Being Forced To Vote While Being Denied The Necessary Information

One of the objections in the confirmation battle of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense is that there is a lot of missing information in the papers he has submitted to Congress. Actually, the blank spaces in that information could be easily cleared up by a search of Chuck Hagel’s archive at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Today’s Weekly Standard is reporting that the University has decided to keep the archive sealed because not everything there has been processed.

The article reports:

“Chuck Hagel’s record in the Senate is well documented in the public domain,” says Hagel spokesman Marie Harf in an emailed statement.

“Given his extraordinary disclosures to date, which surpass the threshold applied to nominees, there is no need to make this archived material public.”

The man is being considered for Secretary of Defense–we need to know everything about him except his shoe size!

The article contains this very interesting bit of information:

But university officials yesterday indicated that if Hagel himself were to grant this reporter access to the archives, his request would be granted.

I can’t help but wonder exactly what is being hidden.

Form 86

Andrew C. McCarthy posted an article today at The Corner at the National Review about the confirmation hearing for Chuck Hagel. The mainstream media is doing a pretty consistent job of criticizing Senator Ted Cruz for his questioning of Senator Hagel–even going so far as to call up their favorite slander–McCarthyism.

The article reports:

Cruz made much of the fact that, in connection with his nomination to be secretary of defense, Hagel refused to disclose to the committee all compensation he has received in excess of $5,000 over the last five years, the point being to probe Hagel’s connections to foreign governments and their agents — Hagel already being known to have troublesome ties to outfits like the National Iranian American Council, which is the Islamo-fascist Iranian regime’s pom-pom squad.

The article goes on to report that Form 86, a lengthy questionnaire candidates for any governmental national security position have to fill out, has to be filled out for much less important jobs than Secretary of Defense.

The article reports:

Have a look at the form (here), and in particular at pages 59–83. It is a searching inquiry into every conceivable aspect of the candidate’s connections to and financial entanglements with foreign countries and their agents — and that’s only after similarly exacting questions earlier in the form about the candidate’s family connections to foreign countries and their agents (a topic we discussed back when Democrats, as well as some leading Republicans like Senator John McCain, were making similarly ridiculous “McCarthyism” allegations about inquiries into the Islamist connections of Huma Abedin, top adviser to former Secretary of State Clinton).

The Senate’s job is to advise and consent. They are supposed to ask the hard questions. Unfortunately, they rarely do, that’s why Ted Cruz is being accused of everything except murder (give them time!).

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It Wasn’t Historic–It Wasn’t Even Close

The title of the story in yesterday’s Washington Times reads, “Chuck Hagel makes history as first to be blocked from Defense.” Well, not so fast.

The Washington Post archives report:

U.S. Senate confirmation of a president’s Cabinet nomination of a former U.S. senator is usually pro forma. But the treatment of George Bush’s pick for secretary of defense, ex-Texas senator John Tower, was anything but standard.

After five grueling weeks of testimony, debate, and rumor-mongering, Tower’s nomination was defeated in March 1989 by a mostly party-line vote. Accusations of extensive womanizing and heavy drinking filled the airwaves and newspapers, supplementing more traditional charges of conflict-of-interest in Tower’s previous work for defense contractors.

Many media organizations unquestionably let their standards slip, with unproven allegations receiving equal weight with legitimate commentary. By the time of the final Senate vote, Tower felt compelled to make a humiliating public pledge on national television to abstain from drinking if confirmed, on pain of resignation if he broke his promise. (the italics are mine)

There is definitely a double standard here. The charges against Tower were a mixture of proven and unproven. The filibuster of Senator Hagel is the result of his refusal to release financial records and transcripts of his speeches, combined with a desire of the Senate to find out the truth about Benghazi.

The article at the Washington Times reports:

GOP senators said they are delaying the confirmation in order to have more time to study Mr. Hagel’s record and to obtain more information on the White House’s handling of the September attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, a matter on which they accuse the administration of stonewalling or providing wrong information. Republicans expect they will green-light him later this month after the chamber returns from a weeklong vacation.

It is generally thought that Senator Hagel will be confirmed. Considering some of his speeches, some of his financial backers, and some of his comments on various aspects of the war on terrorism, that is unfortunate.

We do need to remember, however, that Senator Hagel is not the first Presidential appointee to have a bumpy road to confirmation or not to be confirmed. The press needs a history lesson.

For more information on some of the antics of the media regarding the Senator Hagel nomination, see this Washington Free Beacon article posted today.Enhanced by Zemanta

A Major Question About The Hagel Nomination

There has been some reluctance on the part of Senator Hagel to reveal his financial supporters. There have been two recent articles at regarding those supporters–one on Thursday by Ben Shapiro and one on Thursday by Joel B. Pollak.

The article by Mr. Pollak states that some of the financial supporters of Senator Hagel are very friendly to Hamas. One of Senator Hagel’s supporters is former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri.

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.

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Confirmation Hearing For Chuck Hagel

This story is based on two articles–one posted by Paul Mirengoff at Power Line today and one posted at the Los Angeles Times today. Both articles were reporting on the Senate confirmation hearings of former Senator Chuck Hagel.

The headline on the Los Angeles Times article is “Chuck Hagel, an antiwar secretary of Defense.” That is an interesting statement.

The article at Power Line reports:

First, Cruz (Senator Ted Cruz) played excerpts from a tape of Hagel’s 2009 appearance on al Jazeera, in which a caller suggested that Israel had committed war crimes. In responding to the question, Hagel did not dispute the caller’’s statement. Cruz also pointed to statement by Hagel that Israel had engaged in “the sickening slaughter” of Hezbollah, which sounds a bit like war crimes.

The American friendship with Israel goes back to 1948 when Israel became a nation. To accuse Israel of slaughter when Hezbollah routinely lobs rockets into civilian Israeli population centers is simply not factual. Senator Hagel may represent the President’s views on Israel, but those views are not good for either America or Israel.

The Power Line article further reported:

Next, Cruz played an excerpt from the same interview in which the al Jazeera host read a reader e-mail claiming that the United States has served as the world’’s “bully.” This time Hagel not only failed to take exception and stick up for his country, he said on al Jazeera he found some merit in the claim, calling it “a good observation” (the Washington Post report linked to above fails to report this fact).

To me, this is the problem with the nomination. Traditionally America has acted as a policeman in the world–coming to the aid of people when democracy was in danger. We have not played that role under President Obama–we have supported a revolution in Egypt that has led to a government that is anything but democratic and we refused to help the green revolution in Iran.

I suspect Senator Hagel will be confirmed. Unless there is some major scandal associated with a President’s cabinet nominee, I believe the candidate should be confirmed. Elections have consequences. President Obama was legally elected. Unfortunately, I think the cabinet appointments of Senator Kerry as Secretary of State and Senator Hagel as Secretary of Defense will hurt America in the long run.

The Washington Post Opinion On Chuck Hagel For Defense Secretary

Yesterday the Washington Post posted an editorial about the expected nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. The Washington Post editorial board opposes the nomination.

The editorial states:

…Mr. Hagel’s stated positions on critical issues, ranging from defense spending to Iran, fall well to the left of those pursued by Mr. Obama during his first term — and place him near the fringe of the Senate that would be asked to confirm him.

The article explains that Mr. Hagel does not seem to be as concerned about the Defense Department sequester as current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. When interviewed by the Financial Times, Mr. Hagel stated, “The Defense Department, I think in many ways, has been bloated, so I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down.” There is a difference between cutting waste and undermining the country’s defense.

The editorial reminds us:

Mr. Hagel was similarly isolated in his views about Iran during his time in the Senate. He repeatedly voted against sanctions, opposing even those aimed at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which at the time was orchestrating devastating bomb attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq. Mr. Hagel argued that direct negotiations, rather than sanctions, were the best means to alter Iran’s behavior. The Obama administration offered diplomacy but has turned to tough sanctions as the only way to compel Iran to negotiate seriously.

At some point, even President Obama began to realize that negotiations were a tool that Iran was using to buy time to complete their nuclear program.

The article concludes:

What’s certain is that Mr. Obama has available other possible nominees who are considerably closer to the mainstream and to the president’s first-term policies. Former undersecretary of defense Michèle Flournoy, for example, is a seasoned policymaker who understands how to manage the Pentagon bureaucracy and where responsible cuts can be made. She would bring welcome diversity as the nation’s first female defense secretary.

Mr. Hagel is an honorable man who served the country with distinction as a soldier in Vietnam and who was respected by his fellow senators. But Mr. Obama could make a better choice for defense secretary.

For once I agree with the editorial board of the Washington Post.

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