WASHINGTON (CNN) - Michigan Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), who had raised questions about deputy defense secretary nominee William Lynn’s lobbying activities, stressed today that he still supported the nomination. The deputy defense secretary is the second highest position in the Pentagon, under the Secretary of Defense.
“I haven’t seen anything that would cause me not to support it,” the Democrat said Friday.
The comments from the chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee come a day after Arizona Sen. John McCain sent Lynn a stern letter charging that the nominee had not given the committee the right answers about his lobbying, and how he might recuse himself in relevant situations.
Levin said that information could be sent to the committee soon, and that he was hoping to vote soon after it arrives. Lynn has been asked for information about what projects Lynn lobbied on for Raytheon, as well as the more complicated issue of what areas he may have to recuse himself from if he is confirmed.
Levin said the issues raised regarding Lynn are not new - they’ve been raised before about others – and the senator feels that there are appropriate provisions to deal with the nominee’s conflicts in the near term as he divests himself from his Raytheon stock holdings and gets his final bonus from the company.
Levin recently visited Iraq.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is calling for a new government in Iraq, saying his trip there last week convinced him that Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki is too sectarian and cannot create a stable Iraq.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, was blunt in a Monday conference call with reporters. “I hope the Iraqi Assembly, when it reconvenes in two weeks will vote the Maliki government out of office,” he said.
Levin credited American troops with a visible decrease in violence in Iraq. But the Armed Services chairman insisted military force alone cannot stabilize the country. Levin said Iraq could erupt into more internal bloodshed, with its army dividing against itself, unless leaders in Baghdad reach tough political compromise. And he insisted Maliki can’t do that.
“The Maliki government is non-functional,” the Michigan Democrat said, “and cannot produce a political settlement because it is too beholden to religious and sectarian leaders.”