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

    Just another useless tool from the useless conservative toolbox.

    February 22, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  2. Former Republican, now an Independent

    This is all another GOP smokescreen. The only reason Graham and McCain are apposing Hagel is the fact that in 2008 Hagel publicly said Obama was a better candidate for president than McCain.

    February 22, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  3. MaryM

    lol at Graham. Hagel already has the votes necessary to be confirmed

    February 22, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  4. John in Brooklyn

    Feh! This coming from the same man who served as the lead prosecutor in the Bill Clinton impeachment trial. He has no desire to find out the truth about anything or anyone....Graham is simply a sad, angry vestige of the conservative, white, male, Southern block that never saw a civil right or social issue that they couldn't hate.

    February 22, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  5. Randy, San Francisco

    Sen Graham opposes the Hagel nomination not out of love for his country but because he wants to blunt Tea Party opposition to his re-election.

    February 22, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  6. Evergreen

    Graham grandstanding most play well with his hometown folks. Mr. Hagel was their colleague in the Senate for two terms and a member of Mr. Graham's party. He should already know how Mr. Hagel voted during his time in the Senate..

    February 22, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  7. yanni

    If Hagle was that radical how they accept him in the Republican Party and make him a senator for 12 years (full 2 terms)? I think the RP is feeling the heat from AIPAC . It make sense the water boy is in Israel.

    February 22, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  8. Evergreen

    Aren't there congressional records kept by Congress that Mr. Graham can review?

    February 22, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  9. Thomas

    "The F-35 is a huge problem because of its growing, already unaffordable, cost and its gigantically disappointing performance," the group's Winslow Wheeler said. "That performance would be unacceptable even if the aircraft met its far-too-modest requirements, but it is not."
    The F-35 is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program at a total estimated cost of nearly $400 billion. The Pentagon envisions buying more than 2,400 F-35s, but some members of Congress are balking at the price tag.

    Thanks to politicians such as Lindsey Graham , America was sold a DUD fighter jet .

    February 22, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  10. Luke Brown

    running for reelection. Explains all.

    February 22, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  11. Thomas

    Cue Republican war hawks like Sen. Lindsey Graham. Appearing on Fox News Sunday over the weekend, Graham said that, in order to avoid the looming sequester budget cuts that would, he said, "destroy" the military , we should instead eliminate healthcare to the 30 million Americans who are covered under Obamacare.
    Instead of taking healthcare away from millions of Americans, lawmakers in Washington should kill the zombie of the F-35.

    It's time for Graham and McCain to retire !

    February 22, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  12. KC Yankee

    I feel safer knowing that this genius is watching out for our interests.

    February 22, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  13. Sam

    Graham is up for election in 2014 and he is going to lose. Thus he is doing everything possible to win votes from the Tea Party. Graham is a loser in politics and is fighting for his life, but in doing so, is taking everyone down with him. Of course, senile McCain will support him. Graham and McCain are traitors to the Republicans and to the voters.

    February 22, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  14. Sam

    Graham is just throwing out accusations against Hagel and expecting him to reply to all of Graham LIES. Graham is a traitor to this state and the nation.

    February 22, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  15. Tom R

    Good for you Senator Graham. You're assesment of Mr. Hagels qualifications, or lack thereof appear to be on the mark.
    I only wish more of your fellow Senators had the guts to stand up with you on this most important appointment.

    February 22, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  16. Martha in CF

    Give it up Graham. It is getting old!!!!!!!!!

    February 22, 2013 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  17. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Senator Graham, you are just a sad, pitiful and little man ... enough already ... you're lack of decency has been fully displayed and you've more than amply proven your desperate need to be re-elected.

    February 22, 2013 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  18. Donna

    Anybody occupying such a sensitive position needs to be thoroughyl vetted. His archives should be open to review just like anything else. If he doesn't want to be open and honest with Congress, then he can take a hike. It seems the left only wants transparency from their opponents while offering none of their own. Par for the course.

    February 22, 2013 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  19. gary

    You look really riled up Lindsay. Are you and John McCain doing a tag team and he is resting for now. I have a good idea for you both. If you want to be Comander and Chief of all theses things why don't you run for president? Wait. Maybe you should ask John how that worked for him.

    February 23, 2013 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  20. Larry L

    I would dearly love to have a situation where I could explain to Lindsey Graham how I feel about his cheesy, right-wing, extremist, anti-American, political performance – in my real words and not censored. It would be good for both of us.

    February 23, 2013 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  21. Deb in MT

    Oh, give it up already Lindsey! The grownups are getting ready to confirm Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, and your continuing hysteria over the man is just getting downright embarrassing.

    February 23, 2013 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  22. enuff

    I demand to see Graham's legislative archives because ad an employer/voter of Graham, I believe I should have all accessto them before I decide to terminate him from his elected position.

    February 23, 2013 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  23. bobden

    How would Graham know who would or would not be qualified to be Sec of Defence?

    February 23, 2013 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  24. craig

    If he's really worried about public confidence, he should approve Hegel and then start working on his own party, since the American People have NO confidence whatsoever in the GOP! I am so tired of these idiots wasting all their time and doing none of the People's Work for which they were hired.

    February 23, 2013 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  25. Bigdog29102

    Mr. Graham needs to shut the heck up and try to help work on the more pressing problems this country is face with, if he continue this independent from SC will vote for another canidiate when Mr. Graham is up for re-election.

    February 23, 2013 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
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