Attorney General-nominee Eric Holder Jr. forcefully broke from the Bush administration’s counterterrorism policies Thursday, declaring that waterboarding is torture and pledging to prosecute some Guantanamo Bay detainees in U.S. courts.
It was the latest signal that President-elect Barack Obama will chart a new course in combatting terrorism. As recently as last week, Vice President Dick Cheney defended waterboarding, a harsh interrogation tactic that simulates drowning, saying it provided valuable intelligence.
Roland Burris took his place as Barack Obama’s successor in the Senate on Thursday, ending a standoff that embarrassed the president-elect and fellow Democrats who initially resisted the appointment by impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
"I do," Burris said with a grin as Vice President Dick Cheney administered the oath of office to the former Illinois attorney general who takes Obama’s place as the Senate’s only black member.
BIDEN: Mr. President, let me begin by thanking the leaders for their kind comments. It is true that I have been here a long time, I say to my friend from Kentucky. As a matter of fact, as I — I prepared some remarks, I say to my friend from Hawaii, I remember the first time I stood on the floor …
Incoming president Barack Obama has pledged to try to succeed where his predecessor George W. Bush failed by catching or killing Al-Qaeda terror network leader Osama bin Laden.
But Obama, who takes office on January 20, is likely to face many of the same challenges his predecessor did in attempting to neutralize the man behind the deadly September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States.
"Bin Laden is like the great white whale of American counter-terrorism, like Moby Dick," said James Lewis, a counter-terrorism expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
With no daylight showing between congressional Democrats and the next administration’s foreign policy team, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to be swiftly endorsed by a Senate panel as President-elect Barack Obama’s new secretary of state.
Indications from both parties this week were that Clinton would win a near-unanimous vote Thursday in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.