- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 15, 2001

President Bush's nominees for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff won easy approval by the Senate yesterday.
John Negroponte and Air Force Gen. Richard Myers' nominations were approved in a voice vote without dissent a day after the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees approved their nominations.
Mr. Negroponte, a veteran diplomat, spent several hours answering the committee's questions about accusations that he was lax in reporting human rights abuses in Honduras, where he served as U.S. ambassador from 1981 to 1985.
Committee members questioned whether Mr. Negroponte played down or even knowingly failed to report government abuses, possibly affecting congressional support for the Reagan administration's plan to build up the military in neighboring Central American nations.
Mr. Negroponte said he served "honorably and conscientiously in a manner fully consistent with and faithful to applicable laws and policies."
Mr. Negroponte also has served as ambassador to Mexico and the Philippines.
Gen. Myers was before the Armed Services Committee for several hours explaining why the military didn't have planes in the air after the first airplane hit the World Trade Center on Tuesday.
Jets were just lifting off when the second plane hit, a military official said. Gen. Myers said part of the reason is that there have been fewer planes ready for immediate flight in the wake of the end of the Cold War.
The 59-year-old general is a former head of the U.S. Space Command and served as commander of U.S. forces in Japan from 1993 to 1996. He was already vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs before being nominated.
The Senate yesterday also approved by unanimous consent nominations for other U.S. envoys: Laura Kennedy to Turkmenistan, Ronald Neumann to Bahrain, Marcelle Wahba to the United Arab Emirates and Patrick Kennedy to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform.
They also approved four U.S. attorneys, including one for eastern Pennsylvania, Pat Meehan, and one for eastern Virginia, Paul McNulty.

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