World and Nation

Shorts (right)

Top brass and McCain square off over ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican and Vietnam-era war hero, took on the nation’s top defense and military officials Thursday when he repeatedly challenged the Pentagon’s position that gay men and women should be allowed to serve openly in the armed forces.

In a sometimes tense hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain, one of the senators who is closest to the military, was in the remarkable spot of arguing with a phalanx of its senior leadership — the defense secretary, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the general who commands the Army in Europe and the Pentagon’s general counsel — and saying they should not push for the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the 17-year-old law that requires gay men and women in the military to keep their sexual orientation secret or face discharge.

Citing the results of a recent Pentagon survey of 115,000 active-duty and reserve service members, McCain said that 58 percent of Marines in combat units and 48 percent of Army combat troops thought repealing the law would have either a negative or a very negative impact on the ability of their units to work together.

Legislators worry about privacy measures on the internet

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers examining the Federal Trade Commission’s recommendation for a “do not track” mechanism to restrict the monitoring of Internet users said they supported stricter safeguards for consumer privacy, but raised questions on how the system would work.

Many also expressed concern it would undermine one of the main pillars of the Internet’s growth — the development of free, advertising-supported content.

Even within the FTC itself, there is not unanimous support for a do-not-track effort.

—Edward Wyatt, The New York Times