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McCain: Still Waiting for Sensitive Intelligence Report

Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) said Tuesday that they are continuing to oppose James Clapper’s nomination as director of national intelligence as they await the Obama administration’s response to their requests for sensitive intelligence information.

“I was told that I would receive that information yesterday and then this morning and now supposedly by noon,” McCain said. “It’s not a small matter; it’s a $9 billion program that I’m talking about, and all I’ve asked for is information that I was promised well over a year and a half ago.”

McCain and Coburn are seeking a report assessing the threat of prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. McCain, angered that White House has not responded to his request, placed a hold Monday on Clapper’s nomination. Coburn does not have a hold on Clapper but backed up McCain’s criticism of the White House on Tuesday.

“I think it’s important we look at the vast number of people who have been released under the Bush administration and the Obama administration who are from Guantánamo who are now trying to kill American soldiers,” Coburn said. “I think that information is due, [and] we ought to be getting it.”

A retired Air Force lieutenant general serving as undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, Clapper was unanimously approved to serve as DNI by the Intelligence Committee last week. Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), ranking member of the panel, also shares concerns about the information being made available by the administration and told reporters Monday that he would “consider all tools available” to hold up Clapper’s nomination.

McCain and Coburn briefly discussed the matter Tuesday during a joint press conference on the economic stimulus bill. The Senators’ report highlighted 100 “questionable stimulus projects.”

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