On Wednesday, Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) informed R. Clarke Cooper, who is nominated as the next assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, that he would be objecting to his confirmation until the administration reverses its policy. Cooper would have authority over the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, the government office that reached a settlement with Defense Distributed that would have allowed it to post the blueprints.
“I appreciate that you are not the person who made this policy, but you are asking us to confirm you to a position where you will be defending the indefensible,” Markey told Cooper during a hearing to consider his nomination Wednesday. “Until the president agrees to reverse this policy and prohibit the online publication of these dangerous blueprints, a decision that is entirely within his authority, I intend to place a hold on your nomination.”
Any senator can prevent a nomination from quickly proceeding to confirmation by placing a “hold” on that nomination. Absent a federal judge’s order preventing the publishing of the documents, Defense Distributed was expected to post the instructions online Wednesday.
“We cannot rely on the courts to keep saving us from the excesses and mistakes of this administration,” Markey said.