Nominees Grilled On Benghazi, Guantanamo

Nominees Grilled On Benghazi, Guantanamo

Lawmakers questioned President Barack Obama’s nominees for top Defense Department posts about last year’s attack on Americans in Benghazi, the military prison at Guantanamo Bay and the Navy’s alternative-energy plans.

The Senate Armed Services Committee met today to consider the nominations of Stephen Preston to be general counsel, Jon Rymer to be inspector general, Susan Rabern to be assistant secretary of the Navy for financial management and comptroller, and Dennis McGinn to be assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment.

The panel’s top Republican, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, asked Preston, general counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency, about the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.


“My role in the aftermath of Benghazi was extremely limited,” Preston said.

Inhofe asked Preston whether he had any role in writing or editing the talking points used by administration officials in the aftermath of the attack.

“No, sir,” Preston said.

Inhofe called the White House’s initial response to the incident — in which then-United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice said the attack was a response from a protest, not a planned terrorist attack — one of the most egregious cover-ups in the history of U.S. government.

In response to a question from the committee’s chairman, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., Preston said he opposed the use of waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists.

“I believe under current law waterboarding is torture,” he said. “I support the president’s decision to ban waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques.”

However, Preston said he understood personnel who carried out the interrogations were acting in a lawful  manner based on legal opinions issued at the time by the Justice Department. Those opinions, he said, have since been disavowed and withdrawn.

Preston also said he backs the administration’s policy of seeking to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay. The committee has voted for legislation that would give the Pentagon greater flexibility in transferring detainees from the facility to foreign countries.

Preston said he had some involvement in, but didn’t oversee, the CIA’s response to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s study on the agency’s detention and interrogation program. The agency reportedly objected to most of the findings and called them politically biased.

“The agency’s comments are an appropriate response,” he said. “I don’t believe that there is anything legally objectionable.”

Inhofe wasted no time distancing himself from McGinn, a retired Navy vice admiral who headed the president’s American Council on Renewable Energy. If confirmed, the former Navy pilot would be tasked with helping to implement the Navy’s so-called Great Green Fleet initiative to generate half of its energy from alternative fuels by 2020.

“As you know, we completely disagree on these issues, but thankfully, implementing a national policy for climate change will not be one of your core responsibilities if confirmed,” Inhofe said in his opening remarks. “Instead, you will be tasked with helping the Navy navigate a complex range of installation and environmental issues as well as its fiscally irresponsible pursuit of the Great Green Fleet.”

Later during questioning, Inhofe said he agreed with McGinn’s support for expanding the Marine Corps’ training range at Twentynine Palms, Calif., and smiled as he acknowledged their differences of opinion on the topic of alternative energy.

“An area where we don’t agree is in the use of a lot of our funds that would otherwise be used for readiness and for defense purposes for biofuels and these other things,” he said. “We’ll have a chance to talk about this in the future and we have in the past.”

“I look forward to it, senator,” McGinn said.

McGinn was introduced and praised by former Sen. John Warner, a Republican from Virginia who served as chairman of the committee and secretary of the Navy. Warner touted the accomplishments of each of the four nominees.

“These four resumes constitute an extraordinary body of knowledge needed in these respective positions,” he said.

The hearing came a week after Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., helped broker a deal between Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Senate majority leader, and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the minority leader, to avert a constitutional showdown over president nominations.

The committee is expected to vote on the nominees sometime after it meets next week to decide on the nomination of Army Gen. Martin Dempsey to another two-year term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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Dead horse Benghazi. Nonsense. Anyway, when is any ‘senator’ going to question how best to downsize the military to sustainable levels? Without too big a loss in capabilities, and without large shocks (big cuts in short periods of time). There needs to be a gentle rampdown to realign the US military with America’s current and near future economy. Nobody wants to be a hollow nation like the Soviet Union: people going hungry, but weapons ever so shiny. It’s always the last stand of a limp empire.

The US will NOT be another Soviet union, it’s economy is too big for that, but it DOES need to realign itself with reality and it’s economy. If I were to have my pay cut by a few percent, I at best should realign my lifestyle and expenditures accordingly.

I’d suggest the lowest hanging fruit: nuclear arsenal. The US’ conventional military is SO gigantic and strong, it can easily cut billions yearly from it’s nuclear posture. Let’s be honest: who’s going to attack a nation with 1000 stand by nukes? (as opposed to 1550). Alright, now cut that grease.

The great Green Fleet is like me selling Mr.Cox here the Brooklyn bridge. Its hogwash and a waste of money while all other items will be cut soon. Obama again is destroying the military.

“The US will NOT be another Soviet union, it’s economy is too big for that”

It’s big, but is it diverse? If the finance sector started pulling up stakes and moving money overseas, the paper GDP of this country would diminish considerably. There’s not much else left propping up the country, now that heavy industry is gone. That’s one thing the Bolsheviks and the Trotskyites had right over the Maoists: that the urban proletariat and industry is more useful than energizing the farmers (as we learned in China, Cambodia…)

True, which is why the financial sector needs to be pared back/ or the industrial sector upped to about 20% up from 12 now. It’s the same. We in Europe laugh at the UK, because they haven’t anything except the banks in ‘the city’ London. Now guess what, ANY country can have/has banks. They aren’t REAL. It’s the iron and steel that make a people a people.

…if it wasn’t for Benghazi, the Repubtards in Congress would need to get a new broken record to drone on about…and because the most promising source of raw materials for alt / bio fuels is ALGAE, that Great Green Fleet sails on…Thank GOD…
I just shake my head in mild dismay at all the idiot skeleton horses in Ronnie Rayguns’ Cavalry…
The Demoncrats are worse, they gave us this Obama-nation…
*AUDIT*the*FED*.…at least audit the Fed…

Well no, any non-partisan sees openly that the Republicans have gotten insane and childish since just before Bush 2 and absolutely crazy since Obama. The sad thing is, this split is accelerating America’s decline. I mean you have got to be blind to believe otherwise. Great things could happen when both parties helped along, accepting that the other side gets to hold power every once in a while. Like two parents driving one after the other. This infighting is causing decline and shame on a world stage. It’s sad. Perhaps it’s inherent to a two party system in a democracy. I know of no other democracy with only two parties.

I DO agree, “Concerned European”, but there is NO “both parties”…it’s a DUOPOLY…(…with a huge helping of “Idiocracy”, but that’s not only a movie title…)…
AND, “America” is NOT “a democracy”…it’s a “republic”, with some window-dressings of “democracy”…
Here in the State of New Hampshire, there are far more registered “independent” voters, than EITHER Demoncraps, or Repubtards…The so-called “3rd parties” are all jokes…and, BOTH R’s & D’s are LOSING FAST…
Personally, I’m hoping for a “civic war”, or a military coup…seriously…the blatant corruption here in America, is everybody’s worst enemy…But I still think we’ll be OK…Both Benghazi & Guantanamo are only *symbols*, and argumentative talking points…The “Old Guard” will either LET GO, or DIE OFF…Time is implacable…

True. Like any other republic or democracy (not mutually exclusive) decisions need to be made for the better of the people, only a bit to the left or right depending on elected officials. No decisions should be made because small powerful interest order to do so. That makes it a plutocracy. If a group op 100 defense experts say lets cut this and invest in that, THAT should be done. No decisions to shore up the bottom line of a few contractors, but just based on the needs of a country. Same goes for every sector.

Sad thing is, America is really NOT either a “republic”, OR a “democracy”…despite all the propaganda…
The BEST word to describe the current American government is PLUTOCRACY…or maybe Idiocracy…
An armed Plutocracy…that is what America truly is…sad, very sad…

Well, it’s a plutocracy kept in place by the stupidity of the idiocracy. Be wary of him who cuts education spending. Be ware of him who allows unlimited campaign monies. Be wary of him who incites ANY emotion in the general populace. Sadly, all that has already and is happening. Long way from home. Who knows how to practically fix it.

Yes, my Concerned European friend…America *IS* a “plutocracy kept in place by an idiocracy”…along with the inertia of ~250 years of history…Oddly enough, the American people are for the most part a good, and decent people…That’s why I believe that we will muddle through some how…and why I see both Benghazi & Guantanamo to be minor distractions, at most…only 3 were killed at Benghazi, and the CIA & arms smuggling are right behind that, as usual…and Gitmo has ~150 prisoners, and STILL the FedGov doesn’t know what to do about it!…Yes, for those directly affected, they are personal tragedies, but in the scale of ~7.5Billion people on Earth, they are popcorn farts in a hurricane…

I’m sure Americans are very decent. I visited some years ago. Both conservatives and liberals, on a personal basis are very decent and worried about their country. Sadly, their concerns are used by unwanted agents for their personal use. Splitting the population and inciting them, making them go nuts, even so far that family members can become enemies when talking about politics. If that brainwashing was never allowed in the first place, the US would be a very different place; both internally and externally. Sad how a good people can be scared into almost anything. Even racism. Let’s be honest, most ‘racists’ wouldn’t be racist if not talked into being scared for the ‘boogyman’, and news only showing darker skinned people doing this and that (almost all mass murderes are whites, but you can’t accentuate that). Probably only .5% of any Western population is a die hard ‘race purist’. But scare enough of the normal folks, and they become bigoted as well. Guess what, if a nation has 300 million people, a third of whom are of a different skin, you NEED to get along in order to use the country’s full potential. Can’t just cut off a 100 million folks.

Green jet fuel for the Navy = about $58 a gallon *********** JP5 = about $5. Has the prez and congress lost their mind, or are they trying to destroy Ameria?

The price of JP5 will continue to RISE, until we run out of fossil fuels completely, then it will be PRICELESS…Bio-fuels, or what you call “Green jet fuel”, will continue to drop in price, as new technologies and economies of scale kick in…
Sorry, “retired462”, but the kids in Gov’t are WAY SMARTER than you or I, Sir…

Not sure what your talking about and I don’t think you do either on the issue of race in the news being the “darker man doing this and that”. Actually it’s quite the opposite here, the media is scared silent on race issues and mobs of blacks attacking people become mobs of teens, recently here in Nashville in an attack during a shoplifting incident a vivid description of the vehicle was given but on the women involved it was “two females, one pregnant,” not two black females 5 foot 5 wearing jeans and red shirts or any other descriptions but they seemed to be out to catch that darn car… In an attack on Nashville Police officers it was again Nashville Police attacked by group of teenagers but the video showed it was indeed blacks. Statistics show the levels of blacks committing crimes and killing people is staggering compared to that of other races especially against other blacks, so I’m not sure where your getting your information from… One thing is for sure, the EU sure has no right or statistics to back telling us how to do things or to support gun control…

Screw you, “Former Fed”, you’re very much part of the problem “Concerned European” is talking about…If you had taken the time to read ALL the comments above, you’d see that “C.E.”, and myself were / are engaged in a mini-dialogue…Yes, so-called “black-on’black”, crimes, and other crimes, are disproportionally committed by blacks. And, yes, there is a pervasive racial bias by the white-controlled media, and system…And, yes, American media DOES HYPE any and all racial tensions…Look at all the Trayvon Martin-Zimmerman coverage…it’s all race-baiting…Too few of us have the balls to call the whole notion of “race” what it truly IS : illusion, and delusion…There are NO “races”, there is ONLY the HUMAN RACE…when enough of us realize that, only then will we begin to see a true reduction in stupid “racism”…But, your point about the “criminality of blacks” is well taken, even if you’re sticking your nose into an ongoing conversation…

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