'He cooked the books’: Ex-White House official recounts how John Bolton lied us into war before
John Bolton appears on Fox News (screen grab)

National Security Advisor John Bolton was slammed for his history of manipulating intelligence as the hawk attempts to lead America into war with Iran.

"This to me is the most striking part of this entire thing. John Bolton wanted this for a long time, it is on the record. But it is also the number one priority of the Saudi regime that appears to let Donald Trump and the American state around by the nose and does whatever they want and the Americans appear to be just willing to help," MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes noted.

For analysis, Hayes interviewed former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes.

"Chris, you and I have talked about this, but from the beginning of the Trump Administration, we've seen since Trump essentially outsourced foreign policy to [Saudi Crown Prince] Mohammad bin Salman and [Israeli Prime Minister] Bibi Netanyahu," Rhodes explained.

"Mohammad bin Salman is pushing for confrontation with Iran and so is Bibi Netanyahu. Donald Trump has gone along with this. He pulled out of the deal, that was at the top of the list of Saudi Arabia and Prime Minister Netanyahu. He especially poured gasoline all over a fire and handed the matches to John Bolton," he continued.

"John Bolton set the conditions for the war. He framed it the same way he did Iraq," he noted.

Indeed, Bolton's role in the disastrous invasion of Iraq looms large over his latest push for war in the Middle East.

"First of all, John Bolton has a history of cooking the books on intelligence, we all know what happened before the war in Iraq," Rhodes noted.

"He couldn't be confirmed as UN ambassador because he tried to insist that they supply him and said Cuba had a biological weapons program," he reminded. "He cooks the books."

"The second thing I'd say, I got this intelligence every day for eight years. I was in the presidential daily briefing. There are always threats in the Middle East," he noted.

Despite warnings that war with Iran could be worse than Iraq, Rhodes worried it may be coming soon.

"Drawing down the personnel in Baghdad and closing the consulate in Basra, Iraq, what they are doing is removing the targets that we know Iran would hit if we attacked Iran. To me, that’s a blinking red signal and setting the stage for the confrontation," he explained.