Tags: hagel | obama | security | job

Former Republican Sen. Hagel Under Consideration for Top National Security Job

Thursday, 29 Nov 2012 11:40 AM

By Stephen Feller

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Former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is being vetted by the Obama administration to possibly take over one of several top national security positions.

The Nebraskan has been mentioned to take over at the Department of Defense or at the State Department, reported Foreign Policy.

Hagel has stayed involved in politics since leaving the Senate, often weighing in on issues publicly and as co-chair of Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board.

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Though he turned down several positions when Obama took office, including director of national intelligence and secretary of homeland security, Hagel has been a close advisor to the president since the 2008 campaign and continues to speak with him regularly.

"Hagel has been feeding tough-love messages to Obama for some time on the Middle East, on Russia, on China, on the design and missions of the armed forces and the intelligence ecosystem surrounding them," said Washington-based reporter and former Senate staffer Steve Clemons.

"He is not a yes man," Clemons added. "[Obama and Hagel] have maintained a disciplined, honest relationship about real issues. Picking Hagel means Obama is not going to sit on his laurels for round two of his presidency."

Since Obama’s election, Hagel has been publicly supportive of his foreign policy decisions. Previously, he was fiercely critical of some of President George W. Bush’s moves, calling the invasion of Iraq “an absolute replay of Vietnam.”

Although Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she would not serve more than four years in that position, she told the Wall Street Journal in October that she may stay on beyond January until her successor is chosen. The two names mentioned most often to take her place are Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and UN Ambassador Susan Rice.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has made no indication that he would leave the post, telling the American Forces Press Service that “it’s no secret that at some point I’d like to get back to [my home in] California.”

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He said in the early November interview that there were several issues he’d like to continue working on, but even when those are resolved he wasn’t sure what he’d do.

“Who the hell knows?” Panetta said. “My experience in Washington is you’d better do this day to day.”

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