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NY Times Attacks National Security Advisor Bolton. Marco Rubio Fires Back.

By  Hank Berrien

The New York Times penned a piece on Sunday in which the paper ripped national security adviser John R. Bolton, painting him as an extremist eager for war, writing, “Senior Pentagon officials are voicing deepening fears that President Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John R. Bolton, could precipitate a conflict with Iran at a time when Mr. Trump is losing leverage in the Middle East by pulling out American troops.”

The Times pushed its article by tweeting, “Senior Pentagon officials are voicing deepening fears that Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton, could precipitate a conflict with Iran.”

The Times wrote that sources from the Defense Department, in addition to “senior American officials,” informed the Times that Bolton’s National Security Council had asked the Pentagon last year for various ways the White House could target Iran militarily. The Times asserted that Bolton’s request followed Iranian-backed militants firing mortars or rockets onto the grounds of the United States Embassy in Baghdad in September.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis, along with other members of the military, cautioned against retaliating, according to the Times, which wrote, “Mr. Bolton does not want to hear opposing views, these officials said, abhors leaks and wants to control everything that flows to the president. But the result is that there is not much consideration of options and, more important, the risk of escalation, according to these people.”

The Times did acknowledge a spokesman for the National Security Council, Garrett Marquis, pointing out that Bolton’s job entailed the kind of actions Bolton took, saying, “The N.S.C. coordinates policy and provides the president with options to anticipate and respond to a variety of threats.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), fired back at the Times for its seeming attack on Bolton, tweeting, “This is an absurd criticism of Amb. Bolton. Shia militias in #Iraq are proxies of & controlled by #Iran. They want to use them to kill our troops but have deniability. Any attack by Shia militias against U.S. should be treated as an attack from Iran.”

The Times tried to create distance between Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, writing, “But Mr. Pompeo also opposed the idea of an airstrike on Iran after its attack on the embassy, according to a former senior administration official … On each stop of his Middle East trip, Mr. Pompeo, a former Army officer, has spoken of the need to counter Iran, but has not talked of military action.”

The Times noted that when Bolton traveled to Turkey recently, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would not see him, as Bolton has been standing for ensuring Turkey would not attack the Kurds, but the Times also admitted that on Sunday, President Trump backed Bolton by tweeting, “Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone….”

The Wall Street Journal quoted a former senior U.S. administration official saying of the NSC’s request for military options regarding Iran, “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”

That was countered on Twitter by the national security advisor for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX):

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