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


Location: Washington, DC


Chairman LEVIN. Thank you, Senator Donnelly.
Senator Cruz.

Senator CRUZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Senator Hagel, I want to thank you for being here, and I want
to begin by thanking you for your honorable service to our Nation,
for your personal sacrifice that you have put into standing and
fighting for this country.

Senator HAGEL. Thank you.

Senator CRUZ. I would like to begin by addressing a question of
process. In your prepared statements today, you describe that you
have given hundreds of speeches and interviews.

Senator HAGEL. Yes.

Senator CRUZ. This committee asked you in this process to submit
those speeches in the last 5 years, and in response to that, you
handed over a total of four speeches. In my view, that submission
was facially insufficient for this committee to assess your record.
Indeed, your financial disclosure revealed you had received paid
honoraria in the past year for 12 speeches, and yet you did not
even hand over those speeches for which you were paid substantial
sums of money. Beyond that, 2 days ago, 6 Senators, including
Ranking Member Inhofe, sent you a letter asking for financial disclosure.
You have not chosen to respond to that letter.
That letter in particular asked about the private organizations
that have paid you over the past 5 years and the degree to which
any of those funding sources have come from foreign countries, foreign
nationals, foreign sovereign debt funds. You chose not to respond
to that letter.
In my view, unless and until you respond to the requests of
members of this committee, this committee does not have a proper
record on which to assess your confirmation, and I think we need
full disclosure and adequate time to assess that.
Now I would like to ask initially a point of clarification. With respect
to the International Criminal Court, do you believe the
United States should become a party to the International Criminal

Senator HAGEL. Senator, may I quickly respond to your first comment?

Senator CRUZ. I would like you to answer my question. My time
is limited.

Senator HAGEL. That question is one that I am most likely not
going to be dealing with, as Secretary of Defense.

Senator CRUZ. It is a simple question. Do you think we should
be a member of the International Criminal Court? I am asking for
your judgment on whether the United States should be a party.

Senator HAGEL. I support where the United States is today.

Senator CRUZ. So we are not a party today. You think we should
not be a party. Is that a correct statement of your position?

Senator HAGEL. That is correct, yes.

Senator CRUZ. Okay. Thank you.
I would like to draw your attention to an interview you did in
2009 with Al Jazeera. And with the chairman's indulgence, if we
can play an excerpt of that interview?

[Video excerpt shown.]

Senator CRUZ. Now in that excerpt, Senator Hagel, the caller
suggests that the Nation of Israel has committed war crimes, and
your response to that was not to dispute that characterization, but
indeed to describe what he said as, ""Well, I think that is exactly
I would like to ask you, do you think the Nation of Israel has
committed war crimes?

Senator HAGEL. No, but--no, I do not, Senator. I would want to
look at the full context of the interview. But to answer your question,

Senator CRUZ. I mean, the context of that question, we played
the entirety of it, and I wanted to give you that context so you
could hear the question and you can hear your response. I would
suggest that a suggestion that Israel has committed war crimes is
particularly offensive, given that the Jewish people suffered under
the most horrific war crimes in the Holocaust.
And I would also suggest that for the Secretary of Defense or
prospective Secretary of Defense not to take issue with that claim
is highly troubling. I would also point out in 2006 your characterization
of the Nation of Israel's action, and that was in a speech
on the floor of the Senate, you referred to Israel's military campaign
against the terrorist group Hezbollah as a ""sickening slaughter.''
Now I would suggest the characterizations, do you think it is
right that Israel was committing a ""sickening slaughter,'' as you
said on the floor of the Senate?

Senator HAGEL. Well, I think, again, I would want to read all of
it, what I said. First, I have said many, many times, Senator, every
nation has a right to defend itself. And--

Senator CRUZ. Do you think a ""sickening slaughter'' would constitute
a war crime?

Senator HAGEL. No. Depends on they were attacked, depends on
many factors. If Israel was defending itself, there was slaughter
going on on both sides.

Senator CRUZ. Does one typically characterize defending yourself
against terrorism as a ""sickening slaughter?''

Senator HAGEL. No, but again, Senator, I would want to look at
everything because--

Senator CRUZ. Okay. Well, let us look at another excerpt from
the same interview, if we can play the second excerpt?

[Video excerpt shown.]

Senator CRUZ. Senator Hagel, do you think it is appropriate for
the chief civilian leader of the U.S. military forces to agree with the
statement that both the perception ""and the reality'' is that the
United States is ""the world's bully?″

Senator HAGEL. I didn't hear her say that, by the way, of the
United States, and I think my comment was it is a relevant and
good observation. I don't think I said that I agree with it.

Senator CRUZ. With respect, I think the record speaks for itself.
It was in writing that she said the U.S. is ""the world's bully,'' that
it is the reality, and your response, you did say you agree with it.
You said, ""Her observation is a good one. It is relevant. Uh, yes,
to her question.''
You explicitly agreed with the characterization of the United
States as the world's bully, and I would suggest that is not a characterization.
I think the United States has spilled more blood, more
treasure standing for freedom, liberating people across the world.
And to go on Al Jazeera, a foreign network, broadcasting propaganda
to nations that are hostile to us and to explicitly agree with
the characterization of the United States as the world's bully, I
would suggest is not the conduct one would expect of a Secretary
of Defense.

Senator HAGEL. Senator, she said that was an observation.

Senator CRUZ. I will point out that her quote was ""the perception
and the reality.'' And with that, my time is expired. I look forward
to a second round of questioning.

Chairman LEVIN. Thank you.
Now what we are going to do, given the fact that some of those
tapes there are--they need to be transcribed to be made part of the
record so that people can judge exactly what was said and what
was asked. I heard that first question, by the way, as a response
to the need for moral leadership. I didn't hear it the way the Senator,
Senator Cruz did.
But in any event, it is important that the words be transcribed
so they can be made part of the record. It is a rather unusual
thing. I told Senator Cruz that I preferred that we have a transcript
and that you be asked questions from a transcript, but that
I didn't want to stop him from offering the tape of it, and he went
ahead and did it.
And in any event, the I think fair thing now is that the transcript
of each of those segments be made part of the record and
that we give also Senator Hagel an opportunity, should he want either
on this question or, by the way, on other questions, an opportunity
to answer for the record in any way he might proceed as
though he were answering questions for the record.

Senator CRUZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We will be happy to provide a transcript, and we will also be
making public a link both to these excerpts and to the entire transcript
so that anyone who wants can view it in its entirety and assess
it in context.

Chairman LEVIN. That would be very helpful. Thank you, Senator

[The information referred to follows:]


Chairman LEVIN. Thank you, Senator Reed.
Senator Cruz.

Senator CRUZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Hagel, thank you for remaining through what has been
a very long hearing.
I'd like to ask some additional questions to further explore your
positions and your record, and begin with asking: Are you familiar
with an individual named Chas Freeman?

Senator HAGEL. Yes, yes.

Senator CRUZ. He was, if I understand correctly, a vice chairman
at the Atlantic Council; is that correct?

Senator HAGEL. When I became chairman of the Atlantic Council
after I left the Senate to replace General Jim Jones, he was one
of many board members and I think was a vice chairman. But I
never really worked with him in the Atlantic Council, but I know
him, yes.

Senator CRUZ. And you and he were part of a group that traveled
last year to China together; is that correct as well?

Senator HAGEL. No, that's not correct.

Senator CRUZ. Okay. There have been press reports to that effect.

Senator HAGEL. Well, those press reports are incorrect. I have
never been on any trip with Chas Freeman.

Senator CRUZ. There have also been press reports that has described
Mr. Freeman as helping coordinate efforts to defend your
nomination. Is that an accurate characterization?

Senator HAGEL. I haven't spoken with Chas Freeman in years.
I don't know of any activity that he's involved in to endorse me.
There are a lot of people I appreciate are endorsing me and supporting
me, but I haven't talked to Chas Freeman in years.

Senator CRUZ. Is he someone whose judgment you respect?

Senator HAGEL. I think Chas Freeman has been an important
public servant for this country. There are a lot of different opinions
that people have on different issues. I don't agree with everybody
and it's pretty clear everybody doesn't agree with me. So that's

Senator CRUZ. Do you consider his views well within the mainstream?

Senator HAGEL. Well, what views are you speaking about, Senator?

Senator CRUZ. His views on the Middle East and on the Nation
of Israel?

Senator HAGEL. Well, I'm not actually that familiar with all of
his views. I can't speak for Chas Freeman.

Senator CRUZ. All right. Well, let's move on to your record then.
You stated in your prepared remarks: ""My overall world view has
never changed.'' I have to admit I find that difficult to reconcile
with statements and positions you've taken for over a decade and
what seems to me a fairly significant shift since you've been nominated
for Secretary of Defense.
So what I'd like to do is go through some past statements, past
positions of yours and just clarify if you agree with them or not,
beginning with number one. In 2001 you voted against legislation
sanctioning Iran. Now, am I correct you no longer agree with that
position; you think sanctions against Iran are a good policy today?

Senator HAGEL. I have said on the record multilateral international

Senator CRUZ. Do you agree with sanctions against Iran?

Senator HAGEL. I'm sorry?

Senator CRUZ. Do you think sanctions against Iran are a good
idea today?

Senator HAGEL. Yes, yes. Yes, I always have.

Senator CRUZ. So it's fair--I'm trying to characterize your--I'm
trying to understand your views and characterize them fairly. It's
fair to say you no longer agree with the position in 2001 that we
should not be sanctioning Iran?

Senator HAGEL. That was a unilateral sanction and the Bush administration--

Senator CRUZ. Today do you think unilateral sanctions are a bad

Senator HAGEL. Well, it's a different time now because we now
have international sanctions on. I've supported the President's position----

Senator CRUZ. Senator Hagel, please answer the question I
asked. Today do you think unilateral sanctions would be a bad

Senator HAGEL. Not today, 12 years later.

Senator CRUZ. So that is not a view you'd agree with today?

Senator HAGEL. Because times have changed. We now have
international sanctions on them.

Senator CRUZ. The second slide: In 2007 you voted against legislation
designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist

Senator HAGEL. That's correct.

Senator CRUZ. You no longer agree with that policy. Today your
position is the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a terrorist group; is
that correct?

Senator HAGEL. The Revolutionary Guard is part of the Iranian
government. The reason I voted against----

Senator CRUZ. Sir, I'm not asking the reason. I'm asking for your
views today. Do you believe the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a
terrorist group, yes or no?

Senator HAGEL. It is part of a state sponsor of terrorism, so it's
part of Iran, which I've said is a sponsor of state terrorism.

Senator CRUZ. Is that a yes?

Senator HAGEL. That vote wasn't that question. That vote

Senator CRUZ. I'm asking your views today. Do you believe the
Iranian Revolutionary National Guard is a terrorist group?

Senator HAGEL. It is part of a terrorist--it is part of a government
that supports terrorism.

Senator CRUZ. Is that a yes or a no?

Senator HAGEL. It's the answer I just gave you.

Senator CRUZ. All right, we'll move on to the next one. 2008, you
also voted against comprehensive Iran sanctions. We've already
discussed that today you agree with sanctions, so that is another

Senator HAGEL. That again was a unilateral sanction that the
Bush administration was opposed to, and the Secretary of State of
this country, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, wrote that.

Senator CRUZ. Sir, my time is limited. I understand that you
want to give reasons for the past positions. We've discussed the
reasons. I'm simply trying to clarify your positions today.
If you look at number four, in 2010 you stated you're not sure
it's necessary to keep all options on the table with regard to Iran's
nuclear program. Do you agree with that position today or is that
no longer your position?

Senator HAGEL. I don't recall that. I have always said that all
options remain on the table. I don't recall that speech.

Senator CRUZ. So this is not your position today? I'm just trying
to understand.

Senator HAGEL. No, it's not. I have said that all options must remain
on the table, including--in fact, in an op-ed I wrote with two
former CENTCOM commanders last year--

Senator CRUZ. And the final one I'm going to ask you: In a 1998
Senate hearing you stated that the United States has ""tilted too far
towards Israel in the Middle East peace process.'' Do you continue
to agree with this position or is that no longer your position today?

Senator HAGEL. I don't remember that, the context of the hearing
or the speech or all the things I said in it. No, I don't think the
United States has tilted too far to Israel. I support the President's
position on Israel. I've said in my book and other speeches that I
strongly support Israel.

Senator CRUZ. So you do not agree with--you do not agree with
this policy. I will point out that I have a list of 10 other statements
in the past which I'm pretty confident if I asked you you would say
you do not agree with, and they're all statements and quotes from
In my judgment, your record as a U.S. Senator--and you and I
don't know each other. We do not have a personal relationship. But
I think your record and your past statements as a U.S. dem-
onstrate greater antagonism for the Nation of Israel than any
member of this body, and also demonstrate a greater willingness
to stand against sanctions, stand against military action, stand
against any strong position against Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, terrorists.
And that ultimately is why the Washington Post described your
foreign policy views as ""near the fringe of the Senate.'' And that
raises I think very serious questions about your suitability to serve
as the Secretary of Defense. In my view, having a Secretary of Defense
who is not viewed as supporting credible, strong military action
makes it more likely the United States will be drawn into military
conflict, and I think that would be a very unfortunate outcome.
Thank you.


Senator CRUZ. Thank you very much, and thank you for your testimony
today. You've been forthright and strong, and again I appreciate
your commitment to this country.

Senator HAGEL. Senator, Senator.

Chairman LEVIN. Another question?

Senator CRUZ. Very briefly, I wanted to thank you for your commitment
to this committee, number one, to provide a complete accounting
and copies of the speeches you've given; and number two,
to respond to the letter that you received two days ago requesting
specific financial information. I appreciate your commitment to do
I also would ask you--in our discussion about Chas Freeman you
said you were not particularly close with him, but that your understanding
was his views were within the mainstream, if that's a fair

Senator HAGEL. No, I didn't say in the mainstream. I said I don't

Senator CRUZ. Okay. What I would ask you to do also as a follow-
up is to review in particular a speech that Mr. Freeman gave
on March 4, 2011, at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC, and
give me your judgment in terms of whether you agree with the
views on the Middle East and the views of the Nation of Israel that
are expressed in that speech. In particular, I would be interested
in your views on the fifth paragraph of that speech.
In my view, the views expressed in that speech are not accurate
and not within the mainstream, and I would be interested if you
concur in that assessment or if you have a different assessment.

Chairman LEVIN. That's a question you're asking for the record?

Senator CRUZ. For the record, yes.

[The information referred to follows:]

Chairman LEVIN. Okay. And other questions for the record need
to be submitted, as I said before, by tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.
I assume, Senator Cruz, that when you said that he's agreed to
provide all of the speeches, it would be all the speeches that he has
access to; is that fair?

Senator CRUZ. That he has or that he can get copies of. I would
certainly hope and expect that he would engage in reasonable efforts
to get copies of speeches if he doesn't have them in his immediate

Chairman LEVIN. Well, we'll say that if you have easy access or
reasonable access to speeches you've given, even though you don't
have them, that we would expect that you could provide this as
well, as well as the other information you indicated you're perfectly
happy to submit, you just haven't had the time to get it ready.

Senator HAGEL. Mr. Chairman, I will commit to that and every
request, as we have. As I said, some of this I didn't see until yesterday.
But everything that is out there that we can find, we'll
make every effort to get it and provide it.

Chairman LEVIN. Well, we very much appreciate that, and your
openness in your responses today.
Again, the record will be open until tomorrow, as I said, at 5:00.
But your answers we would hope and expect would be in by Monday
at 5:00 p.m., because we would very much like to move this
nomination forward to a resolution, first on this committee, and
that timetable would help us move in an expeditious way.
We thank you. We thank your family and your friends.
And we will now--unless there are other questions, we will now
stand adjourned. Thank you.

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