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December 25, 2012 1:46 pm

Obama Considers Others for Defense Secretary After Hagel Controversy

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Former senator Chuck Hagel in Iraq. Photo: Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq.

U.S. President Barack Obama is considering several other candidates for the post of defense secretary after his administration received heavy criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike for considering former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel for the role, National Journal reported.

Hagel currently chairs the Atlantic Council think tank, which this month published a column titled “Israel’s Apartheid Policy,” and has made controversial comments about Israel—such as “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people,” which he was quoted as saying in 2008. He has also come under fire for his remarks about homosexuals. While in the senate, Hagel voted several times against U.S. sanctions on Iran and signed a March 2009 letter urging Obama to directly negotiate with Hamas.

A senior Obama administration official said Obama is now considering other defense secretary candidates including Michèle Flournoy, who was undersecretary of defense for policy in the president’s first term, and current deputy defense secretary Ashton Carter, according to National Journal.

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