on TV and wanted to give him 2nd tier jobs at the State or as NSA early on, but Bolton refused. Trump, wanted to hire Bolton’s “brand” not his policies or hawkishness to intimidate Nkorea, Iran, and China to force them come into making deals with him and him personally.
    IMO Trump found out after the first Kim summit that Bolton was
    such an ambitious and counterproductive foreign policy maker and one-man-team that if he allowed Bolton to get his way, there would be world war III (Trump’s own words) and his most important promise to keep America out of forever wars which was his wining platform over neocons such as Hilary, Jeb and Rubio during 2016 election would disappear into thin air.
    So, Trump found ways to check Bolton and keep him out of the loop in sensitive and crucial moments by Mattis, Kelly, Joe Dunford, Pompeo and even Melania (in the case of getting rid of Bolton’s close confidant and neocon Mira Ricardel when she called for bombing Iranian forces back in September 2018 in respone to several rockets by iraqi militias hitting the ground close to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad), and even sent him to Mongolia last year on a goose chase to make an embarrassing example of him for undermining him (i.e. Trump’s) authority in the case of sitting down with the Taliban in Camp David to discuss military pullout from Afghanistan back in Sep. whereas at the same time Pompeo was smart enough to tow the same line as Trump and survive.
    I few years ago I came across this interesting but odd piece by B on the Moon of Alabama on Bolton. I honestly dunno what to make of it.

  15. ked says:

    The book is already released in the hundreds. It will be on-line soon enough regardless of the niceties of Barr’s attempt to slam shut the barn door, or what the legal system does with Bolton going fwd.
    Those close to Trump know his emotional state must be appeased or they will soon be departing – unless there’s a DNA match.
    Reaction to it will be a test of one’s ability to distinguish Bolton from the events he describes & their veracity. Is there anything of Trump’s statements & acts (released so far) that surprises anyone… that rings untrue?
    Those ideologically (or religiously) dependent upon the Trump Phenomenon for validating their core beliefs will demonstrate how creative true believers can be when attached to a personality.

  16. A.I.S. says:

    For what its worth I am looking forward to buying it, should scratch that Peter Scholl Latour itch.
    Another thing is that I just dont get the Neocons.
    Their politics are bad both from a Machieavellian (dilutes US forces, creates enemies, considerably restricts creative ways in which US power could be employed) and from a moral (obviously) point of view. I also dont get their power, stupid/evil tends to be competed out. Heck, even if they are stupid/evil but very good at beurocratic backbiting stuff, they are still supposedly disadvantadged against skilled beurocratic backbiters that arent stupid/evil (or at least only evil and not stupid).
    Is it internal cohesion or a much higher degree of ruthlessness that maintains their position?

  17. PB says:

    I’ve for many years thought that the Bolton problem was best solved with a speedy trial and a swift execution, with remains thrown overboard somewhere in the Indian ocean.

  18. turcopolier says:

    polish janitor
    He signed an oath to safeguard the secrecy of the information when “read on” for it and another such when he was “read off.” The 1st Amendment does not come into it at all

  19. eakens says:

    It has long been rumored that there may be some compromising videos of Bolton from the early 80’s from time he supposedly spent at Plato’s Retreat.
    He must be the lap dog that he is for a reason.

  20. JP Billen says:

    A.I.S. – I may read it. But I won’t put a nickel in Bolton’s pocket. I’ll wait to get it from a library or used bookstore. Why make a moron rich?

  21. Babak makkinejad says:

    You cannot get the “Neocons”, the alibi of an entire alliance, because you are not noticing the hold of the ideas of Old Testament Protestantism on the minds of so many aming the US electorate.
    Yes, the government is not holding up any religion preferrentially but has otherwise pursued policies domestically and internationally that could only be undesrtood as religious.
    The wars of the last 20 years to make Israel safe is one, the destruction of the ethnic Catholic neighborhoods of Philadelphia was another.

  22. I have no idea why Trump chose to hire that miserable peckerhead. The only place where their goals intersected was their shared desire to destroy Iran. I guess he thought they would get along as fellow assholes. But as they said in “Highlander,” there can be only one.
    Bolton sent his manuscript to Ellen Knight, the NSC senior director for records access and information security management. There was a four month back and forth review and revision process. Because of that, both Bolton and Simon & Shuster probably covered their asses from prosecution. The mistake was at the NSC. Knight should have never approved that particular book on her own. That should have been brought to Trump personally. As it was, both Trump and Barr seemed clueless about the book’s publication next week in an interview i saw yesterday. The White House is a mess.

  23. Terence Gore says:
    According to Navarro “Big Lie Book Deal Bolton” was positively giddy about the overthrowing the government of Venezuela.

  24. Yeah, Right says:

    On a wider note, the post of NSA has given Trump more than a bit of bother, even though it is “only” an advisory role i.e. the office-holder has no authority to implement policy decisions, or even to make policy decisions.
    Honest question: would it really make much difference to the operation of the Executive branch if the POTUS were to abolish that position?

  25. Yeah, Right says:

    Apparently Pompeo has decided to keep a dignified silen… oops, cancel that.
    Pompous has just gone in boots ‘n’ all to shout that The ‘Tash is a lying sack of cow manure who has revealed himself to be a traitor to the USA.
    Well, yeah Mike, why not tell us something we didn’t know.

  26. turcopolier says:

    Yeah, right
    Good point. The NSC staff thing was created by Eisenhower on the pattern of a military staff. It worked for him because he knew how to control it. In other admins. the NSA has been a rival for State with its head developing his own foreign policy.

  27. turcopolier says:

    You have a different understanding of what happened than I. I watched Bolton say on TeeVee that CIA and DoD had not cleared on his book. To me that means that the book was sent to them as is proper. All agencies that have equities in the book must be consulted. Does this mean that Knight sent them the book? I doubt that Knight had the legal authority to clear the book on her own. As for the WH organization being a mess, this results from Trump not being an orgman. He is organizationally challenged and does not comprehend things like structure and hierarchy.

  28. Jim says:

    For me, key point about National Security Advisor: unlike all other major presidential appointments, NSA chief does not require “advise and consent” of US Senate.
    Thus Gen. Flynn was on the job from day one — and campaign to destroy him began before day one.
    Kissinger used his role as NSA chief to conduct US foreign policy in a way that undercut Nixon’s Sec. of State William Rogers.
    Kissinger destroy the Roger’s Plan that Nixon had in mind to address the Israel/Palestine conflict.
    When Bolton was appointed by Trump, my thought was that the president did this as a means to change direction of attacks on him — from “the Right” to instead come from “the Left.”
    Whatever that means.
    And now Armageddon Boy Bolton being made into a hero by unctuous mob of media morons and politicians.
    I expect Bolton to be charged with crimes to the fullest extent of the law, should this be fully released as he hopes.
    We’ll see.

  29. Morongobill says:

    On a personal level, I’ve often thought that Bolton, in his excessive zeal during argument, must have insulted many who in the old days would have settled things in the manner that the army officer did to Huey Long in the washroom; it was alleged that Long accidentally splashed the officers shoes with urine and the officer then beat hell out of him.
    Such Jacksonian treatment, in my opinion, might bring some needed personal accounting for one’s big mouth. In other words, taking it out behind the pool hall as Harry Reid once said.

  30. A.I.S. says:

    @ JP Billen
    I meant the colonels book, not Boltons 🙂

  31. JP Billen says:

    A.I.S. – I too hope to read Colonel Lang’s book. Your Latour reference wen way over my head though.
    As for Bolton’s book, I’d like to read it myself to see if it is being correctly reported that Pompeo was disparaging and mocking Trump in private conversation with Bolton. I tend to believe it of Pompeo, he seems to think he is above the rest of us and is God’s gift to the world.

  32. downtownhaiku says:

    I do not support Bolton in any way shape or form.
    But I do wish to bring to your attention that some of the views in this article are seriously contested. Please allow me to quote:
    While some federal agencies — such as the FBI and CIA — require former employees to submit books and articles they author after employment for such a review, the nondisclosure agreements signed by National Security Council employees do not impose the same mandate unless a manuscript addresses intelligence matters that could touch on Sensitive Compartmentalized Information, a term used for the government’s most closely held secrets (generally sources and methods for intelligence-gathering).
    According to Bolton attorney Charles Cooper, the former national security adviser only submitted his manuscript for review “out of an abundance of caution,” and after a four-month process, the career NSC official overseeing the review — an expert who has gone through such procedures with many would-be authors — informed his client that a revised version of his manuscript had eliminated any classified passages. But rather than provide him with the customary letter attesting to his book’s suitability for publication, the Trump administration withheld the clearance letter indicating its completion and launched two subsequent rounds of review by (less qualified) political appointees, both Trump loyalists rather than career experts.
    In response, Bolton and his publisher, Simon and Schuster, began moving forward with plans to release the version of the book which the career official had said contained no classified information, and in a statement released last week, Bolton signaled his intentions: “Game on”.
    . . .
    But as for the Trumpworld claims that Bolton is either an inveterate liar or a sloppy national security risk who is carelessly damaging the country’s security to make a buck, those who’ve known Bolton, those who’ve worked with him, and those who’ve fought both him and his former boss have the same response: Not a chance.
    “He would never put anything in [a book] that was classified,” said Reed Hundt, who was a year behind Bolton as a Yale University undergraduate, and was later in Bolton’s class at Yale Law School.
    Hundt, who served as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission under the Clinton administration, added that he and Bolton “never agreed on anything,” but nevertheless said it was “not the least bit surprising” that Bolton would break with Trump because Bolton “has a lot of respect for intelligence and knowledge” and “is not an ignorant loud-mouth”.
    Another person who has worked alongside Bolton, an attorney who served with him in the Reagan and George H W Bush-era Justice Department, was also skeptical of the claim that Bolton would be careless with information that could cause grave damage to US national security if revealed.
    Asked if he believed Bolton would be careless enough to include classified information in a book manuscript, the former DOJ official replied: “I would be surprised.”
    “I would think that he would know the difference between what’s classified and what’s not,” said the former official, who requested anonymity because of pending business before the federal government. “Surely, he wanted to get the book out, so he wouldn’t include it [classified information] in the manuscript.”
    But it’s not only former colleagues and classmates who don’t buy the administration’s claim that Bolton would mishandle classified information. Even those national security professionals who have fundamental disagreements with Bolton are confident that he would adhere to the rules.
    Ned Price, a former CIA analyst who served as a National Security Council spokesperson during the Obama administration but left the CIA rather than serve under Trump, said it was highly unlikely that Bolton would have included any legitimately classified information in his book given his decades of experience in the national security establishment.
    “People who have been in the national security environment for years — or decades, in his case — have a good sense of what’s classified and what’s not, and may have a good sense of what counts as top secret information, what counts as secret information, and what counts as confidential information, because there are precise definitions behind each of these,” Price said, adding that the goal of a prepublication review is typically to ensure that intelligence sources and methods are properly protected.
    “With someone of his seniority in his position, you don’t see a sort of protracted back-and-forth because they have a good sense going into it — ‘this is classified, this is not’ — and what strikes me about all of this is that the career official responsible for reviewing these manuscripts told Ambassador Bolton in April that… according to her review, it didn’t contain classified information,” Price continued. “But then, lo and behold, she sent it up to someone with less experience, but who was closer to the president… and that person came to a different determination… and the National Security Adviser — someone who had not been in senior levels of national security roles before, lo and behold, found there were reportedly classified elements in there. The whole thing reeks of abuse of power… of a vindictive effort to keep this book from seeing the light of day.”
    Another former Bolton colleague who clashed with him repeatedly during the early 2000s, former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, stressed that he and Bolton “have very different worldviews,” but called the ex-Trump national security adviser “very smart, very dedicated, and very trustworthy” when it comes to protecting the nation’s secrets.
    “These allegations that somehow he’s playing fast and loose do not strike me as the John Bolton that I worked with… From someone who has often been an opponent of his on substantive policy grounds, John is a straightforward, serious, credible, honest person in my judgment,” said Burns, who added that while Bolton should have testified before the House during the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s conduct regarding Ukraine, he found the president’s behavior as described in what is known of Bolton’s book so far to be “disgraceful” and “unprecedented in modern American history”.
    And while the judge who will hear the government’s arguments against Bolton on Friday — Royce Lamberth — is a Reagan appointee and former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court chief judge who has long been skeptical of sweeping classification claims by the government, given the Trump administration’s penchant for litigation, it’s possible that no matter the outcome of Friday’s hearing the Justice Department will take the case as far as it can go.
    For Hundt, Bolton’s Yale Law classmate, that’s an outcome he would not mind seeing.
    “Hopefully the case will be litigated to the highest possible court” in order to get a “definitive decision, defeating what undoubtedly is the gross overreach of the administration on this topic,” he said.
    Noting that two of their Yale Law classmates — Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas — currently sit on that “highest possible court,” Hundt predicted that both would side with Bolton if his case were to come before them.
    “I’d love to see a case end up in the Supreme Court, where Alito and Thomas will know the truth,” he said. “They’ll know that he would never disclose any national security information.”

  33. turcopolier says:

    Bolton was a career employee of the State Department. He had repeatedly signed sworn acknowledgements of his lifetime legal obligation to protect from public disclosure a wide variety of SCI compartments and SAPs concerning covert and other secret government actions. . He had signed similar acknowledgements at the NSC which similarly obligated him for life under penalty of criminal action against him. Service in the WH at the right hand of the president and in frequent conversation with him inevitably would contain the material that Bolton had sworn in those acknowledgements to protect for life.

  34. turcopolier says:

    A federal judge ruled this AM that he will not entertain DoJ’s injunction against sale of Bolton’s book. What is being ignored thus far is that he specifically wrote that his decision DOES NOT relieve Bolton of criminal liability for unauthorized disclosure and other charges.

  35. Jim says:

    From today’s decision saying the horse is already out of the barn — the book — and an injunction won’t change things — and that Bolton faces criminal prosecution, perhaps:
    [[ Defendant Bolton has gambled with the national security of the United States. He has exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability. But these facts do not control the motion before the Court. The government has failed to establish that an injunction will prevent irreparable harm. Its motion is accordingly

  36. Artemesia says:

    Polish Janitor – the quoted woman looks like young John Travolta.
    Quick walk around the block in my neighborhood:
    In the very large picture windows in the Delta headquarters, four or five, “Proud to be Transgender” posters.
    Around the corner at a coffee house: “We’re contributing 5% of all sales to BLM”
    Across the street at a newly-opened (but no longer open) restaurant: “Justice for George Floyd.”
    Billboard above the 7-11: “Love Confidently: take PrEP (before homosexual sex).
    Earlier, the same billboard featured a young black male under a rainbow umbrella and the banner, “Love Passionately.” Same message: take Gilead pills before sex so you won’t get AIDs. Taxpayers subsidize.
    A neighbor lady distributed masks at each front door, addressed by name to residents, with several paragraphs about the necessity of wearing masks as “a message to others that they need to wear mask” (that is, grass-roots shaming), and “It’s not to protect yourself but to protect your neighbors. Be a patriot!”
    So the questions become: do the homosexuals wear masks and if so, who are they protecting? (Tax dollars subsidize the Gilead drugs & medical expenses in the PrEP program).
    Does Justice for George encompass Justice for Chauvin?
    Will the coffee shop use some of that 5% to compensate other shop owners whose businesses were smashed and looted?
    Are the transgenders keeping their social distance from little children at Drag Queen story hours (should libraries ever re-open)?
    And the biggest question: How to stay sane in such an environment: Speak out? Keep head down? Move — where to?

  37. J says:

    Will DoJ seek criminal prosecution for Bolton’s criminal disclosures?

  38. Terence Gore says:

    “But a more important source of China’s anger has been growing efforts of the Trump administration to build a close military alliance with India to counter-balance China’s increasing military power.
    Though seeming counter-intuitive to Trumps’ efforts to secure re-election by getting Beijing to buy more produce from American farmers, the Pentagon is preparing for a future war with China. Trump came close to facing a military coup in recent weeks and is trying to avoid angering the Pentagon and Washington’s active and retired military establishment.”

  39. pl,
    Even though we all know the horse has left the barn I do have some pertinent thoughts on Bolton’s gambit. He sent his manuscript to the NSC Records Management Division which was where it should have gone. The breakdown was in this office. Ellen Knight, the experienced director of this office, did not get this to the right people for review. Both Trump and Barr were clueless a few days ago about the book’s impending release next week. Knight dropped the ball badly. I have little doubt Bolton used his knowledge of this office and his bullying temperament to get Knight to give him some kind of verbal or email approval for publication after several months of persistent badgering. Bolton and Simon & Shuster took that and ran with it, even though no formal letter of clearance was given. I would think Knight would be fired for screwing the pooch on this one. I also doubt Bolton will see a dime from this book, but I doubt that bothers him. What may bother him is prosecution for releasing classified information. We’ll see if and how that plays out.

  40. Andre Surkis says:

    America has fuses that allow it to function normally, regardless of politics and president. But the resource of these fuses is not infinite. For a long time, I believed that no matter what was happening in Washington, the United States would save other vital centers. New York is the financial and cultural capital. San Francisco is a techno hub. Boston is a city of science. Hollywood is an entertainment center. But it is not…

  41. J says:

    Colonel, TTG,
    How does one spell Oops, it appears that Bolton’s book has been ‘leaked’ online:

  42. Jack says:

    It seems this has to do more with the rivalry among China, Pakistan and India.
    India is now building significant infrastructure in the region to aid rapid military buildup and has got road and airfield that could threaten the Karakoram Highway from Tibet to Pakistan.
    No doubt the US could be very helpful to India by providing them sophisticated reconnaissance intelligence on Chinese military movements in the region. Unlike 1962 India is much better prepared militarily even as Chinese military spending is 4-5x India.
    It would make a lot of sense for the US strategy to constrain China’s military ambitions to partner with India and provide them advanced gear for high altitude combat as well as satellite and other intelligence.
    The below video with map and terrain provides a very useful understanding of the current flashpoint.

  43. blue peacock says:

    Thanks for the link to the video. Very informative.
    India is just beginning to catch up with infrastructure in the Himalayas. The Chinese have been at it for far longer in building road, air and military infrastructure in the Tibetan border regions and I believe have control of much of the ridge tops.
    I agree that the US should aid India with technical assistance in constructing infrastructure in those mountainous regions as well as gear for high altitude military conflict. Probably even provide advisors to train the Indian military on high altitude warfare.

  44. Yeah, Right says:

    To what end, Jack? I understand that powerful countries find the allure of a Great Game irresistible, but how useful is such meddling in the greater scheme of things?
    I mean, the British meddled enormously when they committed themselves to the Crimea War, but what did that gain them apart from one fantastic poem and an iconic nurse?
    Other than that, what, exactly?
    Meddling for no good purpose just seems to me to be a waste of time. China and India both have a dog in this fight. The USA doesn’t, and it should act that way.

  45. Jack says:

    Yeah Right,
    In general I have been a long-term advocate for a much more circumspect US foreign policy and have by and large opposed most of our military adventures overseas.
    However, the totalitarian Chinese Communist Party is a significant threat as they have an expansionist mindset. They annexed Tibet and have systematically destroyed their culture. They are now doing that to the distinct cultures in Xinjiang.
    Supporting India with technical assistance like sophisticated reconnaissance intelligence as well as high altitude military gear is very important in providing serious pushback to CCP expansionism. India of course gets most of its military gear from Russia. I believe behind the scenes Putin will also support India in a significant manner militarily as it is only a matter of time before the CCP attempt to screw him.
    I’m in favor of complete decoupling with CCP and maximalist pressure short of direct military conflict including the recognition of Taiwan as an independent country.

  46. Yeah, Right says:

    Funny you should mention Tibet, as that is an example of British Great Game meddling par-excellence.
    Neither Tibet nor Taiwan had/has ever declared themselves to be “independent countries”, so both represent a situation where a central government lost the ability to assert authority over remote provinces.
    Bringing rebel provinces to heel is not in any way evidence of an “expansionist mindset”. Never was, never will be.
    That China may have hegemonic ambitions is not something I dispute – they certainly act that way – but that is not the same thing.
    Some nibbling at the edges of India/Pakistan, sure, just as India and Pakistan have like ambitions in that area. But, really, apart from that the Chinese don’t appear to have any ambitions to swallow up the territory of foreign independent countries.

  47. Jack says:

    Tibet has been an independent “country” in several epochs in its history.
    From the reign of Namri Songsten on through the 7th and 8th centuries. And even as central rule in Tibet fragmented in the 10th and 11th centuries they were not vassals of the imperial palaces in China right through to the 17th/18th centuries. The Qing dynasty occupied Tibet in the 18th century.
    The great power game of the British only happened in the 19th century. The Chinese left Tibet after the fall of the Qing dynasty.
    In any case the Tibetans are not Han and have a distinct and different culture. They do not have the population or the resources to resist in any meaningful way the Chinese communists.
    IMO, the CCP is the most malevolent force not only in world affairs but also in their control of the Chinese people. Every effort should be made by the US to destroy them.

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