More on the question of Gen. Stanley McChrystal testifying to Congress, as the GOP leadership, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and now Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) all
More on the question of Gen. Stanley McChrystal testifying to Congress, as the GOP leadership, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and now Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) all want, albeit for different reasons. Last month, when Skelton asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to produce McChrystal, Gates spokesman Geoff Morrell replied that “the secretary believes his focus and attention should be there and not back here in — in a political process.” In an email just now, Morrell elaborated on that statement, updated it, and held out the prospect of hearings with McChrystal after the strategy and resource questions for Afghanistan have been settled. Morrell:
“Secretary Gates still believes General McChrystal’s focus right now should be on managing the war in Afghanistan rather than wading into the debate about it back here in Washington. There may be a time when he can add to the discussion beyond what his assessment already has, but the first order of business is for the President and his national security team to carefully consider the assessment and the way ahead. The department is working closely with Congressional defense committees to keep them informed of this process as it unfolds and our discussions with them will also determine what makes sense in terms of further briefings or even hearings once the President’s review of the assessment has been completed.”
In an email, aides to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, say the senator agrees. From Levin spokeswoman Tara Andringa:
Senator Levin has said that calling General McChrystal, General Petraeus, and Admiral Stavridis in to testify at this stage would be premature. He has said that he will call military and civilian witnesses to testify before the committee once commanders in Afghanistan have made their recommendations, which they have not yet made, and after the recommendations have been reviewed by the chain of command.
Gates is the one who ultimately makes Defense Department witnesses available to the congressional committees, as McChrystal’s spokesman, Lt. Col Tadd Sholtis, underscored earlier.
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