While the National Security Council’s pre-publication review process is normally fairly straightforward, Bolton’s case may be more complicated. The claims he reportedly makes in his book are central to President Donald Trump’s ongoing impeachment trial, which could politicize the process and lead to a protracted legal battle.
That means the president’s lawyers could, in theory, bottle up Bolton’s manuscript—and the explosive allegations it is said to contain—until past the presidential election in November.
“If everyone were acting in good faith, it might perhaps be possible to resolve the classification issues in a reasonable amount of time, possibly a few weeks,” said Steve Aftergood, a classification expert who directs the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy. “If people are not acting in good faith, the disputes could linger for months or longer.”