WASHINGTON – White House security officials are threatening to block publication of John Bolton’s book unless the former national security adviser deletes information that is classified.
In a letter to Bolton’s attorney, the National Security Council has determined that the book includes “top secret” information that could undermine national security; it did not specify what those passages were.
Under commitments Bolton made when he accepted the job as national security adviser, the letter said, “the manuscript may not be published or otherwise disclosed without the deletion of this classified information.”
The NSC said it would work with Bolton on deletions on the book that has prompted demands for testimony from the former national security adviser in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
Bolton attorney Chuck Cooper declined to comment on the letter.
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Bolton’s team submitted the manuscript to the National Security Council on Dec. 30 for a standard review to see whether the book contains classified information that should not be made public.
“The manuscript appears to contain significant amounts of classified information,” said the reply Wednesday signed by Ellen J. Knight, senior director for records, access and information security management.
Administration officials have said Trump and his legal team have not seen the Bolton manuscript and did not participate in the review.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Bolton’s book alleges Trump demanded Ukraine investigate a political rival in exchange for foreign aid, the key allegation in the impeachment case against the president.
Trump’s critics said the president is desperately trying to prevent Bolton’s information from coming out.
“Nobody works this hard to keep the truth from coming out unless the truth is devastating,” said Walter Shaub, former director of U.S. Office of Government Ethics.