SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (I-CONN.): Good morning. No, good afternoon. And welcome to our hearing today. Today we’re going to hold two hearings back to back for the nominees to lead the Office of Management and Budget. First, we will consider the nomination of Peter R. Orszag to be director of OMB.
The Pentagon official overseeing the tribunals for Guantanamo Bay detainees has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
"We tortured Qahtani," Susan Crawford said in an interview with the newspaper. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.
In theory, a special prison at Guantanamo Bay for captives in the war on terror made sense. It would be totally under U.S. control and unlike prisons in Afghanistan and Pakistan there was no chance the inmates could break out or bribe their way out.
It would give U.S. intelligence officials the leisure to question the prisoners, using approved techniques in effect since World War II, and decide whom to release, whom to try for war crimes and whom to hold until the cessation of hostilities.
President-elect Barack Obama eventually will gain access to the second half of the $700 billion financial bailout fund — politics notwithstanding and more likely sooner than later.
The test is whether he can persuade enough members of his own party to support an extraordinarily unpopular program and avoid an embarrassing veto fight with a Democratic-led Congress at the outset of his presidency. A critical vote could come as early as Thursday.
A Capitol Hill grilling is likely for Timothy Geithner, President-elect Barack Obama’s pick to head the Treasury Department, after public revelations he failed to pay $34,000 in taxes several years ago.
Senate Democrats are pressing to schedule a quick confirmation hearing for Geithner on Friday, hoping to tee up swift approval of his nomination on Inauguration Day. But newly released information about the tax goofs by Geithner, regarded as a brilliant financial markets specialist well-positioned to deal with the nation’s considerable economic problems, could complicate the process.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton smoothly took on policy questions, from the acute to the arcane, in a gentle job interview to be the nation’s top diplomat, but could not dispel tougher questions about whether her husband’s charity work poses an ethical conflict.
Her confirmation as secretary of state is not in doubt, and she could be on the job as soon as President-elect Barack Obama’s first full day in office. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee planned to vote on the selection Thursday.
Concerns about her husband’s foreign fund-raising cast a shadow over Sen. Hillary Clinton’s nomination as U.S. secretary of state when Republicans on Tuesday pressed her to do more to avoid conflicts of interest.
Clinton is expected to easily win confirmation as President-elect Barack Obama’s top diplomat and she carefully avoided breaking new ground on foreign policy as she appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was eager to hit the ground running in 2009. Then, with the cameras rolling, he planted his first step firmly on an upturned rake.
We can only hope that the Lesson of Roland Burris left a lasting impression on the Senate leader. But so far, all that we have seen is that the Democratic leader has much to learn about leading his newer, stronger majority in a new age that is driven not by the old muscle politics, but by the power of streaming video politics.