Tags: reid | national | security | gop | obama

Harry Reid: GOP Threatens National Security

Tuesday, 02 Feb 2010 08:26 PM

By Dan Weil

It’s usually Republicans who declare Democrats as lax on national security.

But now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is turning the tables, accusing Republicans of threatening U.S. safety.

In a speech on the Senate floor, he blasted Republicans for blocking President Obama’s nominees to important security positions.

He connected the vacancies with the attempt by Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up an airplane headed for Detroit on Christmas Day.

“When he tried to blow up that plane, the top positions of both intelligence agencies within the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security were empty,” Reid said, according to The Hill.

“Why? Because Republican senators refuse to let this body hold a vote on these highly capable people the president has asked to serve in these roles,” Reid said.

Reid cited four jobs that are still open thanks to Republican objections: the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, the assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research, the undersecretary of homeland security for intelligence and analysis and the U.S. representative to the Conference on Disarmament.

Republicans also are responsible for the Senate failing to confirm a permanent chief at the Transportation Security Administration, which has responsibility for airline safety, Reid says.

“We all know Republicans have dedicated themselves to grinding government to a halt,” he said.

As for Republicans, former vice president Dick Cheney has been perhaps the most vociferous critic of Obama’s security policy. “We are at war [with terrorists], and when President Obama pretends we aren’t, it makes us less safe,” Cheney said in a statement to Politico news service.

“Why doesn’t he want to admit we’re at war? It doesn’t fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office.”

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