Obama nominates Hagel, Brennan to top cabinet defense posts

President Barack Obama has officially named former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel and counterterrorism advisor John Brennan to fill the positions of Secretary of Defense and Director of the Center Intelligence Agency, respectfully.

If confirmed by the Senate, Hagel would replace outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Brennan would replace Acting Director Michael Morell, who assumed the position in November after General David Petraeus’s abrupt resignation over an extramarital affair.

Ironically, the confirmations of Hagel – a “moderate” Republican – and Brennan are expected to be more controversial than that of incumbent Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), who was nominated by Obama to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State last month.

Hagel spent 12 years in the United States Senate, serving on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee alongside Kerry and then-Sen. Obama. Despite voting for the Patriot Act and the Iraq Resolution, Hagel was one of the first Republicans to speak out against the War on Terrorism and in 2007 co-sponsored legislation calling for an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Hagel’s views toward U.S.-Israeli relations are also questionable; in 2007 the then-Senator went so far as to say that the “Jewish lobby intimidated lawmakers.”

“This is an in your face nomination by the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told CNN yesterday. “I don’t know what his management experience is regarding the Pentagon — little, if any, so I think it’s an incredibly controversial choice.”

In nominating Hagel, Obama called him “the leader that our troops deserve” and a “true American patriot.”

“Chuck Hagel’s leadership of our military would be historic,” Obama commented. “He’d be the first person of enlisted rank to serve as Secretary of Defense, one of the few secretaries who have been wounded in war, and the first Vietnam veteran to lead the department.  As I saw during our visits together to Afghanistan and Iraq, in Chuck Hagel our troops see a decorated combat veteran of character and strength.  They see one of their own.”

Since leaving office Hagel has also campaigned for several Democratic politicians, including President Obama (in both elections), 2010 Senate nominee Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) and 2012 Senate nominee – and former colleague – Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.).

Brennan, a New Jersey native, spent 25 years climbing the ranks at the CIA, having served as a daily intelligence briefer for President Bill Clinton, chief of staff to former CIA Director George Tenet, and deputy executive director of the CIA. In 2003 and 2004 Brennan served as the director of the newly-created Terrorist Threat Integration Center; under his watch the center distributed false intelligence to President Bush that helped lead to an “Orange Terror Alert” over Christmas 2003. He also served as the director of the National Counterterrorism Center. He was considered for the job of CIA Director in 2008 but withdrew his name from consideration after questions were raised about his views on waterboarding.

“Today, I can say to the men and women of the CIA:  In Director John Brennan you will have one of your own; a leader who knows you; who cares for you, deeply; and who will fight for you every single day.  And you’ll have a leader who has my complete confidence and my complete trust,” Obama commented.

Comments

Comments

  1. Breanne says:

    At the end of the paragraph it should be “respectively” not “respectfully.”

Jonathan Gruber raps to MIT students

If you’ve been dying to see Jonathan Gruber, who credited the “stupidity of the American voter” with passing Obamacare, strip down to his undershirt and rap about economics, today is your lucky day!

Stewart mocks the Iowa Freedom Summit

Jon Stewart’s coverage of the Iowa Freedom Summit is about what you would expect—starting with his description the event: “A lot of Republicans who will never be president met this weekend,” for the “Fox News correspondent auditions.”

McCain takes on 'Sniper' bashers

Sen. John McCain is the latest person in a position of prominence to defend "American Sniper" from bashers, singling out the "obsessive critics of U.S. foreign policy" in an official statement.

Michael Moore continues on about snipers

Filmmaker Michael Moore has already stirred the pot with his negative comments about military snipers. During the weekend, somebody must've given the man an even bigger ladle.

Dropkick Murphys 'literally hate' Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's abiding love for the Dropkick Murphys is not exactly mutual:

White House

VP Biden appears on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ to get ask young people to sign up for Obamacare
With three weeks to go until the Obamacare deadline to purchase insurance, the Obama administration is pulling out all the stops to encourage young people to sign up.  The renewed push included a stop by Vice President Joe Biden on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Monday so he could appeal to moms who are good at […]
Small drone crashes at White House complex, origin unclear
WASHINGTON (AP) — A small drone flying at low altitude crashed into the White House complex before dawn Monday, the Secret Service said. President Barack Obama was not at home and the White House said it did not pose a security threat. The crash prompted an immediate lockdown of the White House grounds until officials […]
WH chief of staff blurts out previously-concealed name of American hostage on live TV

All in a day's work at the White House: sometimes you keep ISIS hostage names a secret, sometimes you let them slip in an in interview on national TV.

7 Times Obama was ‘Partisan,’ Not ‘Practical’ during his State of the Union address
Near the beginning of his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama promised to be “practical, not partisan” in his proposals to Congress. However, his speech ended up being anything but. From cracking jokes to outright veto threats, it was clear that the president had no interest in bipartisanship. So we decided to […]
Obama has been reminding Republicans ‘I won’ for 2,189 days

President Obama trotted out one of his favorite talking points against Republicans yet again Tuesday night, reminding the opposition party that "I won."

Congress

Boehner and McConnell critique SOTU

“Dead. Real dead.” That was House Speaker John Boehner’s verdict on President Obama’s tax proposals--and nearly every proposal from his State of the Union address, with the exception of cybersecurity, fighting ISIS, trade, and possibly the childcare tax credit.

Senate surpasses its 2014 vote total in a week
Is this what the Senate looks like without Harry Reid in charge? The new Republican-led Senate has already voted on more amendments in just one week than the Democratic-controlled Senate voted on in all of 2014. “We’ve actually reached a milestone here that I think is noteworthy for the Senate. We just cast our 15th roll-call vote […]
Whistleblowers denounce DOJ juvenile program

According to whistleblower reports, a Justice Department (DOJ) juvenile delinquency program provided grants to states jailing foster children and runaways over minor offenses like skipping school.

Gohmert: Obama 'divisive on the issue of race'

There’s a reason reporters clamored around former-House-Speaker-candidate Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) at the State of the Union like this:

Rand Paul slams SOTU’s ‘lack of sincerity’ on NSA

Senator Rand Paul spent Wednesday morning blasting Obama’s State of the Union address, telling a roomful of conservatives at the Capitol Hill Club that “Some of the stuff, frankly, was difficult to even listen to and keep a straight face.”