I'm writing to urge you to consider blocking in committee the nomination of John Bolton as ambassador to the UN.
In the late summer of 1994, I worked as the subcontracted leader of a US AID project in Kyrgyzstan officially awarded to a HUB primary contractor. My own employer was Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly, and I reported directly to Republican leader Charlie Black.
After months of incompetence, poor contract performance, inadequate in-country funding, and a general lack of interest or support in our work from the prime contractor, I was forced to make US AID officials aware of the prime contractor's poor performance.
I flew from Kyrgyzstan to Moscow to meet with other Black Manafort employees who were leading or subcontracted to other US AID projects. While there, I met with US AID officials and expressed my concerns about the project -- chief among them, the prime contractor's inability to keep enough cash in country to allow us to pay bills, which directly resulted in armed threats by Kyrgyz contractors to me and my staff.
Within hours of sending a letter to US AID officials outlining my concerns, I met John Bolton, whom the prime contractor hired as legal counsel to represent them to US AID. And, so, within hours of dispatching that letter, my hell began.
Mr. Bolton proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel -- throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and, generally, behaving like a madman. For nearly two weeks, while I awaited fresh direction from my company and from US AID, John Bolton hounded me in such an appalling way that I eventually retreated to my hotel room and stayed there. Mr. Bolton, of course, then routinely visited me there to pound on the door and shout threats.
When US AID asked me to return to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in advance of assuming leadership of a project in Kazakstan, I returned to my project to find that John Bolton had proceeded me by two days. Why? To meet with every other AID team leader as well as US foreign-service officials in Bishkek, claiming that I was under investigation for misuse of funds and likely was facing jail time. As US AID can confirm, nothing was further from the truth.
He indicated to key employees of or contractors to State that, based on his discussions with investigatory officials, I was headed for federal prison and, if they refused to cooperate with either him or the prime contractor's replacement team leader, they, too, would find themselves the subjects of federal investigation. As a further aside, he made unconscionable comments about my weight, my wardrobe and, with a couple of team leaders, my sexuality, hinting that I was a lesbian (for the record, I'm not).
When I resurfaced in Kyrgyzstan, I learned that he had done such a convincing job of smearing me that it took me weeks -- with the direct intervention of US AID officials -- to limit the damage. In fact, it was only US AID's appoinment of me as a project leader in Almaty, Kazakstan that largely put paid to the rumors Mr. Bolton maliciously circulated.
As a maligned whistleblower, I've learned firsthand the lengths Mr. Bolton will go to accomplish any goal he sets for himself. Truth flew out the window. Decency flew out the window. In his bid to smear me and promote the interests of his client, he went straight for the low road and stayed there.
John Bolton put me through hell -- and he did everything he could to intimidate, malign and threaten not just me, but anybody unwilling to go along with his version of events. His behavior back in 1994 wasn't just unforgivable, it was pathological.
I cannot believe that this is a man being seriously considered for any diplomatic position, let alone such a critical posting to the UN. Others you may call before your committee will be able to speak better to his stated dislike for and objection to stated UN goals. I write you to speak about the very character of the man.
It took me years to get over Mr. Bolton's actions in that Moscow hotel in 1994, his intensely personal attacks and his shocking attempts to malign my character.
I urge you from the bottom of my heart to use your ability to block Mr. Bolton's nomination in committee.
Dallas, TX 75208
The atmosphere of the USAID project sounds right, but it's not clear who's to blame, either. Apparently, from her own account, Townsel got another job in Kazakhstan, in a "leadership position," so her career doesn't seem to have suffered from the confrontation. But still, any time Central Asia is in the news, it's interesting. I wonder why Bolton reportedly said Townsel was headed to prison and then nothing happened? From this and other stories it is beginning to look like Bolton's bark may be worse than his bite...
Who is Bolton's accuser? I googled "Melody Townsel" and came up with this from KERA, the PBS station in Dallas: "Melody Townsel is a single mother of a four-year-old girl, and an entrepreneur who runs Townsel Communications, an independent communications consulting firm. Townsel is a native Texan who has lived and worked as a journalist and a public relations executive in 22 countries." (Why does there always seem to be a PBS connections?)
Here's The NY Times account of Towel's charges:
Ms. Townsel, identified as active in a group opposed to President Bush, was interviewed by the committee last week, but it was not clear how much the committee would try to make of her charges. Responding to her accusation, Edwin Hullander, who was executive vice president of International Business and Technical Consultants Inc., the firm that employed Mr. Bolton as counsel, said he had not heard of any such incident happening until Ms. Townsel's recent accusation. He said he had checked with two people who were there at the time who were also unaware of it, and who said they believed they would have heard about a confrontation if it had occurred.
And here's The New York Sun version :
The latest accusations of abuse aimed at the president's nominee to be America's ambassador to the United Nations come from a self-described "liberal Democrat" who in 2004 helped organize the Dallas chapter of "Mothers Opposing Bush."
BTW, take a look at this long list of IBTCI's current projects around the world. It still seems to be a big USAID contractor.