Senate panel OKs full vote on Hagel nomination

Senate panel OKs full vote on Hagel nomination
# 13 February 2013 05:02 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. A US Senate panel has approved former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, an outspoken critic of Israel, as the next secretary of defense, APA reports quoting Press TV.

On Tuesday, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 14 to 11 in favor of President Barack Obama's nominee for the post.

Democrats largely praised the 66-year-old as the ideal civilian successor to Leon Panetta, who has been the secretary of defense since July 1, 2011.

Many Democrats emphasized the right of President Obama to choose members of his cabinet, despite serious objections from pro-Israeli lawmakers.

"As much as some people in this room don't like it, he was elected president of the United States by the American people and he has selected an honorable veteran, a Republican, who has served this country in various capacities," Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill said.

The full Senate is likely to take up the nomination of Hagel this week, but some Republicans have threatened to block a vote.

In a 2008 interview, Hagel noted that he had never signed any of the letters by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) aimed at showing support for Israel or taking stances against Israel’s enemies.

“I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator,” he reiterated.

Many in the lobby have reportedly reacted with alarm to reports of Hagel’s nomination as he is known as a fierce critic of the Zionist lobby in the US.

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