Political Scene

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At his nomination hearing Tuesday to be deputy attorney general, Washington lawyer James Cole defended his past criticism of military commissions amid questions by Republicans on the Senate panel.

Mr. Cole said that military commissions and civilian courts both are useful tools in the fight against terrorism.

The nominee said the government must do everything in its power to protect Americans, consistent with the rule of law.

The previous No. 2 official at the Justice Department, David Ogden, left the post amid differences in management styles with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

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