Graham pushes for more info from Hagel
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
February 22nd, 2013
08:10 PM ET
1 year ago

Graham pushes for more info from Hagel

(CNN) – Days before the Senate votes on ending the filibuster against Chuck Hagel's nomination for defense secretary, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham sent a letter to the former senator, demanding access to Hagel's Senate archives and requesting answers to more questions about his record.

"Given the threats we face in the world and the public confidence level needed to be an effective Secretary of Defense, I believe the airing of your views and record is critical to the confirmation process," Graham stated in the letter.

Read the letter here.

The controversy started earlier this week when a reporter from the conservative publication, the Weekly Standard, tried to access the documents but was rebuffed by administrators at the University of Nebraska, Omaha.

The documents were given to the school by Hagel, a Nebraskan who retired from the Senate in 2009 after two terms.

The archive is comprised of legislative papers, including speeches, memos, handwritten letters, photos and other correspondence Hagel accumulated during his 12 years in office, according to the school.

In a statement to CNN, a spokesman from the University of Nebraska, Omaha, said there is good reason to deny access to the papers.

"Once the archive is processed and indexed, according to the standards and best practices of the Society of American Archivists, they will be open to the public. Until that time, they are not open to the public. We are working toward the day when the archive is processed and available to researchers," Charles Reed, a media relations coordinator at the school, said.

But Graham, among other Republicans, is calling on Hagel to allow the university to grant access to his archives. He also wants access to the Washington Speakers Bureau for video of Hagel's speeches and demands answers to previous questions about his position on Israel.

The South Carolina senator has been a leading voice in the fight against Hagel's nomination, questioning some of his past positions and statements. He was one of 15 GOP senators who called on Obama to withdraw his nomination of Hagel in a letter Thursday. The Senate is scheduled to vote Tuesday on Hagel.

Graham said Sunday he received a letter from Hagel disavowing a statement from 2007 in which Hagel was described as saying the State Department was an "adjunct" to the Israeli government. The senator said he accepted Hagel's response, which said he did not recall making that statement and would "disavow" it.

"Well, if in fact that's true, that would end that matter," Graham said. "So, I'll just take him at his word unless something new comes along."

In the same interview on Fox News, Graham defended his relentless vetting of Hagel.

"We're doing our job to scrutinize, I think, one of the most unqualified, radical choices for secretary of defense in a very long time," Graham said.

– CNN's Mike Mount, Kevin Bohn, Gregory Wallace and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Chuck Hagel • Department of Defense • Lindsey Graham • Senate
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Hotdog

    Linsey Graham is simply pathetic. He is a first class sissy that is trying to give the impression that he is a tough guy but he is only a deceiver.

    February 23, 2013 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  2. Jacqui

    Political witch-hunting is offensive at all times. Senator Graham, please stop. There are a lot of serious issues to consider at this time. Remember, you have Someone to whom you must give account of your stewardship.

    February 23, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  3. marty

    Re: Mr Graham's questioning of Mr Hagel, a more descriptive word is vindictive rather than vetting. Mr Graham is show casing the fact that Party is much more important to Republicans than the health and welfare of our Nation and, God help you if you disagree with the like mindedness of your colleagues. So much for independent thought.

    February 23, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  4. Texas Bob

    This man is a war Hawk. He and McCain need to be put out to pasture. They do nothing to help the USA move forward. They sound like the Tea Party whiners.

    February 23, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  5. Anonymous

    This entire Hagel debacle has made Graham, McCain, and Ayotte look like nothing more than the spoiled little brats they are, sticking their puny little noses in the air using their made up concerns and their hyperventilating, partisan, egotistical crap as they mug for the cameras, standing together as "real" Americans doing nothing more sinister than trying to take "their" country back from the black man and all those who support him. My only surprise is that Ayotte fell for the Graham and McCain BS, and fell hard.

    February 23, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  6. beevee

    Who is this moron. Keeps on harping on this issue relentlessly and side stepping important issues that need most immediate and cooperative attention of the law makers in DC. Shut up and focus on the economy and work with the president. Otherwise retire and go home.

    February 23, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  7. Jay

    Lindsey Graham = irrelevant

    February 23, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  8. SillyWabbit

    "Lindsey the Combat Lawyer". How many Purples Hearts do you have again? Any Bronze Starswith combat V? No?? Then, sit down and shut up! You have no idea what it takes to go to combat for this country and you darn sure don't have a clue of what it takes to take care of those who do go to combat for this country. And, I ain't talking about combat support. I'm talking about engaging the enemy in mortal combat. You have ZERO credibility on this issue. Sit down...and turn in the Eagles you so frivously disrespect!

    February 23, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  9. James Klimaski

    I have a hell of a lot more confidence in Hagel than I do in Sen Graham. He is little more then an obstructionist running for reelection. Getting his names in the press is more important then doing what is right for the Country.

    February 23, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  10. askdavey

    over the years i guess he was not doing his job then.....it only took seconds and no research to appoint everyonee else over the past yearss he has been in office, this is the picture of the reason why the GOP has not changed since the election.......anything but work with the adm. on makingg the USA a better place, i still have 3 1/2 years to open a super pac to spend on every obstrucionist that has put fwd thier petty garbage while the country suffers,..... stay tuned for..........the new super pac......... REMOVE OBSTRUCTIONIST FROM CONGRESS SUPER PAC.

    February 23, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  11. cbr

    Sen Graham needs to calm down. For some reason he has made this into a vendetta against Sen. Hagel. Perhaps there is something that he does not want us to know about him. If he keeps the attention on the nomination of Sen. Hagel no one will look at him.

    There is also an issue of being on the news every day. He needs to part of the headlines. It is becoming more and more evident that he has this need to be on Sunday news shows, nightly news programs, etc. The media is helping to fuel this whole scenario. There needs to be a may or yea vote on the nomination and we need to move one. That would include Sen. Graham.

    February 23, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
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