Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid announced this morning that the Senate Republicans are going to filibuster former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination to become the next defense secretary.
There are two major issues behind the filibuster. One, the Obama administration’s continuing foot-dragging on Benghazi. Holding nominations up is one of the few pressure points the Senate Republicans have at their disposal to obtain information on the deadly terrorist attack, which the Obama administration blamed on a YouTube. Two, things keep coming up in Hagel’s background that call his judgement into question. The latest: He failed to disclose a pair of speeches he delivered on the Middle East in 2008.
According to materials and documents compiled by Steven Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism and provided to Fox News on Monday, Hagel appeared before the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) on June 13, 2008, serving as keynote speaker at the group’s convention that year. The specific session the former two-term Nebraska senator addressed was a fundraising reception for ADC’s political action committee.
Although the contents of Hagel’s speech have not surfaced, the ADC has a history of controversial statements about Israel and of accepting foreign funds. In July 2006, a writer on ADC’s website identified Hagel as the lone member in Congress “willing to stand up to the Israeli Lobby.” In the same posting, titled “Facts and Commentary About the Current Conflict Between Israel and Lebanon,” James G. Abourezk said President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “have a lot of blood on their hands for remaining silent and for re-arming Israel, which allows the slaughter [of Arabs] to continue.”
So a filibuster is in the works. Reid incorrectly stated today that holding the nomination up will leave the Pentagon without a leader. Or, he lied. Departing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that he will stay on until his replacement is confirmed.
The larger threat to the Pentagon is the budget slash it will suffer if Obama’s sequestration plan goes through.
Update: Another 2007 Hagel speech has surfaced. In this one, Hagel said that the US State Department “has become an adjunct of the Israeli Foreign Minister’s Office.”