Hagel: The Wrong Choice

- January 31, 2013

Chuck Hagel Is The Wrong Choice For Secretary Of Defense


Supports Sequestration Cuts That Obama’s Outgoing Defense Secretary Warns Will “Devastate Our National Security”

Asked About The “Dire Consequences” To National Security Should Sequestration Go Into Effect, Hagel Said The Defense Budget Was “Bloated” And “The Pentagon Needs To Be Pared Down.” QUESTION: “On this Joint Committee that’s being created, Leon Panetta, our Defense Secretary, has warned of really dire consequences to U.S. national security if this so-called trigger gets pulled, in which case we would see $600 billion in automatic cuts to the Defense Department. Do you agree with his assessment that that would be very harmful to national security.” HAGEL: “Defense Department, I think, in many ways, has been bloated. So I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down. I don’t think that our military has really looked at themselves strategically, critically, in a long, long time.” (Chuck Hagel, Interview With The Financial Times, 9/1/11)


Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Testified In 2012 That Sequestration “Guarantees That We Are Going To Hollow The Force And Devastate Our National Security.” DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA: “And let me tell you something if sequester goes into effect, you can throw all of this out the window. Sequester doubles the numbers of cuts, does it through that crazy formula, and guarantees that we are going to hollow the force and devastate our national security.” (Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Subcommittee On Defense, Appropriations Committee, U.S. House Of Representatives, Testimony, 2/16/12)

  • Panetta: “It’s Not Something, Frankly, That Anybody Who Is Responsible Ought To Put Into Effect.”  DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA: “It’s a nutty formula, and it’s goofy to begin with, and it’s not something, frankly, that anybody who is responsible ought to put into effect.” (Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Budget Committee, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 2/28/12)

Opposition To Missile Defense

In 2000, Hagel Crossed Party Lines To Endorse President Clinton’s Decision To “Not Deploy A Limited National Missile Defense System.” “World leaders from Europe to Asia welcomed President Bill Clinton’s September 1 announcement that he would not deploy a limited national missile defense (NMD) system, but the response from U.S. politicians was mixed. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) crossed party lines by also endorsing the president’s decision, stating that a missile defense ‘cannot develop in a vacuum’ and ‘must move forward on four parallel tracks—technology, Congress, our allies, and the Russians.’”(Wade Boese, “Clinton’s NMD Decision Welcomed Abroad, Reactions,” Arms Control Association, Accessed 12/6/12)  

In 2009, Hagel Led The Commission On U.S. Policy Toward Russia Which Issued A Report Advocating That America “Rethink Missile Defense Deployments In Poland And The Czech Republic And See A Cooperative Approach To The Threat From Iranian Missiles.” “The Commission on U.S. Policy Toward Russia, led by former Sens. Gary Hart (D-CO) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE), issued a report last week that advocates teaming with Russia to deal with Iran and bolster international nonproliferation. America should rethink missile defense deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic and seek a cooperative approach to the threat from Iranian missiles, the panel says. The report advocates accepting that neither Ukraine nor Georgia is ready for NATO membership and working closely with U.S. allies to develop options other than NATO membership to demonstrate a commitment to their sovereignty. U.S. and Russian officials must also launch serious arms control talks, the panel argues.” (“Pentagon Policy Shop UPS Focus On Key Threats, Russian Relations,” Inside Missile Defense, 3/25/09)

Wrong On Nuclear Arms

Hagel: “We Must Eventually Eliminate Nuclear Weapons.” HAGEL: “We must eventually eliminate nuclear weapons because if we do not, there is only one course that can possible come out of efforts by other nations besides the nine now nuclear weapons nations, to attain those weapons.” (Al-Jazeera’s “Riz Khan,” 3/21/09)


Hagel Has Worked With The Anti-Nuclear Organization Global Zero And Has Advocated “Sharply Reducing The Number Of U.S. Nuclear Weapons, Possibly Without Equivalent Cuts By Russia.” “Chuck Hagel, the likely next secretary of defense, would be the first to enter the Pentagon having publicly advocated for sharply reducing the number of U.S. nuclear weapons, possibly without equivalent cuts by Russia. He supports an international movement called Global Zero that favors eliminating all nuclear weapons.” (Robert Burns, “Hagel Supports Nuclear Arms Cuts, Then Elimination,” The Associated Press , 1/30/13)

  • Hagel Co-Authored Global Zero’s 2012 Report Which Claimed “There Is No Conceivable Situation In The Contemporary World In Which It Would Be In Either Country's National Security Interest To Initiate A Nuclear Attack Against The Other Side.” “The authors, who also include former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, former ambassadors Richard Burt and Thomas Pickering and retired Gen. Jack Sheehan and Global Zero co-founder Bruce Blair, argue that the deterrent from enormous nuclear arsenals that were critical in the Cold War standoff between the United States and Russia add no strategic value to address current threats. ‘There is no conceivable situation in the contemporary world in which it would be in either country's national security interest to initiate a nuclear attack against the other side,’ the report says. At a time of tight defense spending, the authors also estimate that the cuts would save the U.S. $100 billion over a decade.” (Desmond Butler, “Panel Calls For Steep Cuts In US Nukes,” The Associated Press , 5/16/12)


A Long History Of Opposing Sanctions

In July 2008, The Senate Banking, Housing, And Urban Affairs Committee Approved A Bill That Would “Impose Sanctions On Independent Foreign Subsidiaries Of U.S. Companies That Do Business With Iran.” “A bill to impose sanctions on independent foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies that do business with Iran won strong bipartisan support from the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today in the wake of Iranian insistence on developing nuclear materials. … Approved 19-2, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act would add financial institutions and insurers to the list of entities subject to sanctions and would statutorily ban all U.S. exports to Iran except food, medicine and humanitarian items.” (Charlene Carter, “Senate Banking Committee Approves Sanctions Against Iran,” CongressNow, 7/17/08)

  • Hagel Voted Against The Bill And Said, “This Bill Does Not In Fact Sanction Iran; It Directly Sanctions Allies, Friends And Others.” “Sens. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., cast the only ‘no’ votes against the new bill. ‘This bill does not in fact sanction Iran; it directly sanctions allies, friends and others,’ Hagel said.” (Adam Graham-Silverman, “Options Dwindling For Congress To Negotiate A Deal On Iran Sanctions,” Congressional Quarterly, 7/17/08)

In October 2008, Hagel Blocked Action On A Similar Bill That Had Passed by Voice Vote In The House. “‘Whether we like it or not, there will be no peace or stability in the Middle East without Iran's participation,’ Hagel said. In early October, he prevented action on a bill, which had passed in the House, proposing economic sanctions against Iran. Hagel has long criticized unilateral sanctions as ineffective and counterproductive.” (Connie Bruck, “Odd Man Out; Chuck Hagel's Republican Exile,” The New Yorker, 11/3/08; H.R. 7112, Received In The Senate On 9/27/08)

  • Hagel Was Reportedly “Solely Responsible” For Blocking An Iran Sanctions Bill In 2008. “If, given the prevailing political winds on Iran, it sounds strange that Republicans would have blocked a get-tough measure on the Islamic Republic -- there’s an explanation. According to a congressional aide who spoke on background to the Huffington Post, Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel is solely responsible for the hold on the bill. (Request for confirmation from Hagel’s press office was not immediately returned.)” (Seth Colter Walls, “Dems Blame Senate GOP For Blocking Iran Sanctions Bill,” The Huffington Post, 11/3/08)

In 2001, Hagel “Denounced U.S. Sanctions Against Iran And Libya.” “On June 27, 2001, however, Mr. Hagel, addressing another AIC [American Iranian Council] gathering in Washington, denounced U.S. sanctions against Iran and Libya, asserting that they ‘isolate us.’” (Editorial, “Iran And Its Apologists,” The Washington Times, 3/29/02)

  • Hagel Was One Of Just Two Senators To Vote Against The ILSA Extension Act Of 2001, Which Provided For A Five-Year Extension Of Sanctions Against Iran And Libya. (S. 1218, CQ Vote #252: Passed 96-2: R 47-2; D 48-0; I 1-0, 7/25/01, Hagel Voted Nay)

In 2003, Hagel Did Not Vote On The Syria Accountability Act That Sanctioned Syria For Its Support For Terrorism And Development Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction. (H.R. 1828, CQ Vote #445: Passed 89-4: R 47-2; D 42-1; I 0-1, 11/11/03, Hagel Did Not Vote)

Weak On Iran

Hagel In 2001: “The National Security Of The United States Is Not Served By Isolating Iran.” HAGEL: “The national security of the United States is not served by isolating Iran. Iran's strategic importance in the region cannot be underestimated. Located at the intersection of Asia and the Middle East, and bordering both the Caspian region and the Persian Gulf, there are few areas of the world more important to our long-term economic, strategic, geo- political and energy security. And, Iran affects and impacts our long term Iraqi policy. Whether we like it or not, Iran is a key player. We cannot isolate it from the very region from which it belongs. The United States will be better served in the long term by recognizing this and designing policies that seek our common interests and act on them. Implacable hostility between the United States and Iran serves no one except radical Iranian clerics, Saddam Hussein, and radical Islamic forces throughout the Middle East focused on the elimination of the United States from the region, and the destruction of Israel.” (Sen. Chuck Hagel, Remarks To The American Iranian Council, Washington, DC, 6/27/01)

Hagel In 2005: “Any Lasting Solution To Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program Will Also Require The United States’ Direct Discussions With Iran.” HAGEL: “Any lasting solution to Iran’s nuclear weapons program will also require the United States’ direct discussions with Iran. The United States is capable of engaging Iran in direct dialogue without sacrificing any of its interests or objectives.” (Sen. Chuck Hagel, Remarks At The Council On Foreign Relations, Washington, DC, 11/15/05)

In 2006, Hagel Said The Nuclear Issue Could Not Be Resolved Until Iran’s “Broader Interests” Were Addressed. “Iran holds the key to so many issues, Hagel said, that the nuclear issue cannot be addressed in isolation. ‘Iraq, nuclear capabilities, terrorism, Israel and oil are all part of an Iranian puzzle game that cannot be played one piece at a time,’ Hagel wrote. ‘There will be no lasting solution to the Iranian nuclear threat until the broader interests of Iran, the U.S., the region and the world are addressed.’” (Glen Kessler, “U.S. Under Pressure To Talk To Tehran,” The Washington Post, 5/11/06)

In 2007, Hagel Sent A Private Letter To President Bush Urging The Pursuit Of “Direct, Unconditional, And Comprehensive Talks With The Government Of Iran.” “I have just secured a private letter -- not yet publicly released -- from Senator Chuck Hagel to President Bush and copied to Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates, and Stephen Hadley. I should add that I did not receive this letter from Senator Hagel but from other sources. The letter urges the President to pursue ‘direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with the Government of Iran.’” (Steve Clemmons, “Hagel To Bush: Talk To Iran!” Huffington Post, 10/31/07)

In His 2008 Book, America: Our Next Chapter, Hagel Argued For “Direct Dialogue” With The Iranian Regime. “In dealing with Iran, we must not forget that every country is unique with its own particular history, culture, problems, strengths, and weaknesses. We cannot expect to approve of or agree with all the actions of the governments of every one of the world’s countries. Nor can we simply ignore those with whom we disagree. Isolating nations is risky. It turns them inward, and makes their citizens susceptible to the most demagogic fear mongering. Unfortunately, that is what America’s strategy has been over the last several years in dealing with Iran. We rebuffed an opportunity for direct dialogue in 2003 following our toppling of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. And we never fully explored the possibility of greater bilateral dialogue during the time when the reformist Iranian president Ayatollah Mohammad Khatami was in office, from 1997 through 2002.” (Chuck Hagel, America: Our Next Chapter, 2008, p. 85)

  • Hagel: “America’s Refusal To Recognize Iran’s Status As A Legitimate Power Does Not Decrease Iran’s Influence, But Rather Increases It.” (Chuck Hagel, America: Our Next Chapter, 2008, p. 93)

In 2008, Hagel Expressed Support For Opening A Diplomatic Post In Tehran In The Form Of A “U.S. Interest Section.” HAGEL: “Now, as to your question about an interest section, obviously we can’t just fly over Tehran and drop an interest section. I get that. But the conversations I’ve had with the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, both -- actually, the last three, including the current one -- other indications I have, I think that that is an area that we could explore. I don’t know why that would not be in our interested to do that.” (Chuck Hagel, Remarks At The Brookings Institute, Washington, DC, 6/26/08)

  • Hagel Claimed That An Interest Section Would Be “A Way To Start Moving Toward Influencing What’s Going On Over There.” HAGEL: “And that doesn’t mean you negotiate. That doesn’t mean diplomatic recognition. But it’s a beginning. It’s a way to start moving toward influencing what’s going on over there.” (Chuck Hagel, Remarks At The Brookings Institute, Washington, DC, 6/26/08)

While Visiting Pakistan In 2006, Hagel Said “A Military Strike Against Iran, A Military Option, Is Not A Viable, Feasible, Responsible Option.” “April 2006, while visiting Islamabad: ‘I would say that a military strike against Iran, a military option, is not a viable, feasible, responsible option. … I believe a political settlement will be the answer. Not a military settlement. All these issues will require a political settlement.’” (Max Fisher, “Chuck Hagel’s Ambiguous Stance On Dealing With Iran,” The Washington Post's Worldview, 12/13/12)

At A 2010 Forum, Hagel Implied That U.S. Leaders Who Were Pushing For A Military Strike On Iran Were Living In An “‘Alice In Wonderland’ Type Of World.” HAGEL: “And the military option is always on the table – of course it is – for any sovereign nation.  But at the same time we recognize that, that option is there. The leaders of our country, the leaders of the world are not living in an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ type of a world. They are living in a real world and they have to make real decisions based on what they calculate to be the dynamics and the facts as they are today. But probably more importantly, what they think they will be. That’s leadership.” (Chuck Hagel, Iran Issue Brief Launch, The Atlantic Council, Washington, DC, 11/8/2010)

Support For The Assad Regime In Syria

After A 1998 Meeting With Syrian Dictator Hafez Al-Assad, Hagel Said “Peace Comes Through Dealing With People. Peace Doesn’t Come At The End Of A Bayonet.” “Senator Hagel met in Damascus in 1998 with the terror-sponsoring Syrian dictator, Hafez al-Assad, and returned to tell me about the meeting, ‘Peace comes through dealing with people. Peace doesn't come at the end of a bayonet or the end of a gun.’” (Ira Stoll, “What Tim Russert Neglected To Mention,” The New York Sun, 5/28/04)

In 2003, Hagel Failed To Vote On The Syria Accountability Act Which Sanctioned Syria For Its Support For Terrorism And Development Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction. (H.R. 1828, CQ Vote #445: Passed 89-4: R 47-2; D 42-1; I 0-1, 11/11/03, Hagel Did Not Vote)

In A 2008 Op-Ed With Sen. John Kerry, Hagel Suggested The U.S. Should Offer “Tangible Benefits” To Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad After The Dictator Complained That His “Positive Steps Have Not Been Rewarded.” “While Syria must crack down on the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claims positive steps have not been rewarded. We should test whether offering tangible benefits brings better results, starting with providing more humanitarian assistance for the nearly 1.5 million Iraqi refugees Syria has absorbed.” (Sens. John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, Op-Ed, “It’s Time To Talk To Syria,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/5/08)

  • Hagel And Kerry Said “Our Policy Of Nonengagement Has Isolated Us More Than The Syrians.” “The recent announcement of peace negotiations between Israel and Syria through Turkey, and the agreement between the Lebanese factions in Qatar – both apparently without meaningful U.S. involvement – should serve as a wake-up call that our policy of nonengagement has isolated us more than the Syrians. These developments also help create new opportunities and increased leverage that we can only exploit through substantive dialogue with Syria.” (Sens. John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, Op-Ed, “It’s Time To Talk To Syria,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/5/08)
  • Hagel And Kerry: “Syria's leaders have always made cold calculations in the name of self-preservation, and history shows that intensive diplomacy can pay off.” (Sens. John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, Op-Ed, “It’s Time To Talk To Syria,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/5/08)

Weak On Castro Regime

In 2002, Hagel Called Castro “A Toothless Old Dinosaur” And Said That Despite His Support For Terrorist Groups Throughout The Region, Labeling Him A Threat Would Be “Just Goofy.” “Otto Reich, the State Department's assistant secretary for the Western Hemisphere, last week laid out a case against overtures to Cuba and its longtime president, Fidel Castro. ‘Castro has supported terrorist groups in every country in this hemisphere except Mexico,’ Reich told reporters Thursday. ‘So he is a terrorist.’ Sen. Chuck Hagel, a main sponsor of Senate legislation to lift economic sanctions on Cuba, countered Reich on Friday, saying that to term Castro a threat is ‘just goofy.’ ‘This is a toothless old dinosaur,’ the Nebraska Republican added.” (Jake Thompson, “Castro Isn't Threatening, Hagel Says The Bush Administration Says Trade With Cuba Would Be Risky,” Omaha World Herald, 8/18/02)

Hagel Referred To U.S. Policy On Cuba As “Outdated, Unrealistic, Irrelevant” And Described Arguments Supporting Current U.S. Policy On Cuba As “Nonsensical.” “Backing up to catch Chuck Hagel's comments about engagement with Cuba when he was questioned on CNN a week ago. ‘On Cuba, I've said that we have an outdated, unrealistic, irrelevant policy,’ he said. ‘It's always been nonsensical to me about this argument, well, it's a communist country, it's a communist regime. What do people think Vietnam is? Or the People's Republic of China? Both those countries are WTO members. We trade with them. We have relations. Great powers engage,’ Hagel said. ‘Great powers are not afraid. Great powers trade.’” (Don Walton, “Obama Affects The State,” Lincoln Journal Star, 3/3/08)

  • Hagel In 2002: “What Jimmy Carter's Saying ... Is Exactly Right: Our 40-Year Policy Toward Cuba Is Senseless.” “Wednesday, though, Hagel did endorse Carter's message: that the United States should broaden relations with Cuba and lift its trade and travel embargo. ‘What Jimmy Carter's saying ... is exactly right: Our 40-year policy toward Cuba is senseless,’ Hagel said. ‘It's outdated, it's irrelevant and it just doesn't fit. We should be wise and be trying to enhance America's position with peoples of the world.’” (Jake Thompson, “Hagel declined to go but backs Carter's message,” Omaha World Herald, 5/16/02)
  • In 2008, Hagel Co-Signed A Letter To Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice That Claimed The United States’ Policy Toward Cuba “Failed.” “Our current policy of isolation and estrangement has failed. Cuba's political system is stable after five decades of American efforts to force change on the island. New laws that tightened sanctions in 1992 and 1996 have had no effect. The administration's 2004 sanctions and its comprehensive plan to bring about transition in Cuba have failed in their objective. The absence of Fidel Castro for 20 months has not led to a change in the system.” (Sen. Chuck Hagel et al., Letter To Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice, 2/28/08)

In 2005, Hagel Said The U.S. Embargo Against Cuba “Isolates Us, Not Cuba.” “Sen. Chuck Hagel, who joined Heineman at the site of the Panhandle's largest county fair northwest of Scottsbluff, credited Heineman and the trade delegation with accomplishing ‘one of the most significant developments in American agriculture in many years.’ Trade provides ‘one of the great bridges’ between people and is ‘good for everyone,’ he said. The U.S. embargo is outdated and ‘isolates us, not Cuba,’ Hagel said. Heineman said Hagel’s public support for trade with Cuba was ‘very critical to our success’ in negotiating an agreement.” (Don Walton, “Jackpot Cuba Trade Pact Announced,” Lincoln Journal Star, 8/20/05)

  • On The Cuba Trade Embargo, Hagel Said “The Reason We Keep It Is Because Of A Political Issue In Florida.” “Inside, he met with the Lincoln City Council and Lancaster County Board, fielding questions about everything from the war - or lack thereof - on meth to oil prices to Social Security reform. Asked what he thought of Gov. Dave Heineman's trade mission to Cuba, Hagel said he opposed the trade embargo long before he was elected senator. The United States does business with communist China and Vietnam, so: ‘What in the hell are we doing?’ ‘The reason we keep it is because of a political issue in Florida," he said. ‘Anybody running for president wants Florida. And I'm not unmindful of that. Nonetheless, I think that is…folly.’” (Deena Winter, “Company Says Keep Bridge Open For Keno,” Lincoln Journal Star, 8/31/05)
  • Hagel Believed The United States Could Promote Democracy Through “Opening Of Trade With Cuba.” “Hagel: Opposes unilateral sanctions on both countries, contending that through direct talks with leaders in Iran and the opening of trade with Cuba, the United States can best promote the benefits of democracy.” (Jake Thompson, “He Often Parts Ways With Party's Right Wing On The U.S. Role In The World, Hagel Is More Moderate Than The Bush Neoconservatives,” Omaha World-Herald, 1/1/06)


Jewish Lobby” Comments

Hagel In 2008: “The Jewish Lobby Intimidates A Lot Of People Up Here.” HAGEL: “The political reality is that you intimidate, not you, but the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. And again, I have always argued against some of the dumb things they do because I don’t think it’s in the interest of Israel. I just don’t think it’s smart for Israel.” (Chuck Hagel, Interview With Aaron David Miller For Too Much Promised Land, Random House, 11/3/08)

  • Hagel: “I'm A United States Senator. I'm Not An Israeli Senator.” HAGEL: “Let me clear something up here if there's any doubt in your mind. I'm a United States Senator. I'm not an Israeli senator. I'm a United States Senator. I support Israel. But my first interest is, I take an oath of office to the constitution of the United States. Not to a president, not to a party, not to Israel.’” (Chuck Hagel, Interview With Aaron David Miller For Too Much Promised Land, Random House, 11/3/08)

Hagel Said Israel’s Supporters Had “Locked Up” Legislators To Support Continued Sanctions Against Libya And Iran. “Sen. Chuck Hagel said Wednesday that the pro-Israel lobby on Capitol Hill has ‘locked up’ many fellow lawmakers to favor continuing U.S. economic sanctions against Libya and Iran. Hagel said that policy isolates America.” (Jake Thompson, “Sanctions Aimed At Iran, Libya Should Be Dropped, Hagel Says,” Omaha World Herald, 6/28/01)

  • Hagel Contended Supporters Of Israel Have Convinced Congress To Continue Sanctions Against Libya And Iran Despite Their Ineffectiveness. “The Nebraska Republican said in an interview that Israel’s lobbyists in Washington have been effective in making the case that Libya and Iran remain terrorist countries hostile to Israel. But he said that U.S. sanctions on those countries aren’t succeeding in curbing proliferation of dangerous weapons and terrorism and that more engagement could foster peace.” (Jake Thompson, “Sanctions Aimed At Iran, Libya Should Be Dropped, Hagel Says,” Omaha World Herald, 6/28/01)

Outside The Mainstream In The Senate

The National Jewish Democratic Council: “Indecisive Senator Hagel Has Questionable Israel Record.” (Michael Goldfarb, “NJDC: Obama Appointee Has ‘Questionable Israel Record,’” The Weekly Standard, 10/28/09)

In October 2000, Hagel Was One Of Just Four Senators To Refuse To Sign A Letter In Support Of Israel. (“96 Senators Call On Clinton To Support Israel,” Jewish Virtual Library, Accessed 11/29/12)

“November 2001: Hagel Was One Of Only 11 Senators Who Refused To Sign A Letter Urging President Bush Not To Meet With The Late Yasser Arafat Until His Forces Ended The Violence Against Israel.” ( “ZOA Urges Sen. Obama To Drop Sen. Hagel As Adviser & Possible Running Mate,” Zionist Organization Of America, Press Release, 7/15/08)

“In December 2005, Hagel Was One Of Only 27 Who Refused To Sign A Letter To President Bush To Pressure The Palestinian Authroity [Sic] To Ban Terrorist Groups From Participating In Palestinian Legislative Elections.” (“Indecisive Senator Hagel Has Questionable Israel Record,” National Democratic Jewish Council’s “NJDC,” 3/12/07)

“In August 2006, Hagel Was One Of Only 12 Senators Who Refused To Write The EU Asking Them To Declare Hezbollah A Terrorist Organization.” (“Indecisive Senator Hagel Has Questionable Israel Record,” National Democratic Jewish Council’s “NJDC,” 3/12/07)

Belief That Palestinians Have Been “Caged Up Like Animals”

Hagel Said That Israel Could Not “Keep Palestinians Caged Up Like Animals.” “Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel protested what he called the ‘completely distorted’ record on Israel that his critics are promoting in an interview earlier this month with his hometown newspaper. The former Nebraska senator said an accurate assessment would show ‘unequivocal, total support for Israel.’ Yet a decade earlier, the same newspaper–the Lincoln Journal Star–quoted Hagel making a startling accusation against Israel in a Jan. 12, 2003 article. Israel, Hagel declared, was ‘keep[ing] Palestinians caged up like animals.’” (“Hagel in 2003: Israel Keeps ‘Palestinians Caged Up Like Animals’,” Washington Free Beacon, 1/29/13)

In 2007, Hagel Said The Palestinian People Have Been “Chained Down For Many, Many Years.” HAGEL: “That’s not the issue here. But when people have no hope, when there’s despair, little else matters. And this is not about terrorists don’t like freedom. Tell that to the Palestinian people who have been chained down for many, many years. Terrorism is not a strategy. It’s a tactic. Terrorism is not a plan. It’s not a belief like democracy or monarchy. It’s a tactic. It’s a tactic. And so it’s far more complicated than what, I think, a lot of us are led to believe.” (Sen. Chuck Hagel, Remarks On S. Con. Res. 2, Expressing The Bipartisan Resolution On Iraq, Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, 1/24/07)


Hagel Claimed That Compromising U.S. Relationships With Arabs And Muslims Over The U.S. Relationship With Israel Is “An Irresponsible And Dangerous False Choice.” HAGEL: “Our relationship with Israel is a special and historic one. But it need not and cannot be at the expense of our Arab and Muslim relationships. That is an irresponsible and dangerous false choice.” (Sen. Chuck Hagel, Remarks At The Senate Floor Proceeding, 7/31/06)

Hagel In A 2002 Op-Ed: “Palestinian Reformers Cannot Promote A Democratic Agenda For Change While Both The Israeli Military Occupation And Settlement Activity Continue.” “Israel must take steps to show its commitment to peace. This does not mean giving up or limiting its right to self-defense against terrorism. But Palestinian reformers cannot promote a democratic agenda for change while both the Israeli military occupation and settlement activity continue.” (Chuck Hagel, Op-Ed, “We Shouldn’t Make Arafat The Issue,” The Washington Post, 7/19/02)

Critical Of Israel During The 2006 Lebanon War

Hagel Broke With The Bush Administration’s Support For Israel During The 2006 Lebanon War And Called For An Immediate Cease-Fire. “Urging President Bush to turn all U.S. efforts toward ‘ending this madness,’ a leading Republican senator Monday broke with the Bush administration and called for an immediate cease-fire in the Mideast.” (“Key Republican Breaks With Bush On Mideast,” CNN, 7/31/06)

  • The Bush Administration Supported Allowing Israel To Push Back The Hezbollah Fighters And Opposed A Short Term Ceasefire. “The Bush administration has refused to call for Israel to halt its attacks on southern Lebanon, joining Israel in insisting that Hezbollah fighters must be pushed back from the Israeli-Lebanese border. President Bush Monday in a speech in Miami Beach, Florida, reiterated his call for a cease-fire in the Mideast only if it brought a ‘long-lasting peace’ that addressed Iran and Syria’s support for Hezbollah, the Islamic militia that Israel is targeting.” (“Key Republican Breaks With Bush On Mideast,” CNN, 7/31/06)
  • Hagel Called For An End To The “Sickening Slaughter” And “The Systematic Destruction Of An American Friend, The Country And People Of Lebanon.” HAGEL: “How do we realistically believe that a continuation of the systematic destruction of an American friend, the country and people of Lebanon, is going to enhance America's image and give us the trust and credibility to lead a lasting and sustained peace effort in the Middle East? The sickening slaughter on both sides must end now. President Bush must call for an immediate cease fire. This madness must stop.” (Sen. Chuck Hagel, Congressional Record, 7/31/06, p. S8421)

Hagel Claimed Israel’s “Military Action Alone Will Not Destroy Hezbollah Or Hamas,” But It Is “Deepening Hatred Of Israel Across The Middle East.” HAGEL: “Hezbollah is a threat to Israel, to Lebanon and to all who strive for lasting peace in the Middle East. However, military action alone will not destroy Hezbollah or Hamas. Extended military action is tearing Lebanon apart, killing innocent civilians, destroying its economy and infrastructure, creating a humanitarian disaster, further weakening Lebanon's fragile democratic government, strengthening popular Muslim and Arab support for Hezbollah, and deepening hatred of Israel across the Middle East. The pursuit of tactical military victories at the expense of the core strategic objective of Arab-Israeli peace is a hollow victory. The war against Hezbollah and Hamas will not be won on the battlefield.” (Sen. Chuck Hagel, Congressional Record, 7/31/06, p. S8421)

Hagel Called For The Administration To Open Direct Talks With Hezbollah’s Backers Iran And Syria. HAGEL: “Ultimately the United States will need to engage Iran and Syria with an agenda open to all areas of agreement and disagreement. For this dialogue to have any meaning or possible lasting relevance, it should encompass the full agenda of issues. (Sen. Chuck Hagel, Remarks At The Senate Floor Proceeding, 7/31/06)

Hagel Said He “Strongly Support[s] The Deployment Of A Robust International Force Along The Israel-Lebanon Border To Facilitate A Steady Deployment Of A Strengthened Lebanese Army In Southern Lebanon.” HAGEL: “The President must publicly decry the slaughter and work toward an immediate cease fire. The UN Security Council should urgently adopt a new binding resolution that provides a comprehensive political, security and economic framework for Lebanon, Israel and region a framework that begins with the immediate cessation of violence. I strongly support the deployment of a robust international force along the Israel-Lebanon border to facilitate a steady deployment of a strengthened Lebanese Army into southern Lebanon to eventually assume responsibility for security and the rule of law.” (Sen. Chuck Hagel, Congressional Record, 7/31/06, p. S8421)

Hagel Called For The United States To “Revive The Beirut Declaration.” HAGEL: “The United States should engage our Middle East and international partners to revive the Beirut Declaration, or some version of that declaration, proposed by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and adopted unanimously by the Arab League in March of 2002. In this historic initiative, the Arab world recognized Israel's right to exist and sought to establish a path toward a two-state solution and broader Arab-Israeli peace. Even though Israel could not accept it as it was written, it represented a very significant starting point--starting point--document initiated by Arab countries. Today, we need a new Beirut Declaration-type initiative. We squandered the last one.” (Sen. Chuck Hagel, Congressional Record, 7/31/06, p. S8421)

  • The Beirut Declaration Of 2002 Called On Israel To Completely Withdraw From The Palestinian Territories And Golan Heights And Accept A Palestinian State With East Jerusalem As Its Capital. “A. Complete withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the 4 June 1967 line and the territories still occupied in southern Lebanon. B. Attain a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees to be agreed upon in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution No 194. C. Accept the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since 4 June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.” (Beirut Declaration, 3/28/02)
  • Beirut Declaration: “We Greet With Honour And Pride The Valiant Martyrs Of The Intifada....” (Beirut Declaration, 3/28/02)
  • Beirut Declaration: “We Emphasize Our Solidarity With Syria And Lebanon In The Face Of The Israeli Aggressive Threats That Will Undermine Security And Stability In The Region.” (Beirut Declaration, 3/28/02)

Anti-Semitism In Russia

In 1999, Hagel Was The Only Senator Not To Sign A Letter Condemning Anti-Semitism In Russia. “Jewish leaders are upset that Sen. Chuck Hagel was the only member of the Senate not to sign a letter urging Boris Yeltsin to speak out against growing anti-Semitism in Russia. An advertisement in Sunday's New York Times displayed a Senate letter signed by 99 senators with only Hagel's name missing. Hagel said Thursday he has taken even stronger and more effective action by writing President Clinton, asking him to appeal directly to Yeltsin to combat the anti-Semitic acts and rhetoric. But a trio of Jewish leaders in Lincoln said they wish Hagel had also joined his colleagues in signing the Senate letter.” (“Hagel Criticized Over Senate Letter To Yeltsin,” The Associated Press, 6/25/99)


Wrong On Iraq Surge

Hagel Said The Iraq Surge “Represents The Most Dangerous Foreign Policy Blunder In This Country Since Vietnam, If It's Carried Out. I Will Resist It.” HAGEL: “So, Madame Secretary, when you set in motion the kind of policy that the president is talking about here, it's very, very dangerous. Matter of fact, I have to say, Madame Secretary, that I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it's carried out. I will resist it.” (Sen. Chuck Hagel, Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 1/11/07)

  • Hagel: “We Are Projecting Ourselves Further And Deeper In To A Situation That We Cannot Win Militarily.” HAGEL: “I said at a hearing with Secretary Rice, I think if this goes forward it represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder since Vietnam. We are projecting ourselves further and deeper in to a situation that we cannot win militarily. This is a war of attrition, if nothing else. How are we going to win a war of attrition? You cannot have an answer or a resolution based on what we are going to do using military. It is bigger and wider, and what we need is a framework for a political settlement. It must include the regional powers including Iran and Syria, just as Baker-Hamilton said, and it must be international.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 1/14/07)

Hagel: “This Is A Ping-Pong Game With American Lives.” HAGEL: “There is no strategy. This is a ping-pong game with American lives. These young men and women that we put in Anbar Province, in Iraq, in Baghdad, that are not beans. They're real lives.” (Sen. Chuck Hagel, Markup Of S. Con. Res. 2, Expressing The Bipartisan Resolution On Iraq, Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Senate, 1/24/07)


Ties To Companies With Defense And Other Government Security Contracts

“Since 2010, Hagel Has Served On The Board Of Chevron Corp., Which Had $554 Million In Contracts With The Federal Government In 2011 — Mostly With The Pentagon.” (Gregory Korte, “Hagel’s Worldview Shaped By Business As Much As War,” USA Today, 1/13/13)

  • Hagel Annually Receives $301,199 For His Board Membership And Holds Over $500,000 In Chevron Stock. “His annual compensation is $301,199, and he owns 4,894 shares of Chevron stock, according to a disclosure last year. At Friday's stock price, those holdings are worth more than $540,000.” (Gregory Korte, “Hagel’s Worldview Shaped By Business As Much As War,” USA Today, 1/13/13)

Since 2009, Hagel Has Served As The Special Adviser To The Chairman Of M.I.C. Industries And As A Member Of Its Inner Circle Advisory Board. (M.I.C. Industries, Accessed 1/29/13)

  • In 2012, Hagel Received $120,000 From M.I.C. Industries. (Tim Mak, “Chuck Hagel Earned More Than $1M In The Past Year,” Politico, 1/29/13) 
  • From 2000 To 2011, M.I.C. Industries Was Awarded 157 Defense Contracts Worth A Total Of $40 Million. (, Accessed 1/29/13)

In 2008, Hagel Had Over $1,100,000 Invested In McCarthy Capital Funds. (Sen. Chuck Hagel, Personal Financial Disclosure, 1/30/09)

McCarthy Capital Is Invested In SAFE Boats International. (McCarthy Capital, Accessed 12/5/12)

  • “The Company’s Boats Are Deployed By The United States Coast Guard And US Navy, First Responder Agencies Throughout The United States, And More Than Forty Foreign Governments.” “SAFE Boats International, LLC has named Dana Bradford chairman of its board of directors. SAFE Boats is a leading manufacturer of special purpose vessels for government agencies globally. The company’s boats are deployed by the United States Coast Guard and US Navy, first responder agencies throughout the United States, and more than forty foreign governments. Mr. Bradford is the President and Managing Partner of McCarthy Capital, a private equity firm based in Omaha, Nebraska.” (“SAFE Boats International, LLC Names Dana Bradford Chairman,” Business Wire, 12/9/11)
  • Since 2000, SAFE Boats International Has Received Almost $490,000,000 In Government Contracts From Various Government Agencies. (, Accessed 12/5/12)
  • SAFE Boats Received Over $4 Million In Stimulus Funds From Grants Given Out By The Departments Of Justice, Homeland Security, And Transportation. (, Accessed 12/5/12)

McCarthy Capital Invested In Advantor Systems In September 2010. (McCarthy Capital, “Invests In Advantor Systems,” 9/9/10)

  • Since 1999, Advantor Systems Has Received Over $51,000,000 In Government Contracts. (, Accessed 12/5/12)

Failure To Disclose Bank Holdings While Sitting On Banking Committee

Before Hagel Was Elected To The U.S. Senate, He Was President Of The Investment Banking Firm, McCarthy & Company. (Corsair Capital, Accessed 12/5/12)

From 1996 To 2008, Senator Chuck Hagel Had Disclosed Owning Financial Assets, Worth Between $1,000,001 And $5,000,000, In The McCarthy Group Inc. (Sen. Chuck Hagel, Personal Financial Disclosure, Accessed 1/14/13)

  • NOTE: Hagel Sold Between $250,001 And $500,000 Of His Ownership In McCarthy Group Inc. On April 30, 2007. (Senator Charles T. Hagel, Personal Financial Disclosure, 1/30/09)

Hagel Joined The Senate Banking Committee In January 1997. (Hearing On The Nomination Of Andrew Cuomo To Be Secretary Of Housing And Urban Development,” Banking, Housing And Urban Affairs Committee, U.S. Senate, 1/22/97)

Hagel Failed To Disclose The “Underlying Assets” Of The McCarthy Group Inc. “Among other matters, Baird asked the Nebraska Republican to identify and estimate the value of the assets of the McCarthy Group Inc., a private merchant banking company based in Omaha, with which Hagel had a special relationship. Hagel had reported a financial stake worth $1 million to $5 million in the privately held firm. But he did not report the company's underlying assets, choosing instead to cite his holdings as an ‘excepted investment fund,’ and therefore exempt from detailed disclosure rules.” (Alexander Bolton, “Hagel’s Ethics Filings Pose Disclosure Issue,” The Hill, 1/29/03)

  • Financial Disclosure Law Experts Argued That The Holdings Of The McCarthy Group Inc. “Do Not Appear To Meet The Definition Of An ‘Expected Investment Fund.’” “Questioned by The Hill, several disclosure law experts said financial institutions set up in the same fashion as the McCarthy Group Inc. do not appear to meet the definition of an ‘excepted investment fund,’ - at least as the committee had defined the category until Monday.” (Alexander Bolton, “Hagel’s Ethics Filings Pose Disclosure Issue,” The Hill, 1/29/03)

Hagel’s Political Campaign And Office Employed McCarthy Family Members. “Campaign finance reports show that McCarthy has served as treasurer for Hagel for Nebraska and later Hagel for Senate from 1999 until as recently as December of 2002. McCarthy's son, Kevin, works in Hagel's press shop.” (Alexander Bolton, “Hagel’s Ethics Filings Pose Disclosure Issue,” The Hill, 1/29/03)

Accepted Free Trip And Donations From Bank Lobbyists As Member Of Banking Committee

 Hagel Received A $900-A-Night Hotel Suite From A Bank Lobbying Group While He Was A Member Of The Senate Banking Committee. “For lawmakers, the accommodations often are more plush than the standard government hotel room. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and his wife were put up in a $ 900-a-night suite in Orlando, Fla., in February by a banking group. Hagel is a member of the Senate Banking Committee.” (Larry Margasak, “Special Interests’ Combine Lobbying, Travel, Contributions,” The Associated Press, 5/31/99)

  • “Hagel Was The Featured Speaker At The American Bankers Association' Conference In Orlando, Fla., In February. The Expenses Included $ 2,747 For Three Nights At The Cypress Grand Hyatt For Hagel And His Wife.” (Larry Margasak, “Special Interests’ Combine Lobbying, Travel, Contributions,” The Associated Press, 5/31/99)

“The Bankers Association Spent $4.6 Million In Lobbying Last Year. Hagel Received $58,000 In Donations From Banking Interests In 1997-98.” (Larry Margasak, “Special Interests’ Combine Lobbying, Travel, Contributions,” The Associated Press, 5/31/99)


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