There has been some reluctance on the part of Senator Hagel to reveal his financial supporters. There have been two recent articles at Breitbart.com regarding those supporters–one on Thursday by Ben Shapiro and one on Thursday by Joel B. Pollak.
Mr. Pollak reports:
Hariri, whose father Rafik Hariri was assassinated (likely by the Hezbollah terror group) in 2005, inherited his family fortune and emerged as a Sunni Muslim leader in Lebanon’s fractured ethnic-religious mosaic. He served as prime minister from late 2009 until early 2011, when Hezbollah’s political wing withdrew from his government amid controversy over its involvement in his father’s death. He now lives outside Lebanon in self-imposed exile.
The Hariri family has supported the Atlantic Council, a think tank Hagel chairs, and provided the funding for the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, which was launched in 2011 with Vice President Joe Biden in attendance. The Hariri Center’s stated purpose is to “promote innovative policies to advance economic and political liberalization, sustainable conflict resolution, and greater regional and international integration.”
Hariri is thought to be connected to Syrian opposition groups, even though as prime minister he attempted to improve relations with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. He is well-regarded by Western supporters–a fact that his local opponents sometimes use against him. Accusations–likely false, and probably planted by opponents–have even circulated that he is working with the Israel Defense Force to train anti-Hezbollah soldiers in Jordan.
Yet even the liberal-minded Hariri has expressed open hostility towards Israel, and has been at pains to show his support for Hamas, the predominantly Sunni Palestinian terror group that controls the Gaza Strip.
Ben Shapiro reports:
On Thursday, Senate sources told Breitbart News exclusively that they have been informed that one of the reasons that President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has not turned over requested documents on his sources of foreign funding is that one of the names listed is a group purportedly called “Friends of Hamas.”
Yesterday, 25 senators sent a letter to Hagel demanding information on his foreign funding. Hagel has refused all such requests, prompting the senators to state, “in the judgment of the undersigned, a Committee vote on your nomination should not occur unless and until you provide the requested information.”
Generally I believe that a President should be allowed to choose his own cabinet, but until the questions regarding Senator Hagel’s overseas friends are answered, I think this nomination should be put on hold.