The Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday approved Gen. Norton A. Schwartz to serve as Air Force chief of staff, despite concerns reported among some lawmakers that he had misled them regarding details of the Iraq war.
Publicly and privately, lawmakers had expressed concerns about the quality of information Schwartz provided them during the early months of the Iraq war, including details on the security of ammunition dumps, from which insurgents were believed to have armed themselves.
At Schwartz’s confirmation hearing July 22, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., pressed him on whether he had been "adequately forthcoming" during a series of briefings in 2003; Schwartz conceded that he had not been, but noted that he had "grown since that time."
Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Jim Webb, D-Va., voted against Schwartz’s nomination, which was added to the committee’s calendar Thursday morning.
"Sen. Webb’s vote reflects his belief that military leaders should testify forthrightly and completely before the Congress," spokeswoman Jessica Smith said.
In all, Schwartz appeared before the Senate committee at least three times as part of his confirmation process, once in open session and twice behind closed doors. The second closed meeting took place yesterday, and appears to have eased lawmakers’ concerns.
This post has been updated.