The Senate Armed Services Committee will not play the "old-boy game" with former Sen. John Tower, President-elect Bush's choice to head the Defense Department, committee chairman Sam Nunn said Monday.
"The committee will have a higher set of standards for the entire team," from Tower down through the Pentagon's top set of managers, Nunn, D-Ga., told a group of reporters in a wide-ranging interview.Asked whether Tower would receive kid-glove treatment at his confirmation hearing next month, Nunn said: "We are not going to play the old-boy game this go-around."
Nunn said he and Sen. John Warner of Virginia, the panels' ranking Republican, would insist on seeing the full report on Tower by the FBI, which conducted an extensive background investigation following allegations of womanizing and drinking, and reports about Tower's coziness with the defense industry.
On other subjects, Nunn said:
- The government should focus its attention on cleaning up nuclear messes at its aging nuclear weapons production facilities around the country and restoring safety to neglected reactors, including those at the Savannah River plant in South Carolina southeast of Augusta.
- It would be "unrealistic" to expect a new vote in Congress any time soon on renewal of military aid to Nicaragua's Contra rebels. The new Bush administration should instead focus its first attention on working with neighboring countries.
- He will introduce early legislation that would provide for a broad new program of voluntary national service for young Americans beginning at age 18.