Thursday, May 12, 2005

Bolton accuser CHANGED HER STORY!!



One of the most sensationalized accusations against Secretary Bolton is that 11 years ago, he chased a woman around a Moscow hotel throwing things at her. This is problematic first because the behavior described seems so out of place. But secondly, because it has been very difficult for our staffs, despite many hours of interviews on this matter, to ascertain just what happened.

The woman, Melody Townsel, who lives in Dallas, admits that she is a liberal Democrat who worked for Mothers Opposing Bush in the last election. Ms. Townsel also told our staffs that her original accusation, contained in a letter that was made public, may have been too strong in some places. She said: “’Chasing’ may not be the best word.” What she meant was that Secretary Bolton would approach her whenever he saw her at the hotel where they were both staying because, as she describes it, she did not want to meet with him over a legal matter. It is important to remember that Secretary Bolton was a private lawyer at that time. He was not representing the U.S. government. He was working for a company against which Ms. Townsel had made some very serious charges — charges which proved unfounded — that could have cost his company an important USAID contract in the former Soviet Union.

Ms. Townsel provided no eyewitnesses to the incidents, which are said to have occurred in public or open areas of the hotel. Moreover, although she claimed this was a highly traumatic encounter and that she told several people about it, staff had difficulty finding others who knew about it. Three people whom Ms. Townsel identified as having heard her complaints at the time of the events told staff that they had no recollection of Ms. Townsel mentioning Mr. Bolton. Her boss, Charles Black, of Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, who hired her for the post, said she never mentioned it to him. Neither did her immediate supervisor back in Washington. An employee of a sister company who assisted Ms. Townsel in making her charges against the prime contractor on her project and with whom she said she was in close touch at the time, also knows nothing about it. Staffs talked to three representatives of the contractor, a small Virginia firm which has long experience working for USAID overseas. Those officials also heard nothing about this encounter. They said that Secretary Bolton was in Moscow at that time, but he was working as a consultant for a health project they were involved in, not doing legal work for them. We did find one of her friends and co-workers from that time, who was not in Moscow, who recalls talking with her by telephone about it, as well as a subordinate of hers in a later USAID-funded project who recalls her mentioning it.

Well now I'm sure the media will just jump on this with the same fervour they used when she made the exaggerated claims!!


First I'd like to say thanks to Powerpundit for all the hits I've been getting today and hello to all you new visitors.

Also, if you happened to hear this mentioned in the last half hour of HUGH HEWITT'S show last night, that was me.