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CondiGate is the term which has been applied to controversies involving Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

John R. Bolton's Nomination

The term surfaced most recently in April 2005 regarding Rice's "reported directive to her staff to keep mum" on John R. Bolton's nomination as ambassador to the United Nations by President George W. Bush. [1]

Judd Legum, co-editor of Think Progress, highlighted a passage "hidden" in the April 20, 2005, Washington Post regarding the "unexpected" decision by the panel considering Bolton's nomination to spend more time investigating emerging allegations. Charles Babington and Dafna Linzer wrote in the Post: [2][3]

"On Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told her senior staff she was disappointed about the stream of allegations [about John Bolton] and said she did not want any information coming out of the department that could adversely affect the nomination, said officials speaking on the condition of anonymity."

Legum cited 18 U.S. Code Section 1505, Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees, and made the comment April 20, 2005, that

"This is serious enough that a reporter covering the State Department should inquire about Rice’s conduct. What, exactly, did Rice tell her subordinates? How is this consistent with their full cooperation with a Congressional inquiry." [4]

On April 21, 2005, Legum followed up regarding the "grilling" of State Department spokesman Adam Ereli about Rice's directive to her staff. "First," he wrote, Ereli said "the report was inaccurate without saying how it was inaccurate. ... a classic way of deflecting the question without answering the question."

"But then," Legum continued, "it gets even more interesting":

QUESTION: She wants information out that could adversely affect his nomination?
MR. ERELI: I would say that the Secretary strongly supports this nomination, feels that John Bolton should be confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

Legum commented that this was "a perfect opportunity for Ereli to end the controversy. He could have simply said that Rice supports full cooperation with the committee. But he didn’t. Instead he said that Rice believe[s] Bolton should be confirmed." [5]

QUESTION: But that’s a different issue and a different question than whether she has asked the people in the Department not to say anything that would adversely impact the –
MR. ERELI: I’m not aware that any such thing was ever said.

"Another carefully worded statement. He’s not saying that she requested her staff withhold information from the committee. Ereli is saying he doesn’t know whether or not that was ever said. It illustrates the thinness of his earlier claim that the report was inaccurate," Legum wrote.

He also poses "two questions Condoleezza Rice needs to answer to settle this controversy:

1. Should employees of the State Department provide the committee with any information on John Bolton they believe is relevant to his nomination?
2. Have you ever suggested, in any way, that employees of the State Department withhold certain kinds of information from the committee?" [6]

9/11 Commission Testimony

In his April 13, 2004, article CondiGate, William Jelani Cobb opined regarding Rice's April 8, 2004, testimony before the 9/11 Commission: [7]

"Rice's appearance before the 9/11 commission on April 8 was the definition of a Catch-22: a public failure on her part would invariably be read as yet another example of black incompetence. And a virtuoso political performance from Rice would be a victory for an administration that has squandered international goodwill, undermined the United Nations, used the horror of September 11th as a political trump card, run the economy into long-term recession and started a war to protect us from non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
"For what it matters, Rice was convincing -- even as her testimony was starkly at odds with the historical record, her own previous claims and those of other members of the administration. And the underlying point is this: In the long, tangled history of black people in the United States, we have at last reached the point where black politicians have earned the right to be just as dubious and questionable as their white counterparts."

9/11 and the August 6, 2001, PDB

Referencing the August 6, 2001, President's Daily Briefing Memo, Max B. Sawicky wrote: [8]

"I don't want to belabor the point, but the most damning aspect of Rice's testimony before the 9/11 Commission was her almost accidental admission that she, along with the rest of the foreign policy team within the administration, blinded themselves to the threat posed by Al Qaeda due to their preoccupation with virtually nonexistent state-sponsored terrorism. Their continued focus on Iraq even after 9/11, despite Saddam's consistent efforts to avoid outright war with the United States, only further demonstrates how dangerously the Bushies were disconnected from reality. While maybe it was just their poor luck that their incompetence was so thoroughly exploited so early in their term, that doesn't excuse them from blame. Not for 9/11, but for gross incompetence itself."

Chinese Nuclear Forces

In his September 10, 2001, Asia's Chaotic Chessboard, World Tribune's Sol W. Sanders wrote: [9]

"Every piece is now moving on the Asian chessboard. The moves are long-term, short-term, contradictory, complementary, and unpredictable. ... It is no wonder that a recent backgrounder by Pres. Bush’s foreign policy adviser, Condelissa Rice, misinterpreted [or their own agenda?] by The New York Times and The Washington Post added one more dischord to the cacophony. ..."
"The Bush II position is that the Chinese are going to modernize their nuclear forces come what may. ... Condi's point was Washington could do nothing about this since it was an integral part of modernizing the world’s largest [but antiquated] military. China's deployments had been limited because Beijing could not produce sufficient fissile material. ...
"Moreover, its shift to U.S. nuclear weapon designs [especially the W-88 used on the U.S. Trident missile] will require much more fissile material The Russians helped China solve this problem, so the Chinese program is now unstoppable.
"China will probably need to test to assure confidence in their W-88s [they have already tested one]. As a result, they will probably conduct covert tests unless the U.S. too openly resumes testing. This simple observation Condi offered has been perverted to suggest that the U.S. is somehow prepared to 'trade' acquiescence in China's nuclear modernization for a similar Chinese posture on U.S. missile defense.
"Unfortunately, not much of this got through the NYTimes-WashPost filter to even the foreign policy establishment, much less the general public. And so history is written [or miswritten] by my fellow journalists."

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