Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Hearing of the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services - Confirmation Hearing of the Nomination of the Honorable Charles T. Hagel

Hearing

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First of all, I would
like to echo your remarks about Secretary Panetta and the work
that he has done. I do not see him here today, but I do recall when
he was first nominated, I was probably one of the first phone calls
to him, and I have enjoyed working with him.

With Senator McCain, the same way. I will certainly continue to
depend on his counsel, and you and I have worked very well together
in the past.

Mr. Chairman, before I continue the opening statement, I would
like to raise a concern about the sufficiency of materials provided
to this committee by our nominee. Senator Hagel was requested to
provide the speeches he has delivered over the last 5 years, yet his
initial submission was for only four speeches. Even though, as was
noticed by Senator Cruz that he had honoraria for 12 speeches, but
submitted four speeches. Well, we received some more, but only
late last night. And so I think it would have been much helpful--
a lot more helpful if we had received them before that, and I am
hoping that we will be able to get that information before we have
to cast votes on this nominee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The President's nomination of Senator Hagel to serve as the next
Secretary of Defense comes at a critical juncture in our military
and national security interests. Senator Hagel is a good man who
has a record of service. I first learned of that when he was first
elected, and I have been a great admirer of the time that he spent
in Vietnam with the sacrifices that he made.

And while his service is commendable, the fate of his nomination
should be decided by the totality of his record. It is the votes that
he has cast, the statements that he has made over the many years
of his career that will inform us as to his judgment, his view of
America's role in the world, and his view of the military required
to support that role.

As I told Senator Hagel in my office some time ago--over two
weeks ago, I guess it was--that after a long and careful review of
his record, and there are things that he has said and there are
things that I have personally experienced with him, that we are too
philosophically opposed on the pressing issues facing our country
and for me to support his nomination. And, therefore, I told him
I would not be supporting his nomination.

His record demonstrates what I view as a lack of steadfast opposition
to policies that diminish U.S. power and influence throughout
the world as well as a recent trend of policy reversals that
seem based on political expediency rather than on core beliefs. On
many of the security challenges facing the U.S. interests around
the world, Senator Hagel's record is deeply troubling and out of the
mainstream. Too often it seems he is willing to subscribe to a
worldwide view that is predicated on appeasing our adversaries
while shunning our friends. I remember quoting Hiram Mann, who
said, ""No man survives when freedom fails. The best men rot in
filthy jails. And those who cry 'appease, appease' are hanged by
those they tried to please.''

And I am mentioning a few of these things because they are
going to come out in this hearing. In 2000, an overwhelming majority
of senators sent a letter to President Clinton reaffirming our
solidarity with Israel. I was one of them who carried that letter
around. I remember it well. And Senator Hagel was one of just four
who refused to sign that letter, and I am sure he will want to comment
about that.

In 2001, he was one of just two Senators who voted against a bill
extending harsh sanctions against Iran. A year later, he urged the
Bush administration to support Iran's membership in the World
Trade Organization. Senator Hagel voted against a resolution designating
Iran's revolutionary guard corp, a group responsible for
killing American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, as a terrorist organization.
And on multiple occasions, he has advocated for direct
negotiations with Iran, a regime that continues to repress its people,
doggedly pursue a nuclear weapon capability, and employ terrorist
proxies, including Hamas, Hezbollah, who threaten the security
of Israel and the region.

Senator Hagel has also been an outspoken supporter of the nuclear
disarmament and the Global Zero movement. We are very
sensitive to that, and we know that the President has said many
times he wants a nuclear free world, and I know that Senator
Hagel is right there with him. But at a time when North Korea's
belligerent actions threaten our allies with their nuclear capabilities
and security of our own Nation and that of our allies, why
would we want to unilaterally disarm ourselves of nuclear capability?

Of late, however, Senator Hagel has expressed views in meetings
with Senate colleagues, I have been informed, and through the
press that appear glaringly at odds with many of his long-held positions,
particularly on issues dealing with Israel, Iran, and our nuclear
arsenal. This apparent willingness to walk back or alter his
position, possibly for the sake of political expediency on such important
issues, is deeply troubling and sends a concerning message to
our allies and adversaries alike.

Though I respect Senator Hagel, his record to date demonstrates
that he would be a staunch advocate for the continuation of the
misguided policies of the President's first term. Retreating from
America's unique global leadership role and shrinking the military
will not make America safer. On the contrary, it will embolden our
enemies, endanger our allies, and provide opportunity for nations
that do not share our interests to fill a global leadership vacuum
we leave behind.

It is for these reasons that I believe that he is the wrong person
to lead the Pentagon at this perilous and consequential time.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Senator INHOFE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Hagel, my first question is not to be responded as to explaining
the position, but I want to state the position or restate the
position on five things that I mentioned in my opening statement,
merely to ask you if these are accurate reflections of things that
happened in the past.
The first one is in 2007 you voted against the designating of
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp as a terrorist organization.
The second thing in 2006, you were one of 12 senators who
refused to petition the EU to identify Hezbollah as a terrorist
group. Third, in November of '03, you failed to vote on a Syrian--
on a Syria accountability act authorizing sanctions on Syria for its
support of terrorism and occupation of Lebanon. Four, in 2001, you
were one of only two senators that year to vote against renewal of
the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act. And lastly, in 2001, you were one of
four senators who refused to sign the letter supporting Israel. Are
those accurate?

Senator HAGEL. Well, let's start with the--

Senator INHOFE. Well, no, I just want to know if the statements--
these are votes that took place. Do you agree that those
votes took place?

Senator HAGEL. Well, I want to ask the letter that you just noted
in your fifth point, what was the date in the letter?

Senator INHOFE. The date?

Senator HAGEL. You said I refused to sign a letter.

Senator INHOFE. It was October 2001.

Senator HAGEL. A letter to----

Senator INHOFE. Okay, skip that one. Are the other ones true?

[Laughter.]

Senator HAGEL. Well, it is very important, as you know, Senator,
that we----

Senator INHOFE. Well, it is very important because I was holding
the letter at the time that we were gathering signatures.

Senator HAGEL. I see. On the 2008 question regarding designating
the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, I did
vote against it.

Senator INHOFE. I am sorry, and I do not want to be rude. You
and I are very good friends, but I know that my time is going to
expire. Others are going to ask you why you did this. I was asking
for the accuracy, and you do not want to answer that, that is fine.

Senator HAGEL. No, I just said I did vote against it, and I was
going to explain why I voted against it.

Senator INHOFE. I know, and they will be asking you for your explanation.
I want to get to three other things, and that is why it
is critical that we kind of keep moving along here.
One of the criticisms I have had of this administration is the lack
of priority and funding for the military. While they have increased
the deficit by $5.3 trillion in four years, the only major part of the
budget has not decreased has been the military.
Now, that is something that is pretty well known. A lot of people
do not like that idea. The thing that bothers me just as much is
putting the agenda--another agenda under the military budget.
For example, you have heard Senator McCain, and me, and others
talk about the fact the fact that the Navy paid for $450,000 gallons
of fuel, some $26 a gallon that you can get on the market for $3.
The Air Force, the same thing, except that it is $59 a gallon.
And so the question I would have of you is just a commitment
that if you are confirmed, will you confine the dollars that we are
going to spend in the defense budget for defense purposes, for war
fighting purposes?

Senator HAGEL. Well, of course I will because that is the intent
of our budget and the Department of Defense.

Senator INHOFE. Good. I appreciate that very much. There was
an article the other day in the Washington Post by Jennifer Rubin
called ""Our Dimwitted State Department.'' It was kind of an interesting
article. And there are four questions that I am going to ask
that you respond for the record. For people who do not know what
that is, that means later on in writing.
The questions that I liked that she asked were, did the sale of
the F--16s encourage Morsi to crack down on his people? Number
two, had we known he would crack, would we still have sent the
weaponry? Number three, how will we respond to Morsi's antidemocratic
moves and the rise in violence against Christians in
Egypt, or, as will likely be the case, a failure to live up to Egypt's
security obligations regarding Gaza? And, four, have we miscalculated
the Muslim Brotherhood? That would be for the record.

[The information referred to follows:]

[COMMITTEE INSERT]

Senator INHOFE. In the area of the Global Zero policy, you and
I talked about that in my office. Others have talked about it. We
are very much concerned.
When I heard Senator Warner and others talk about what used
to be the case, the problem, in terms of nuclear capability, we used
to be talking about Russia and the United States. It is not true
anymore. Our intelligence has told us since 2007 that Iran will
have that nuclear capability and a delivery system by 2015, so it
is other countries that are involved in that.
The question I would ask you, in your book you wrote that ""We
must once again convince the world that America has a clear intention
of fulfilling the nuclear disarmament committee--commitments
that we have made.'' The question--and then a bit more recently
you said, ""I believe that providing necessary resources for
nuclear modernization of the triads should be a national priority.''
Do you stand by your last statement?

Senator HAGEL. My last statement was----

Senator INHOFE. Your last statement is saying that it should--
""I believe that providing the necessary resources for nuclear modernization
of the triads should be a national priority.''

Senator HAGEL. Absolutely it should be, and I agree with that.
And that is what the policy of this administration is.

Senator INHOFE. Well, I am merely bringing out the inconsistency
because when you were involved with supporting the Global
Zero or whatever the organization was, their declaration is, quote,
""We, the undersigned believe that to protect our children, our
grandchildren, our civilization from the threat of nuclear catastrophe,
we must eliminate all nuclear weapons globally. We, therefore,
commit to working for a legally binding verifiable agreement,
including all nations, to eliminate nuclear weapons by a date certain.''

Senator HAGEL. The position of Global Zero, my position--some
of the individuals--national security leaders, as Senator Nunn
talked about, including himself, has never unilateral disarmament
ever. Never. We have over the years, which I have supported, the
United States has led in reducing--the efforts to reducing nuclear
warheads. There was no more significant voice for that than Ronald
Reagan when he laid before Secretary General Gorbachev in
1986 a rather bold plan. In fact, I believe, paraphrasing President
Reagan, we must eliminate nuclear warheads from the face of the
face. I believe he said something to that effect.
Global Zero has been very clear on this. Their effort is in line
with every major national leader in the world, including President
Obama, to continue to try to make an effort to reduce our nuclear
warheads. But in a dangerous world, nuclear arsenals and our containment
policy, which I mentioned in my statement, has been
critically important. We are not going to unilaterally disarm.
Verifiable. It has to be bilateral. It has to be negotiated, as all our
treaties have been.

Senator INHOFE. Thank you, Senator Hagel, but the reason I
mentioned the mission statement is that is the group that you belong
to. We can talk about that later. You may want to expand on
that for the record.
My time has expired, but I have one last question I would like
to ask, and that is, given that Iran--""The people''--and I am
quoting right now--″from Iran, people of the Middle East, the Muslim
region, and North Africa, people of these regions hate America
from the bottom of their heart.'' It further said, ""Israel is a cancerous
tumor in the heart of the Islamist world.'' It further said,
""Iran's warriors are ready and willing to wipe Israel off the map.''
The question I would like to ask you, and you can answer for the
record if you would like, is, why do you think that the Iranian foreign
ministry so strongly supports your nomination to be the Secretary
of Defense?

Senator HAGEL. I have a difficult enough time with American
politics. Senator, I have no idea. But thank you, and I will be glad
to respond further for the record.

[The information referred to follows:]

[COMMITTEE INSERT]

Senator INHOFE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Senator INHOFE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate that
courtesy very, very much. I'm going to have to hurry this up a little
bit because it's less time than I thought we had, I say to my good
friend.
It was mentioned that one of the members up here thought I was
being disrespectful during the time that I was questioning you. It
was at a time when I made the statement that you have been endorsed
by the ministry of Iran for your nomination to be Secretary
of Defense. Do you consider that to be a disrespectful notion on my
part?

Senator HAGEL. No, it's a legitimate question.

Senator INHOFE. Thank you very much.
I have kind of been the leader on postponing any further Abrams
tanks or F--16s to Egypt until such time as that government is
under control. This is my own statement, only representing my own
thoughts. I think Morsi's an enemy. I think their military is a
friend.
There was a vote just a little while ago to do away permanently
with the sending of any of this equipment to Egypt. I don't think
that's a good idea. What I think is a good idea is to continue to use
that as leverage. If you do that, you lose the leverage. I believe that
we are going to be in a position--right now, Morsi has already
distanced himself from the military. To me that's a first good step,
and I would like to think that we could reinstate a friend, a friend
in that area.
I would only ask you, would you agree with my statement that
I came out with a long time ago or my bill that I introduced, I
should say, and I re-introduced in a stronger way today, saying
that we would withhold sending this equipment to Egypt until such
time as these conditions are met? And I mentioned the conditions
of keeping the accords from Camp David and that type of thing.
Would you consider that?

Senator HAGEL. Well, first, that's a policy decision that the President
of the United States would make. If he asks for my advice I
would certainly give it to him. But to the bigger question, I think
it is important that our assistance to Egypt be conditional. They
play an absolutely critical role in fulfilling the commitments of
Camp David for the security of Israel and elsewhere.

Senator INHOFE. I'm sorry to interrupt you, but we're almost out
of time right now. And I appreciate that answer.
You made one statement that I strongly disagreed with. You said
that President Obama has been the strongest ally of Israel--or
Israeli supporter since 1948. I have a hard time with that. I know
that he's not up for confirmation; you are. But when you see statements
coming out of the administration like ""The United States believes
that negotiations should result in two states with permanent
Palestinian borders with Israel and Jordan and Egypt,'' and they
come out with the statements like ""We believe the borders of Israel
and Palestine should be based on the 1967 borderlines,'' these are
statements I think are very damaging, and I can assure you that
the leadership over in Israel feel that those statements are damaging.
So do you still feel that this President, Obama, has been the
strongest supporter of Israel since 1948?

Senator HAGEL. I do, and I will tell you very quickly why. First
of all, the 2006 Quartet Principles that President Bush laid down
I think cover most of the points that you've made, and I supported
President Bush then and still do, what he did in developing those
principles.
But when you look at the assistance this administration has
given to Israel, the most significant and largest military to military
exercise, Austere Challenge, Israeli-U.S. forces last fall, the additional
moneys that we put into Iron Dome, the President's position,
we've got your back----

Senator INHOFE. I've answered the question. That's fine. I appreciate
it.

Senator HAGEL. I think it's hard to----

Senator INHOFE. But one other subject before we run out of time
here, and it's one that I know you're very interested in. You actually
were a co-sponsor of the Missile Defense Act of 1999 and I was,
too. So we agreed. Times have changed since that time. At that
time people thought having the capabilities was confined to the
USSR at that time, or Russia, and the United States. A lot has
happened since then.
I often say that one of the things I disagreed with most in the
first budget that this President had was when he did away with
the ground-based interceptor site in Poland. I think most people
are aware that that was built for protection of Western Europe and
Eastern United States. I'm satisfied that we have, even with the
reduction of ground-based interceptors on the West Coast, which I
disagreed with, but I still think we have adequate protection on the
West Coast. It's from the East Coast, and right now we still--our
intelligence still says today that Iran will have the weapon capability
and the delivery capability by 2015. That's why it was supposed
to be there.
Now there's a discussion saying to cover that void we need to
have a third site. Do you support a third site of ground-based interceptor?
It would be on the East Coast somewhere.

Senator HAGEL. I'm aware of the NDAA authorization and instruction
for a third site and an environmental impact statement.
I don't know enough of the details. If I am confirmed and go over
there, I will get into it. But to respond to that, which I will for the
record, I just don't know enough about it.

[The information referred to follows:]
[COMMITTEE INSERT]

Senator INHOFE. Okay, if you'd respond for the record. I think it's
very significant and I think that most people are looking at this
with this void. You know, you have a period of time between
2015--nobody disputes the capability that Iran will have at that
time. It's not even classified. But there is still a void of about 6
years between that and when we would have the capability to
knock down what has to be knocked down unless we have a third
site in place. So I am hoping that maybe for the record you'll come
back and say that you support the third site.
The last thing I'll mention, if you'll forgive me, Mr. Chairman,
when Senator Hroto talked to you she talked about your efforts and
her expectations on your being involved in using the Department
of Defense for all these environmental things. I would suggest to
you that's why we have a Department of Energy. When I asked you
the question, will you refrain from doing some of the things that
have been done in the past in this administration, such as forcing
the Navy to pay $26 a gallon for 450,000 gallons of fuel that you
could buy for $3 and other things, it's billions of dollars that we're
paying which we could be using for warfighting. So I see an inconsistency
in your answer to me and your answer to the Senator from
Hawaii.

Senator HAGEL. Well, my answer to the Senator from Hawaii
was, I believe--they can read it back--that I am committed to all
efficiencies that we can find in the Department of Defense which
are in the interest of our country. I didn't commit to any one program.

Senator INHOFE. Or any program that would be a costly program
on experimentation, such as the programs that I've just mentioned,
clearly are in the jurisdiction of the Department of Energy and
they're the ones supposed to be doing it. Don't you agree that we
should be confining ourselves to enhancing our warfighter capabilities?

Senator HAGEL. Well, of course. But I think within that realm
certainly the kind of money that we spend, as you've noted, on fuel,
that should include some not only sense of that, but are there
things that we can be doing with our research and technology in
the Department of Defense, why wouldn't we? It just seems to
make sense.

Senator INHOFE. Yes, we should as a government, but that's
what the Department of Energy is supposed to be doing. And when
you said, as you suggest, the high cost of fuel, yes, it's a high cost
because we're paying 10 times as much as we would have to pay,
money that we could be putting toward our warfighting efforts.
That's my point.

Senator HAGEL. Well, yes, I agree, but why wouldn't we be looking
at all options if we have the kind of sophisticated research and
technology that the Department of Defense does and has possession
of? Why wouldn't we be enlarging that? I don't know anything
more specific to or central to our security than energy.

Senator INHOFE. Well--and I know my time has expired. We're
spending literally millions, actually some billions of dollars, on
some of these experimentations that again are not in the purview
of this. And right now we're stalling 179 F--35s that we just recently
are putting off. I always say that if they put them off indefinitely,
that's just a cut; it's not a put-off. Those are things that we
should be doing right now.
We're looking at the Ohio-class sub. We should be doing that
right now, but we've postponed it. And if we were to spend the
money that we're spending on the environmental causes on
warfighting, I think it would do us better good. Apparently you
don't agree with that.

Senator HAGEL. Well, I've said what I said, but I will commit this
to you, Senator, that, as I said to the Senator from Hawaii, I will,
if I'm confirmed, will obviously look at all these programs. I'll have
to.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


Source:
Skip to top
Back to top