President Obama has tapped Gen. David Petraeus to command the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan, told CNN Wednesday that he hopes to hold confirmation hearings for Gen. David Petraeus as early as next week.
President Barack Obama's decision to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Petraeus was "reasonable," Levin said.
Washington (CNN) – Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-North Dakota, is the first member of the Democratic leadership to suggest that Gen. Stanley McChrystal should resign.
When asked by CNN if McChrystal’s comments in Rolling Stone magazine warrant resignation, Dorgan replied “if he said what it was reported that he said, the answer is yes.”
Dorgan, who chairs the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, was visibly annoyed about McChrystal’s comments, just as many of his colleagues have been all day.
But Dorgan went further than his fellow Democratic senators, most of whom have called McChrystal’s reported comments about the president’s national security team inappropriate and troubling, but have also said it is up to President Obama to decide if McChrystal should be fired from his job as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
“We can’t have a general calling the national security adviser a clown, or whatever had been attributed to him with respect to Vice President Biden, the national security adviser, and others. It’s just unbelievably inappropriate and just can’t be allowed to stand,” Dorgan told CNN.
Washington (CNN) - The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan was escorted from a congressional hearing room after apparently choking during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday.
Sen. Carl Levin, the committee's chairman, said Gen. David Petraeus "appears to be doing very well" after the incident, but withheld a decision on whether the hearing would go on.
"He's eating," Levin said. "He probably didn't have enough water to drink coming in here this morning."
Petraeus is the head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees the conduct of the U.S. wars in the Middle East and central Asia.
(Fortune) - At Tuesday's epic Goldman Sachs hearing, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan led a public grilling of Wall Street not seen by a government panel since the Depression-investigating Pecora Commission. Fortune wanted to know what Levin thought of the answers he got from executives, including CEO Lloyd Blankfein, whether Goldman can save its reputation, and what his committee has learned from its hearings on the financial crisis.
(CNN) – Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, Democratic chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Permanent Investigations, did not censor himself Tuesday as he repeatedly quoted from an e-mail in which a Goldman Sach's executive referred to a mortgage deal as "shi**y."
Thomas Montag, Goldman's former head of sales and trading, described a series of mortgage-backed investments the investment bank was selling to clients as "one shi**y deal" in the email to colleagues.
Levin repeatedly quoted the curse word - close to a dozen times - when questioning Daniel Sparks, former head of Goldman's mortgage department, who allegedly urged his group to make the deals. Levin's line of questioning was carried live by CNBC.
The committee is examining Goldman's role in the financial crisis last year and allegations it sold mortgage-backed securities to clients that the firm later bet against.
Washington (CNN) - The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee plans to unleash a withering attack Wednesday on private contractors working for the company formerly known as Blackwater in Afghanistan, accusing them of flouting regulations and endangering the U.S. mission.
Key to beating the Taliban in Afghanistan will be the ability of U.S. forces to win support from the Afghan people, many of whom do not distinguish between U.S. contractors and the U.S. military, Sen. Carl Levin will say, according to an advance text of his remarks.
"If we are going to win that struggle, we need to know that our contractor personnel are adequately screened, supervised and held accountable - because in the end, the Afghan people will hold us responsible for their actions," the Michigan Democrat will say.
"If we don't fix the problems of oversight and make sure contractors like Blackwater play by the rules and live up to their commitments - we'll be doing a disservice to our troops by making their already difficult and dangerous job even more so."
Washington (CNN) - There is an overriding theme to Sen. Carl Levin's acceptance of President Obama's expected announcement that the United States will be sending upwards of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan: The chairman of the Armed Services Committee thinks the president's Tuesday night message to the nation must "connect the dots" between the added cost in American lives and a willingness of Afghan soldiers to start taking over more of the fighting.
"The nation's going to want to hear why this mission is important, (and) what is the relationship between any additional troops and success in Afghanistan," Levin told CNN.
"...If there's going to be additional [U.S.] troops, which obviously there are, what is the relationship between additional troops and increasing the size and capability of the Afghan army?"
Levin indicated he had been in contact with President Obama about the pending strategy shift late last week.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing next month on the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, committee chairman Carl Levin's spokeswoman confirmed Friday.
The precise date for the November hearing hasn't been set yet, said Levin spokeswoman Tara Andringa.
The Michigan senator, who supports ending that policy, made the announcement after a Friday event marking the passage of a bill that extends hate crimes protection to victims assaulted because of their sexual orientation. "My hope is that we are going to find a way to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell," Levin said, according to AFP. The Armed Services Committee had previously announced it would debate the policy sometime this fall.
President Obama has faced criticism from the gay community for not moving forward quickly to repeal the policy. Earlier this month, at a fundraiser for a gay rights organization, he pledged to end the practice of discharging members of the military because of their sexual orientation, but did not give a timeline for when that might happen.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee responded Sunday to recent criticism from former White House hopeful Sen. John McCain, the ranking Republican on the committee.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, has lately suggested that the proper course for the United States to pursue in Afghanistan is to beef up the country’s own army and police forces before planning on sending in any additional American troops.
At a hearing of the Armed Services Committee last week, McCain took direct aim at Levin’s approach.
“Despite our successes in Iraq and the hard won understanding we have gained about what it takes to defeat an insurgency,” McCain said on Capitol Hill last Tuesday, “it seems we now, regrettably, must have the same debate again today with respect to Afghanistan. In all due respect, Sen. Levin, I’ve seen that movie before.”
“It’s a very different movie,” Levin said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, in response to McCain’s recent remarks.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says former Vice President Dick Cheney's claims - that classified CIA memos show enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding worked - are wrong.
Levin, speaking at the Foreign Policy Association's annual dinner on Wednesday, said an investigation by his committee into detainee abuse charges over the use of the techniques - now deemed torture by the Obama administration - "gives the lie to Mr. Cheney's claims."
The Michigan Democrat told the crowd that the two CIA documents that Cheney wants released "say nothing about numbers of lives saved, nor do the documents connect acquisition of valuable intelligence to the use of abusive techniques."
"I hope that the documents are declassified, so that people can judge for themselves what is fact, and what is fiction," he added.