Came Back to Haunt Him

Testimony—or rather the lack of it—by Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz in 2003 before the Senate Armed Services Committee prompted the committee to hold three classified hearings this week to continue their consideration of his nomination to become the Air Force Chief of Staff. During a public hearing July 22, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) asked Schwartz whether he was “adequately forthcoming” in 2003 classified hearings dealing with the war in Iraq when he served as Director of Operations on the Joint Staff. Schwartz apologized, saying he had been reluctant to “speculate on matters in which I did not have personal or professional experience. … I ask you to judge my performance since 2003. I have grown since that time.” When pressed, however, Schwartz stated simply: “I did not answer your questions directly. And, by definition, that is not sufficiently forthcoming.” The committee brought Schwartz back for a closed session on Monday (July 28), had Defense Secretary Robert Gates and JCS Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen in a classified hearing Tuesday (July 29), and questioned Schwartz again in a classified setting yesterday.