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Raytheon executive faulted, confirmed

Globe Staff And Wire Reports / February 12, 2009
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WASHINGTON - The US Senate voted overwhelmingly yesterday to confirm Raytheon executive William Lynn III for the number-two job at the Pentagon, in charge of day-to-day operations.

But not before Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa blasted him, challenging Lynn to withdraw from consideration as deputy defense secretary and urging his fellow senators to quash the nomination.

Senator John McCain of Arizona also expressed reservations before the 93-4 vote. He and Grassley have questioned Lynn on his lobbying until last summer for the Waltham-based defense contractor and what they called a dismal record in a previous stint at the Pentagon.

But the White House and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates have said Lynn has an unique set of skills and experience and is needed at the Pentagon. The White House has granted Lynn a waiver from an executive order forcing individuals to wait two years before being hired for the agencies they had lobbied, and Lynn has promised to steer clear for one year from six programs on which he lobbied and to seek written permission from Pentagon lawyers on other matters.

"Obviously the American people were promised one thing but delivered another," said McCain, Obama's opponent in the presidential election. McCain voted for Lynn anyway.

Grassley said that by withdrawing, Lynn would show "he is seriously devoted to serving his country and this president," and "would set the standard of excellence for all other nominees to follow."

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