Type to search

Obama Nominates Hagel For Defense Secretary, Brennan For CIA Director

Memo Pad

Obama Nominates Hagel For Defense Secretary, Brennan For CIA Director


President Barack Obama rebooted his national security team Monday, nominating former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel as his new Secretary of Defense, and Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan as Director of the CIA.

Calling Hagel “the leader our troops deserve,” Obama effusively praised the former Republican senator’s decorated record as a soldier, businessman, and senator.

“Chuck Hagel’s leadership of our military would be historic,” the president said, noting that Hagel would be both the first person of enlisted rank and the first Vietnam War veteran to serve as Secretary of Defense.

Obama referenced Hagel’s outspoken criticism of the George W. Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq War, saying that Hagel understands “war is not an abstraction,” but “something we only do when absolutely necessary.”

The president also suggested that Hagel — who argued in 2011 that the Pentagon’s budget is “in many ways bloated” and must be “pared down” — is well-suited to deal with the upcoming sequestration budget cuts.

Hagel “knows that even as we make tough fiscal choices, we have to do so wisely,” Obama said.

Despite Obama’s strong support, Hagel is likely to face a difficult nominating process. Leaders from both parties have expressed concern over Hagel’s perceived lack of support for Israel — a theory that is largely based on a 2006 interview where Hagel said that the “Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people.”

Although Hagel served two terms as a Republican senator, several current Senate Republicans are likely to oppose him. On Sunday, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Texas senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz signaled that they are unlikely to support Hagel’s nomination.

“Chuck Hagel, if confirmed to be Secretary of Defense, would be the most antagonistic secretary of defense towards the State of Israel in our nation’s history,” Graham said on CNN’s State of the Union. “He has long severed his ties with the Republican Party. This is an in-your-face nomination by the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel.”

Perhaps more concerning for Hagel is the reticence of many Democratic senators. Not only have few high-profile Democrats spoken out in Hagel’s defense, but according to NBC News, as many as 10 Senate Democrats plan to vote against Hagel. If that number is accurate, then at least six Republicans would have to cross the aisle and side with the White House in order for Hagel to be confirmed.

Obama’s pick for CIA director may also cause a provocative Senate battle. Brennan — who Obama praised Monday as “one of our most skilled intelligence professionals” — withdrew his name from consideration for the job in 2008, due to questions surrounding his involvement with the Bush administration’s use of “enhanced interrogation” techniques.

Perhaps mindful of that controversy, Obama stressed that Brennan “understands we are a nation of laws…In moments of debate and decision, he asks the tough questions and insists on high and rigorous standards.”

Nonetheless, Brennan will likely have to defend his record to liberals. As Laura Murphy, the ACLU’s Washington Director, told Salon, “There are some really important concerns that need to be publicly addressed before the Senate moves forward with the nomination.” Although the ACLU does not take positions on nominees for executive branch jobs, Murphy called Brennan’s nomination “troubling,” and warned that “We definitely are concerned.”

Photo credit: AP/Charles Dharapak

Henry Decker

Henry Decker was formerly the Managing Editor of The National Memo. He is currently an Online Associate at MRCampaigns.

  • 1


  1. Michael George January 7, 2013

    Not a fan of Chuck Hagel. President Obama’s people choices sometimes puzzle me.

    1. CPANewYork January 7, 2013

      I like Hagel. He’s not beholden to any foreign government, including Israel, or their sponsors in the United States. He’s correct about the Israel Lobby’s influence on our government through its use of campaign contributions.

      For background, read a book titled “The Israel Lobby,” which clearly delineates the influence that the American Jewish community has on our governmental processes. The chief agency for spreading the money and applying the pressure appears to be AIPAC: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

      AIPAC is for all intents and purposes a PAC, but it’s not registered as a PAC, which means that contributions to it are eligible to be deducted as charitable contributions for federal income taxes. This violation has not been disallowed by the Internal Revenue Service, possibly because Israel enjoys a “special relationship” with the United States.

      1. dadhoover January 7, 2013

        Good and truthfull post !! Thank You.

        Hagel’s nomination is a good beginning to cutting back the influence of the Pro Israel, Dual National Chicken Hawk Neo Cons like WILLIAM KRISTOL, who lied us into war with Iraq and are desperately pushing to go for war with Iran. HAGEL WORKS FOR THE INTERESTS OF THE US AND NOT FOR ISRAEL

        We informed Americans should actively write, comment, and take any other action to shame any and all media who trot out these Failed Israel Firster Neo Cons who have cost our country so much in blood and treasure. IT’S HIGH TIME PATRIOTIC AMERICANS SPEAK UP AND LAUGH OFF THE CHARGES OF ANTI SEMITISM EVERY TIME WE RIGHTFULLY CRITICIZE ACTIONS THAT PUT ANOTHER NATIONS INTERESTS BEFORE OUR OWN.


        In light of charges of Anti Semitic, and loss of influence and backing for all who criticize the Zionist Leadership of Israel and Its Lobby here in the U.S. the words of VOLTAIRE: >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> “IF YOU WANT TO LEARN WHO CONTROLS YOU, SIMPLY FIGURE OUT WHO YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO CRITICIZE”

      2. oldtack January 7, 2013

        Quick Chronology of Modern Day Israel

        1945 – WWII came to an end and Europe was left with hordes of homeless Jews due to Hitler’s crusade to exterminate them.

        This became a problem for the Western Powers and they needed a solution.

        The United States did not want an influx of homeless Jews and neither did Great Britain or France.

        Another pressing problem was a good gateway to the Middle East oilfields. The Western world needed a good Ally foothold.

        Eyes turned toward the Ancient “Holy Land” that was occupied by Palestinians .

        Negotiations began for a “small” portion of this land for the displaced Jews.

        This went on from early 1946 through to 1948 (when Israel became a Nation)

        How was this “sold” to the Western World?

        The Western World at this time was predominately of the Judea-Christian Faith so, invoking fulfillment of Bible Prophesy,it was hailed in the Religious circles as God’s promise to return his chosen people to the land he had given them. This was bought hook line and sinker then and even unto today.

        Immediately after the formation of the Nation, Israel expanded the original borders to take more Palestinian lands. And this practice has continued in perpetuity.

        Now – the Western Powers have an “Ally” puppet State stepping stone into the Middle East and this Puppet State is supplied with Billions in Aid and Armaments every year which poses a threat to every other government in that part of the World.

        They are, in effect, the tail that wags the Western Powers dog.

        I am not anti-Jew. But, I am a realist. Now consider this – Of all the multitudes of people on this Earth the “CREATOR” looks down and picks this one small group of nomadic tribesmen and makes a covenant to give them the Land Of Canaan etc. because they alone found favor and were HIS chosen people to rule the world. To accomplish this the Creator aids them in wars and slaying of the infidels that occupied the Chosen lands.

        Christians deplore the Quran for all the violent acts of death and destruction but seem oblivious to the bloody chronicles of the “Old Testament” of the Jewish and Christian Faiths. Change the names of the principle figures and these two books bear a striking resemblance in many ways.

        Wake up folks. We need a Secretary that has the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the demands of this Puppet Nation. Hagel is the person to do this.

        In closing – If the Jews are indeed God’s chosen people then why doesn’t God watch over them and protect them? Why should that burden fall to all we gentiles to do God’s work?

        1. CPANewYork January 8, 2013

          Excellent post, oldtack.

      3. Reddiaperbaby January 7, 2013

        Absolutely correct…AIPAC is intimidating and very influential. Hagel speaks the truth and especially the loose talk about bombing or otherwise attacking Iran. I wonder how much more reasonable the right-wing thugs in Tel Aviv would be, if we didn’t act like their lap dogs. I have a feeling the chaos in the Middle East would have been resolved by now.

        1. CPANewYork January 8, 2013

          Thanks. One of the Congressional sleazebags that I cannot abide is Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. He says that he’s retiring when his current term expires, but I’ll believe that when I see it.

          That super liberal bucked his own party, the Democrats, by supporting the Iraq invasion as an ethical war. The Democrats condemned his stand, so he became an Independent.

          Lieberman shouldn’t be identified as a senator from Connecticut. He should be identified as a senator from Israel.

          1. Reddiaperbaby January 8, 2013

            Amen to that…Lieberman has redefined pond scum. So glad he’s gone…I’m sure he’ll be welcome in Israel, he’s no longer welcome here.

            Sent from my iPad

  2. ignore the facts January 7, 2013

    Yeah, yeah, yeah…..the tea party knows everything…like starting wars based on nonsesnse. A man who speaks and doesn’t seem to owe his life to any of the other senators. We sure don’t need another Petraeus type – he was monkeying around, giving access to neo-cons who had NO RIGHT to access, and playing footsie with the Romney campaign. He thought he was so special. Turns out he was no different than most men. Maybe Hagel has his head on straight. That would be good for our country. He might not want to wage war for the fun of it like Bushy boy did.

    1. Fern Woodfork January 8, 2013

      You Got That Right My Friend And The GOP/Tea Party American Taliban Is Mad Once Again LOL Cause It Seem That Hagel Is Not A War Monger And He Will Not Feed Their War Machines!!! They Are Bitching Already About Him!! LOL SCREW THEM He’s Also Going To Cut Some Of The Biggest Spending Problem Here MONEY FOR WARS!!! We Got Enough Weapons To Blow The World Up 10000 Times Then Have Some Left Over!!!

  3. WhutHeSaid January 7, 2013

    Wow — the Tea Bigots will be befuddled: Two old white men that they must hate on in order to hate on a black President who they believe is not as good as old white men who … oh shit, I give up!

  4. greghilbert January 7, 2013

    Leave it to Obama to pick a Repub for Defense, and for CIA a champion of torture and expansion of domestic police-state security. Come on Obama fans, blame this and all the war and defense and “national security” spending on those evil, obstructionist Repubs. The truths grow more inconvenient by the day.

  5. tman000 January 7, 2013

    Great choices, lets get down the road with these important appointments, hold hearings to give these fine gentlemen a chance to answer important questions, allowing the Senate approval, we then can move forward to other important appointments that are coming up, and lets remember, not to ‘pre judge’ before the hearings start… Thanks.

  6. DurdyDawg January 7, 2013

    “10 Senate Democrats plan to vote against Hagel”..

    Not that I’m for or against this man as S of D, fact is we need to find out about these ten Dems who would dare snuggle up with the T-peers who we are completely convinced is against Obama period, regardless of who is nominated.. We need to know if these Dems are using their experience in discounting their president’s decision or if they are (and always have been) Pub moles. We really need to know this just to make certain that these next four years won’t be another screw-up created by jealous, biased toads and if suspicions are correct then they need to go with these unpatriotic slugs in 2014 as well.

    1. Reddiaperbaby January 7, 2013

      Maybe those 10 Senators have a large Jewish constituency…and want to keep their jobs!

      1. Sand_Cat January 7, 2013

        Maybe those guys have good reasons. I’m getting older, and don’t remember the circumstances, but I remember thinking that Senator Hagel was a typical Repugnant hypocrite over some issue when he was a senator. Wish I could remember.

        So far as the other guy goes, those responsible for “enhanced interrogation techniques” at any level should be in prison, not nominated to run major agencies.

        1. Reddiaperbaby January 8, 2013

          Absolutely agree…I think what you’re trying to remember is Hagel’s ill-advised remark about a gay diplomat. One hopes his thinking on that has evolved. As for Bush and the other war criminals, they should be cast out of public life, not nominated for new jobs. In a decent society they would be in prison. Sent from my iPad

  7. Joan Klingman January 7, 2013

    I like and admire Hagel, He has a lot of real life experiance with war and will not take it lightly but seriously as it should be. It would be Hagels last resort.

    1. lana ward January 7, 2013

      Did you admire him when he was a republican? (maybe he still is-he’s a planted spy)

      1. William January 8, 2013

        OH NO, not another GOP conspiracy theory!!!!!!!!!!

        1. Fern Woodfork January 8, 2013

          LOL Fear Mongering Is One Of The Things They Do Best !! LOL To Bad It Only Works On The Dumb , Stupid And Racist People Out Here!!!

      2. metrognome3830 January 8, 2013

        Of course he’s still a Republican, Lana. No one said he wasn’t. He’s just not a right-wing Tea Party Republican. Ya know . . . the kind YOU like.

  8. Skyline43 January 7, 2013

    Chuck Hagel is a great choice. He is a man who can speak for himself and is honest in his opinions. I think some of the senators who are critizing him may want to look at themselves first.
    I always admired him as a Senator and was sorry to see him leave. I felt he was there first as an American then as a Republican. He served his country honorably during the Viet Nam war. How many congressman are there who served in the military(war) before going to congress?? Maybe that should be mandatory to serve in congress!!

    He’s a good man–let him serve our country in this capacity.

    1. manfred January 7, 2013

      There were 3 mavericks in the Senate, then there was only one – Chuck Hagel!

    2. Ginger Hallbeck January 8, 2013

      I agree. Combat military experience should be mandatory for anyone who can make decisions or policy on the U. S. participation in wars.

  9. nobsartist January 7, 2013

    It is time to start bitch slapping the dems that will not tow the line. It is also time for President Obama to start exerting some hurt on republiKKKON traitors.

  10. unkgr January 7, 2013

    I have always supported our country stand on Israel, ( and still do) but Israel is not running this country. I’m a U.S. Veteran, and I would rather have Chuck Hagel covering my back than South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Texas senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.

    1. CPANewYork January 8, 2013

      You don’t think that Israel is running America? Guess again, unkgr. I think that American Jewish money is running America as Israel’s surrogate. A year or so ago, a news photo carried an image of an Israeli politician telling an American delegation “We don’t take orders from Washington.”

      He’s right. They don’t. America’s politicians seem to be taking orders from Israel. There’s an old and true saying: He who pays the piper calls the tune. Every American legislator who accepts campaign contributions from American Jewish political groups like AIPAC is selling out his country.

  11. nobsartist January 8, 2013

    If Brennan was involved in the bush regime of torture and spying on Americans, he should be prosecuted, not promoted.

    By the way, with all the talk of government spending, why is the spy budget still secret?

    Does anyone have any idea how much WE have paid AT&T to spy on us?

  12. nobsartist January 8, 2013

    I would like the republiKKKons against Hagel explain to the American public how it was that Israel managed to acquire 200 nukes?

    1. CPANewYork January 8, 2013

      Two hundred nukes? Maybe that explains why the Muslims hate our guts. It may also explain why we’ve lost our traditional alliesby placating placate Israel and the American Israel Lobby.

      1. nobsartist January 8, 2013

        The real explanation required is how much of this is going on? Why is it legal for defense contractors to sell our weapons designs and manufacturing to foreign countries? Plus, if we have a defense budget, how much money do defense contractors make selling weapons that the tax payer paid for the development of and why do they not have to pay a royalty for using this technology for profit.

        Where is the line item in the defense budget that shows how much money was paid back by contractors that made a profit selling weapon technology to other countries?

        IF we operated like that, it would be easy to see exactly who sold the nukes to Israel because we know they were not made there and we know that we give them BILLIONS in military aid EVERY YEAR even though we cannot afford pre-school education or free school lunches for our children.

        Maybe that explains Hagels foreign policy approach to Israel and Iran. Plus, it helps that he is not a chicken hawk like those punk republiKKKons are.

  13. Ronnie L January 8, 2013

    Great choice in Hagel. Don’t understand the GOP. Someone please explain the essence of their opposition. He is one of theirs.

  14. Ceunei January 8, 2013

    George Washington himself argued against the United States favoring one country more than another…and then allowing said country to mingle with the political affairs of the United States, so, I’m having a difficult time knowing what to think of United States Politicians actually coming out and insisting the United States supports Israel…come heck or high water. It smacks of favoritism…

  15. Jeffrey Dunivant January 9, 2013

    I don’t trust any republican. Chuck Hagel also is pro-life; better we should thow im to the dogs!

    1. Reddiaperbaby January 9, 2013

      Let’s lose the “pro-life” descriptor, they are anti-choice, anti-abortion and anti-women controlling their lives. If they were truly “pro-life, they would be anti-war, against the death penalty and in favor of supporting the children they worship in the womb and ignore once they’re born. Call them what they are….they are not pro-life.

  16. Joaquin Torres-Feliciano January 9, 2013

    It’s so obvious that with the kind of expertise and experience both Chuck Hagel and John Brennan possess,there’s no doubt they’re the most qualified leaders to deal and to be nominated for such important positions, as USA Defense Secretary and CIA Director, respectively. And of course the American People should ignore the cheap opinions within the Republicans morbid objectivity which only stands in that of ”Damn if you do, Damn if you don’t”, every time when it comes to President Obama’s nomination, or any valuable decision.

  17. Joaquin Torres-Feliciano January 9, 2013

    It’s so obvious that with the kind of expertise and experience both Chuck Hagel and John Brennan possess, there’s no doubt they’re the most qualified leaders to deal with and to be nominated for such important positions, as USA Defense Secretary and CIA Director, respectively. Of course the American People should ignore the cheap opinions within the Republican/Tea Party morbid objectivity which only stands in that of ”Damn if you do, Damn if you don’t”; every moment when it comes to President Obama’s nomination’s, or any other valuable decision.

  18. Richard Holmes January 9, 2013

    hagel- the communist obooboys’ leftist lap dog boot licker.

  19. Rodney January 9, 2013

    The reason that linsey gramm dosen,t like chuck hagel is because sentor hagel puts america frist.. Not the rep. party and that scares the hell out of them. Can you pictured it a man that has been to war. He knows what it takes to protect us and not spend our taxes on something that even our armed forces say that they don,t need.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.