Hagel, Brennan nominations planned for Monday
January 6th, 2013
12:44 PM ET
1 year ago

Hagel, Brennan nominations planned for Monday

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama plans to announce former Sen. Chuck Hagel as his nominee to become the next defense secretary and Counterterrorism and Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan as the nominee for CIA director on Monday, administration officials told CNN.

Two sources close to Hagel have also been told to expect the defense secretary announcement on Monday, and additional sources - a senior administration official and a source familiar with the nomination - said Obama spoke to Hagel Sunday by telephone.

The White House was calling senators' offices Sunday to inform them Hagel's nomination is imminent and to help build support for it, a source familiar with the nomination said. CNN reported Friday that the White House had told some senior members of Congress to expect the tapping of Hagel, and another source with knowledge of the nomination called it "locked down."

At the CIA, Obama plans to nominate Brennan to replace retired Gen. David Petraeus and acting CIA Director Michael Morell, according to a senior administration official. The announcement is expected Monday afternoon at the same time Obama nominates Hagel, the official said.

Petraeus stepped down from his post in November amid revelations he had engaged in an extramarital affair with his biographer. Morell, a career intelligence officer who was serving as the spy agency's deputy director, stepped in as acting CIA director upon Petraeus' resignation.

For Hagel, getting to the Pentagon will mean overcoming already vocal opposition from pro-Israel groups and others who object to his stance on Iran and Hamas. He has also faced opposition from gay rights groups, who were strong supporters of Obama's election campaigns, for a comment Hagel made in 1998 in which Hagel questioned whether a nominee for ambassadorship was suitable because he was "openly, aggressively gay." He apologized for that remark in December.

On Sunday, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham labeled Hagel's expected nomination as "in your face," expressing concerns on CNN's "State of the Union" about Hagel's past positions on Iran and Israel, which have been the subject of scrutiny since his name was first floated as a potential defense secretary five weeks ago.

MORE: GOP Senators: Hagel in for a fight

Republicans have also struck upon comments in a 2007 interview that some perceive as anti-Jewish, when Hagel said the "Jewish lobby intimidated lawmakers."

They've also lambasted positions Hagel took as a GOP senator, including his opposition to unilateral sanctions against Iran, as well as votes opposing the labeling of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. He also opposed the "surge" of troops in Iraq favored by then-President George W. Bush and members of his administration.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, said Sunday that Hagel would receive a "thorough vetting" just like any other presidential nominee.

"Whoever is nominated for secretary of defense is going to have to have a full understanding of our close relationship with our Israeli allies, the Iranian threat, and the importance of having a robust military," McConnell said on ABC's "This Week." "So whoever that is I think will be given a thorough vetting. And if Sen. Hagel is nominated, he'll be subjected to the same kinds of review of his credentials as anyone else."

A veteran of the Vietman War, Hagel served, by a clerical mistake, side by side with his younger brother, and earned two Purple Hearts, one of those for saving his brother's life.

His time in Vietnam would end up forging his thoughts about combat for the rest of his life, and defining his tenure on Capitol Hill as a U.S. Senator with an independent streak, often sidestepping his Republican colleagues.

"Not that I'm a pacifist, I'm a hard-edged realist, I understand the world as it is, but war is a terrible thing. There's no glory, only suffering," he is quoted in his 2006 biography.

If he is confirmed, Hagel will face the challenge of closing the final chapter on the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan and oversee the continued footprint of a smaller U.S. training force there.

MORE: Hagel's defense posture forged by war experience

Hagel has been critical of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. In 2009 he opposed Obama's move to surge 30,000 troops into Afghanistan, telling the National Journal, "I'm not sure we know what the hell we are doing in Afghanistan."

Perhaps the most immediate issue facing Hagel if confirmed as defense secretary would be the future of the Pentagon's budget. Hagel has said in the past that be believes the Pentagon's budget is overweight.

"The Defense Department, I think in many ways, has been bloated," Hagel said in a September 2011 interview with the Financial Times. "So I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down.”

CNN's John King, Athena Jones, Gloria Borger, Mark Preston, Dan Lothian, Lesa Jansen, Mike Mount, Kevin Bohn and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Chuck Hagel • CIA • Department of Defense
soundoff (269 Responses)
  1. Gaff

    Why does the GOP have to fight everything the President does? Bipartisan politics is what Obama is After and the old party refuses to believe it... What a joke.

    January 6, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. coyote

    could we become nice now? like no more intra-country slight of hand and no killings and no rendition and maybe really equal rights for all citizens of earth? OH! you have a different agenda! ah.

    January 6, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. Ben

    Romney campaigned on his support for Israel and we see where he ended up. Go ahead congress, vote Israel's position over a decorated American veteran. I DARE you.

    January 6, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. keven a beeken

    greetings

    chuck hagel is a good man and will do his very best for our country.

    January 6, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. Name lynn

    its look like hegal an obama is getting alone great an yet what about the white house leaders an them nuckles head republicans an that pro stupid boehner is hegal on obama side thats what it look like

    January 6, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  6. Ron S

    Modern Republican politicians, time after time, are the most obstinate, arrogant, time-wasting excuses for government officials this country has ever seen.

    January 6, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. vijay

    the president has a right to make amendements, but this is not an appoitment one would want after the unneccessary and prolonged battle on the farcical fiscal cliff fight we had that dragged on to no end and to the benefit of no one. hagel on the face of it , is a republican or was a republican, so it looks like the president is trying to be more inclusive and wants the house and senate to work well with him , but Senator Hagel is so differing in his views from his once republican colleagues in the senate and the the house, the appoitment is a slap on their face. this appoitment is hated by both democrats and republicans and thus it would be a media favorite and called a good pick. This is a bogus argument. it is lake saying i am hated by both the left and the right and the extreeme elements in them so I am a moderate. this is a road nobody should head for. If you want to appoint someone with qualified their are plenty of good people that served the country and have nothing to do with the politics or the parties that could have been appointed, and not someone from any political party etc, see what happened to the senator form PA, he went to democratic party from republican party, got soundly defeated and now is finished forever. He was the top ranking memeber of the Judicial committee and now he is a nobody. If the president's mentality that if you cannot defeat of control the repulicans , destroy them is the message from this appoitment. the president need to waste his second term for this, the republicans are already set to destroy themselves anyways.
    the president has a great chance to consolidate his legacy, he already made history by being the first african american president, if only he can rise above himself and work to bring the country together and make everyone ahead, he will be someone whose only achievement after another 50 years is the first african american who messed up big time and would have been the worst president of the country if not for him being african american. is that what the president needs or deservers or something he should work for. Obama is a very smart and kind hearted man, hope he changes and rises above himself and earns a right to be on the Mount , like Lincoln, FDR, Jefferson and Washington and not become an also ran

    January 6, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. oge payoute

    God bless CIA.gov

    January 6, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. DemFromSC

    I am an enthusiastic Democrat, but I fully support this nomination. Hagel is tough, smart, and a realist – exactly what the Defense Department needs.

    January 6, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. james

    Good choice, in your face nomination.

    January 6, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. Chris

    Would be good if the new CIA director has a soul. Many of the CIA tactics seem more aligned with Taliban ethics than western values. Those that don't give a damn appear to see no connection between ongoing hostility towards the US and the sordid acts of CIA covert operations that treat foreigners as objects to advance US foreign policy causes. Then again there are many vested interests in keeping the battle going and have history repeat itself.

    January 6, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. pchelp, Juneau, AK

    Uh, isn't a 'small training force' how we got into the Vietnam War? It seems to me that the way to end a war is to withdraw our troops-entirely. Except, maybe, for embassy security forces-which should be military, not unreliable 'contractors'.

    January 6, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. No comment

    Maybe if they found a woman to head the CIA we could reduce the possible threat of affairs/scandals. As someone who is celibate, I can at least eliminate that threat; the threat I have to deal with is men who are upset I will not date them or their friends. My career has been repeatedly derailed over the last decade because I am NOT having sex with anyone and that question comes up - why - because the freedom of celibacy outweighs the potential costs/risks/benefits of any physical interactions. For me it is a cost/risk/benefit analysis. After this last political year and seeing how messy things are, I can gladly I DO NOT want to know anything top secret and wish I was NEVER exposed to anything like this mess. There is a lot of truth in the saying that "ignorance is bliss".

    January 6, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. Skeptic

    And the GOP will oppose anyone that is nominated for these positions. If Jesus Himself came back and was nominated for a cabinet post, they would fight it. After all, it is a (D) that is making the nominations, and that is all that counts. GOP – Party First, Country Last.

    January 6, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. 4eyes

    Awesome decision after Sec. of State John Kerry.

    January 6, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. Bill

    NO confirmation hearings until Hillary TRUTHFULLY testifies on Benghazi and Hloder TRUTHFULLY testifies on fast-and-furious.

    January 6, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. adam

    comments in a 2007 interview that some perceive as anti-Jewish, when Hagel said the "Jewish lobby intimidated lawmakers.",
    but this is a fact every American knows that.

    January 6, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. The Right Left

    The objection from the Right is more to do with influence of foreighn power and its lobby AIPAC.

    AIPAC has already written the checks for Senators Lindsay Graham and his fellow politicians. The amount will be inserted based on how vocal they and opposed they are.

    Lindsay Graham, you are putting the interest of AIPAC a foreigh lobbying group above the US;s. Than you for the betrayal.

    January 6, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. Reeaaally

    He doesn't stand a chance with the republicans! He doesn't blindly follow the republican agenda. Of course, anyone nominated by the president for any position, they will be against. Well, unless it's a democrat in Congress and they have a chance to replace them with a republican! Disgusting!!!

    January 6, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. Abel Legesse

    Hagel's nomination is unhealthy for the current political structure! I'm sure he will flop his position in due time.
    More pressure from the Israeli lobby and Kaboom new hagel is born.

    January 6, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. paul teague

    Now I have heard everything. The GOP really will oppose ANYTHING Obama does. Hagel was a conservative senator from Nebraska for heaven's sake. Obama has nominated one of their own, but because it's Obama's choice – the GOP will oppose even a hard line Republican to the post of Defense secretary.

    January 6, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. Mike from CO

    Former Sen. Hagel is well respected. It will be nice to have someone heading the Pentagon who doesn't think overwhelming military force is the only solution to our foreign policy questions. He will also be a change agent, someone who understands that in order to fight the wars we have to fight in this day an age, we need to think differently in how we organize and fund our military.

    January 6, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. I will wait

    There is no doubt that instead of taking care of real national issues, the republicans will fight a useless fight, just because they can, and they have no solutions to the problems they caused. What I find interesting is that this will just be another show of republicans attacking their own.

    January 6, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. TNPatriot

    The biggest problem facing Hagel's confirmation is the fact that he is a rational and intelligent republican that has not sold his soul to the highest bidders. The rabid right extremist of the GOP will fight him tooth and nail.

    January 6, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. Abdelhamid 'SAM' Ibrahim Samara

    CIA Defense Combination (Integration) :

    President Obama Timely Relevancy Solutions =
    Values Principles = Secure USA prosperity 4-7-1776.

    = Politics Economic
    =

    Afgaenstan : Vitenam Era
    World Order : Communism Era.

    Abdelhamid 'SAM' Ibrahim Samara JR
    15-11-1969
    CEO

    January 6, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11