Republican vows to block defence and CIA picks

February 11, 2013 - 12:00:00 am


WASHINGTON: A Republican lawmaker threatened yesterday to block the confirmations of US President Barack Obama’s nominees for defence secretary and CIA director over the deadly attack on the US consulate in Libya. Senator Lindsay Graham said he would put a “hold” on the nominations of Chuck Hagel and John Brennan until the White House provided more information about the president’s actions during the September 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi. “I want to know what our president did. What did he do as commander in chief? Did he ever pick up the phone and call anybody? I think this is the stuff the country needs to know,” Graham said on CBS’ Face the Nation. Under parliamentary rules, a single senator can stop their nomination from coming to a vote of the full Senate.

Special drone court needed: Gates

WASHINGTON: Former US defence secretary Robert Gates yesterday endorsed the idea of having a special court review drone strikes as a check against a president’s power to, in effect, execute Americans. Gates, a former CIA director who served as defence secretary under both Obama and former president George W Bush, said the rules followed by the Obama administration “are quite stringent and are not being abused”. “But who is to say about a future president?” he said in an interview with CNN’s State of the Union. “I just think some check on the ability of a president to do this has merit as we look to the longer-term future,” he said.

Three North Korean doctors slain in Nigeria

KANO: Men armed with knives slit the throats of three North Korean doctors in a pre-dawn attack yesterday in a volatile town in northeastern Nigeria in the latest in a spate of such killings in recent months, police said. The attack in Potiskum also came just two days after gunmen killed at least 10 people in horrifying attacks on two Nigerian polio clinics.

Gun battle rocks Gao

GAO: Northern Mali’s largest city was rocked by a second suicide bombing and rebels clashed with Malian troops yesterday as militants defied a security lock-down on territory reclaimed by French-led forces. A gun battle between Malian soldiers and suspected Islamists erupted in the streets of central Gao near the main police station, witnesses said. The clash, which sent residents running for cover, came after a bomber blew himself up at the same army checkpoint where the first such attack in Mali occurred on Friday.