Today Senator Mike Lee, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, voted against the confirmation of Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. He released the following statement:
"While I am grateful for former Senator Chuck Hagel's service as a soldier in Vietnam and as a U.S. Senator, I cannot support his nomination to be the next Secretary of Defense.
"Senator Hagel's record on the issues most important to our national security is weak and his positions are dangerous. It is the long-standing foreign policy of the United States to not negotiate with terrorists. Hezbollah is the best-funded, best-organized, and best-equipped Foreign Terrorist Organization in the world. Yet Senator Hagel has called for direct talks between the United States and Hezbollah and Hamas. In addition, Senator Hagel's call for enormous cuts to the U.S. nuclear arsenal is dangerous and shortsighted.
"Senator Hagel's changing positions on Israel are also troubling. Israel is, without doubt, the most important ally the United States has in the Middle East. We cannot afford to jeopardize our relationship with Israel or send a weak signal to their enemies.
"In addition, Senator Hagel has complied only with the bare minimum required by the committee regarding certain funding sources for his activities, although there are still many troubling questions. Instead of following precedents set by other top level cabinet nominees, Senator Hagel has chosen to set up roadblocks.
"We need strong leadership at the Pentagon. Senator Hagel has not shown himself to be the right person for the job."