Tag Archives: Senator John McCain

Senators: Demoting General Petraeus Is ‘Unreasonable And Unfair’

By Jonah Bennett – Two prominent senators are coming to Gen. David Petraeus’s defense, urging the Pentagon not to retroactively punish the retired military official.

Sens. Jack Reed and John McCain argue retroactive demotions almost never occur and add the Petraeus case is even more unusual because he retired nearly four-and-a-half years ago in a letter written to Defense Secretary Ash Carter. He pled guilty to a misdemeanor in 2015 and paid a fine and accepted a two-year probation. He handed classified information over to his biographer with whom he was having an affair and then lied to investigators.

According to Reed and McCain, investigations should only be reopened in the advent of new evidence, fraud or some other error that renders the initial procedure null. Even then, that investigation should only occur within a reasonable time frame. Reed and McCain are arguing is that the time frame in this case is long past reasonable.

Since Carter is not compelled to reopen a review, the senators are concerned this apparent action, which is not yet confirmed, is “manifestly unreasonable and unfair.”

“We take this opportunity to remind you of General Petraeus’ long career of exceptionally distinguished, honorable and dedicated service to our Nation and to the soldiers he so brilliantly led to success in combat,” the senators write. “Under these circumstances we urge you to consider the the original retirement grade determination remain unchanged and that he be allowed to retain the title of General in recognition of his honorable service.”

Reed and McCain aren’t the only two complaining about Petraeus’s treatment.

GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush both think Petraeus should be left alone and pointed to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as a far more egregious example of mishandled classified data.

“I mean look at Petraeus — good guy, made a mistake, and by the way, leave the guy alone,” Trump said Wednesday at Oral Roberts University, according to CNN. “Leave Petraeus alone. Right? Enough already. Enough. They’ve gone after him, they’ve destroyed him, and yet Hillary’s flying safe and she did 100 times worse than what he did.”

Demotion is serious business. Petraeus would not only owe back pay from a four-star pension, but he would lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in future income. His reputation would also further be sullied. The Pentagon is reportedly considering a demotion in this case because it wants to maintain consistency in the treatment of its senior officers.

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GOP Senators Cite Paris Shooting To Rally Against Curbing NSA Power

Several Republican Senators warned against hindering the National Security Agency’s capabilities in Washington last week, and have called for strengthening the NSA in response to the shooting at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris last week.

“I hope the effect of that is that people realize… the pendulum has swung way too far after [leaker Edward Snowden],” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who was recently elected as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, regarding public opinion about the NSA’s authority following the Paris shooting. “Hopefully people realize that the NSA plays a very, very important role in keeping Americans safe, and my guess there will be less of a desire to hamstring them unnecessarily,” Corker told reporters last week.

Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who was recently named chairman of the Intelligence Committee, criticized the Obama administration for failing to rally public support of gathering intelligence, saying that Obama’s past language “does not adequately convey to the American people how severe the threat is from terrorism and that public support of what our intelligence committee does is really crucial to the long term effectiveness of our entire community.”

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said that budget cuts to agencies such as the NSA have hindered intelligence gathering. “I know that the NSA has been thwarted in their capabilities because of sequestration,” McCain said. “They have not been able to do many of the things they have wanted to do because of the impact of sequestration.”

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been remarkably vocal in his fear of future terror attacks and criticism of the Obama administration for its performance in dealing with extremist groups. “I fear we can expect and must prepare for more attacks like this in the future,” Graham tweeted.

In a statement, Graham said that “Through a combination of poor policy choices made by the Obama Administration regarding detention and interrogation policies, and budget cuts approved by the Congress with President Obama’s support, I believe our national security infrastructure designed to prevent these types of attacks from occurring is under siege.”

The USA Freedom Act, an NSA reform bill, was rejected by the Senate last November. Many Republicans had voted against the bill fearing that reforms to the NSA, even those that ended bulk phone data collection of innocent Americans, would leave the US vulnerable to terror attacks. In the next five months, Congress is slated to reauthorize a portion of the Patriot Act that authorizes the NSA to collect the phone data of virtually all Americans without a warrant.

Senator Rand Paul, (R-KY), said that he’s in favor of the NSA but “I think the American people are not in favor of having all their phone data collected without a warrant.”