Tuesday on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated the case he made a night earlier on Fox News, which was former National Security Advisor John Bolton violated the law with the publication of his book, which supposedly reveals secret information.
Pompeo suggested Bolton should face prosecution, although said that ultimate decision would be up to Attorney General William Barr.
Partial transcript as follows:
So Hugh, I haven’t had a chance to read the book, either. I’ve seen the number of excerpts that have been put out. I’d say three things about it, first of all. First, a number of things I’ve seen. I was in the room, too. I was present for those. I remember them very differently. These are things that have been either fully spun or are frankly just lies that don’t reflect what truly happened there. Second, you know, the book says he was in the room.
The truth is he was such a difficult person and leaked so much information even while he was still in office, that it was often the case that he wasn’t a participant in the meetings because we all had come to see that there was real risk that this information would end up in places it shouldn’t have.
And then finally, to your larger point, I think Judge Lamberth has it right. This is unprecedented what John Bolton chose to do while a current president is still in office to have his most senior national security staff member write a book containing detailed asserted quotations about what was said to foreign leaders, what was said in very private meetings on sensitive topics presents enormous risk. I’ve also seen instances, where there’s information that I am confident, was classified, and I am saddened because this is a horrible precedent.
And I hope — I’ll leave it to Attorney General Barr to make the final decision, but as I stare at that, this is the kind of thing that we’ve seen happen. I was a soldier once, Hugh. You know that story. I saw young soldiers who were prosecuted for releasing classified information at a much lower level who were much more junior and who didn’t have 30 years of experience handling classified information.
This is something that has real criminal risk associated with it, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out how it’s the case that this can be permitted to stand without a real response. If this becomes the pattern and practice, this is truly damaging to American national security.
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