McCain hits terms in federal budget plan on CIA's drone use
WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., sharply criticized congressional appropriators on Thursday for secretly slipping language into the omnibus spending bill that preserves the CIA's role in lethal counterterrorism operations.
McCain was responding to a report in Thursday's Washington Post that revealed that Congress is on the verge of blocking President Obama's plan to shift control of the drone campaign from the CIA to the Defense Department.
The measure, buried within the 1,500-page, $1.1 trillion federal budget plan, would restrict the use of any funding to transfer unmanned aircraft or the authority to carry out drone strikes from the CIA to the Pentagon, officials said.
Waving a copy of The Post while speaking on the Senate floor, McCain blasted his colleagues on the Senate and House Appropriations committees for making such a key decision without formally and publicly consulting the authorizing committees for the CIA and Defense Department.
“The Appropriations Committee has no business making these decisions,” the senator said. “The job of the Armed Services Committee and the job of the Intelligence Committee is to authorize these things. There was no hearing on the Intelligence Committee. There was no hearing on the Armed Services Committee.”
Indeed, the provision regarding drones is an unusually direct intervention by lawmakers into the way covert operations are run and will likely impede the administration's plans to return the CIA's focus to traditional intelligence gathering and possibly bringing more transparency to drone strikes.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.S., Cuba to announce plan to open embassies
- Counties defy same-sex marriage ruling
- Charter lapses for Export-Import Bank; conservatives vow to block revival in House
- Supreme Court to take up mandated dues for public employees unions in next term
- New York prison chief, 11 employees put on leave in escape
- NSA resumes collection of phone data
- White House intruders beware: Spikes planned
- Emails from Clinton’s first year as secretary of State out
- Nike’s chairman plans to step aside
- Ten Commandments monument orderered removed from Oklahoma Capitol grounds
- FDA review of OxyContin abuse-deterrent version put on hold by maker