McCain Considers Hold on Clapper

Sen. John McCain might delay confirmation of President Obama's next national intelligence director, a spokesperson said Sunday.

McCain is awaiting a report, content unspecified, that will determine whether he will ask Majority Leader Harry Reid to avoid bringing the nomination of Gen. James Clapper (ret.) to the floor. A vote was expected this week and Clapper, who converted doubters on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, was expected to be easily confirmed.

McCain's spokesperson said that McCain would provide more information Monday on what report he was waiting for.

Putting a hold on Clapper could delay the vote until after the August recess.

McCain has been critical of the Obama Administration's counterterrorism practices, bluntly admonishing the way senior officials have handled matters ranging from closing down Guantanamo Bay to allegedly not considering the input of senior intelligence officials before making decisions about terrorism suspects.

McCain has also been a long-time advocate for contracting reform in the intelligence and defense communities, and might have questions about Clapper's intentions or record. The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that an information technology contractor who did business with an agency Clapper ran was repeatedly cited for security violations, although the article did not make clear whether Clapper knew about them or how significant they were.

A White House spokesperson did not return an e-mail seeking comment.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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