Saturday, November 10, 2007

Mukasey Is Sworn In As 81st Attorney General

Michael B. Mukasey was sworn in yesterday as the nation's 81st attorney general, quietly taking the helm following the troubled tenure of his predecessor, Alberto R. Gonzales.

The former federal judge was joined at the Justice Department by a small group of family members in a private afternoon ceremony, where Lee Lofthus, the assistant attorney general for administration, administered the oath of office. Justice officials said that Mukasey will participate in a formal, public ceremony next week.

The ceremony followed Mukasey's confirmation late Thursday night by the Senate, 53 to 40. The number of yes votes was the lowest for a confirmed attorney general in more than 50 years and reflected widespread opposition from Democrats, who criticized Mukasey for refusing to offer an opinion on whether simulated drowning constitutes torture under U.S. law.

White House Finds It Is Not Required to Cut Pakistan Aid

The Bush administration has concluded it is not legally required to cut or suspend hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Pakistan despite President Pervez Musharraf's imposition of a state of emergency and crackdown on the opposition and independent media.

U.S. assistance to Pakistan is governed by numerous legislative requirements that could trigger automatic aid cutoffs, but all are covered by locked-in presidential waivers, according to officials familiar with the findings of a government-wide review.

Those waivers, which exempt Pakistan from aid restrictions, do not need to be renewed until Congress approves the pending budget for the current fiscal year that began on Oct. 1, the officials said.

Senators Demand Release Of Three F-22 Reports

Six Republican senators demanded that Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England release three government-funded reports that call for the Pentagon to purchase more F-22 fighters than the 183 currently requested.

Sens. Robert F. Bennett (Utah), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.) and John Thune (S.D.) said they were concerned by the recent grounding of the Air Force's fleet of F-15s and the Air Force's statements that it needs 381 F-22s.

The senators asked England to let Congress examine in full three separate reports that reportedly concluded that a far greater number of F-22s were needed, and to make public the reports' conclusions about the minimum number of F-22s needed.

For the Record

¿ Rep. H. James Saxton (R-N.J.), a 12-term member of Congress, said that he intends to retire next year. Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.), in her seventh term, will announce today that she will not run for reelection, according to two Republican officials.

-- From Staff Reports and News Services

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