Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton joined SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam on Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily to talk about the Manchester terror attack.
Bolton said the U.K. government’s raising its threat level “is another indication that this seems to be, at least they fear, it’s part of a larger terrorist effort.”
“I quite agree, although we don’t have all the facts at this point, obviously,” he added. “There’s simply no question that this is an effort by a terrorist network. ISIS is taking credit. There’s no reason, in this case, not to buy that.”
“I hope as the NATO leaders meet in Brussels today that President Trump’s efforts to get NATO to take the terrorist threat more seriously might take hold,” Bolton said, citing reports that France and Germany have agreed to the Trump administration’s plan for an expanded NATO role against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
Kassam asked about reports that British law enforcement is furious over American government agencies, specifically the FBI, leaking photos of the Manchester bombing and the name of the suspect, Salman Abedi.
“As anybody who’s been watching for the past six months or so can say, the intelligence and law enforcement in this country leak like a sieve,” Bolton said ruefully. “It’s a disgrace, really. I hope the Trump administration tries to do more to prevent the leaks. It’s very hard to do. I’ve seen it in prior administrations, but the level of leaking against Trump himself, against his White House, and just generally law enforcement and intelligence officials talking to the press is kind of out of control.”
“I can understand why the British are upset about this,” he said. “You’ve got an ongoing investigation. There are probably parts of the conspiracy still in Manchester. The less they know about what law enforcement and intelligence are doing, the greater the chances of apprehending them and perhaps foiling a second or a third attack. Whoever did this leaking from the United States, from whatever agency, it was really irresponsible.”
Kassam contrasted President Trump’s willingness to use phrases like “Islamic terrorism,” as he did in Saudi Arabia, with the reluctance of both career bureaucrats and new Trump appointees to speak so bluntly about the nature of the threat.
“I think it’s a problem for the Trump administration that it can’t get everybody to speak from the same sheet of music on this,” Bolton said. “That doesn’t mean that you have to use the same phrase every hour, every day, over and over again.”
“What we’re talking about here, I think, is a pretty basic point, though, and that is: do you believe that the terrorists’ ideology comes from their radical interpretation of Islam? I think the answer is clearly yes,” he contended.
“This is something that Muslims themselves recognize – King Abdullah of Jordan – because so many victims of radical Islamic terrorism have been Muslim. If you can’t understand that basic ideological point, then you can’t defeat the terrorists. You can’t work with Muslims who agree with us,” said Bolton.
“I think one of the signal victories of the present visit to Saudi Arabia is that for all that he was condemned as an Islamophobe and all the rest of it, the people in that room were very realistic about their need for the United States to help them against the terrorists. I think what the president said to them satisfied them, that he’s not an Islamophobe. I don’t think he ever was. They understand that we are now committed in this war against terrorism in ways we have not been for the past eight years. That’s important,” he judged.
Kassam brought up the idea of appointing former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who was the Democrat candidate for vice president in 2000, as head of the FBI, and asked if it was the kind of appointment the Republican winner of a presidential election should consider. (Lieberman is reportedly out of the running for the position.)
“I think the circumstances are such that you don’t get your perfect choice here,” Bolton replied. “I think Lieberman would be a great selection. It doesn’t sound to me like he’s going to get it because of the apparent decision of the president to pick a lawyer of the firm with which Lieberman has been affiliated since he left the Senate.”
“I think the pattern that, for example, the Reagan administration used when it picked William Webster, a sitting federal judge, to be the director of the FBI and then later director of the CIA, I think that would make sense here,” Bolton recommended.
“I think you’ve got to get somebody who can help restore confidence in the FBI. I think Jim Comey richly deserved to be fired for his behavior, and I think he badly damaged the credibility of the FBI,” he said.
“Getting a new nominee who gets widespread support in the Senate, I think, is important. It’s important for Trump. It’s important for the FBI, for the Justice Department. And really, Trump kind of reduced some of the savage personal attacks that characterized the debate today – principally from Democrats who, as you say, simply cannot acknowledge that Trump won the election. It’s damaging to our institutions when this goes on,” Bolton said.
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.