John Bolton Reveals 'One-Sided' Questions NYT Reporter Sent Him for North Korea Story

Former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton
Former Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton / Getty Images
September 8, 2017

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton on Friday published a set of questions he described as biased and "one-sided" that a New York Times reporter sent him after he indicated that he supports using military force against North Korea.

Bolton wrote an op-ed for the New York Post on Tuesday in which he declared his support for the U.S. taking military action against North Korea's nuclear program.

"It is completely unacceptable to say we must await a first strike by Pyongyang before we will resort to military force," Bolton wrote, adding that the alternative to preemptive action is "potentially global proliferation of nuclear weapons, with the attendant risks lasting beyond our power to calculate."

Two days later, New York Times reporter Gardiner Harris sent an email to the media adviser to the political action committee Bolton established to support Senate and House candidates who "favor a strong U.S. foreign policy." The email contained a set of questions for Bolton on his op-ed.

Bolton published the email's contents in an article for National Review, writing that the questions were "utterly one-sided, simplistic, incorporate factually incorrect assertions, and signal that the story is all but written."

"There is clearly no basis to try to engage such a 'reporter' in reasoned dialogue," he added.

Harris said he would probably write about Bolton's op-ed and listed four questions for the former ambassador:

1. How many deaths are acceptable losses in such an endeavour to get rid of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities? 100,000? A million? Ten million?

2. How many deaths does the ambassador expect?

3. Why now? South Korea and Japan have been living under this threat for a decade. Do we attack only to prevent the North's capacity to hit the US?

4. If yes to above, why would the South agree with this strategy? They have to sacrifice potentially millions of their citizens lives so the US does not have to live with the risks they've faced for years?

"Some might wonder at publishing the questions in this way, but there is no indication that the 'reporter' asked for confidentiality of any sort," Bolton wrote. "Maybe the rules should apply to them as well. Welcome to the world of pre-emptive strikes."