Congressional critics of President Obama’s national security strategy have long sought to put distance between the Pentagon and the rest of the Obama administration, but on the Iran deal, Defense Secretary Ash Carter made sure they were at the same table, literally.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he invited only Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey to testify Wednesday on the military implications of the Iran agreement — but they were joined anyway by Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. The trio has been the main sales team in the Obama administration’s effort to sell the deal on the Hill.
“Since the time is here and our two witnesses that we requested to appear are here, I’ll go ahead and begin,” McCain said, opening the hearing even though Kerry, Moniz, and Lew had not yet arrived. After they entered, he continued, “For the record, I did not request the presence of Secretary Kerry or Moniz, or Secretary Lew — I am glad they’re here, at their desire to do so, since the focus of today’s hearing, as befits the role of this committee, is on the strategic and military implications of the Iran agreement.”