News / USA

Obama Nominates New Defense, Spy Chiefs

Obama Picks Hagel, Brennan for Pentagon, CIA Postsi
X
January 08, 2013 1:42 AM
President Barack Obama has nominated former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to be U.S. Secretary of Defense, and his counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan to head the Central Intelligence Agency. VOA senior White House Correspondent Dan Robinson reports.
Obama Picks Hagel, Brennan for Pentagon, CIA Posts
President Barack Obama on Monday nominated former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to be his new secretary of defense. Obama also chose counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to head the CIA.  
 
Obama made his choices official in the White House East Room with Hagel and Brennan standing by his side.
 
The president noted that Hagel, a Vietnam War veteran, would be the first person of enlisted military rank to serve as secretary of defense.
 
"He understands that sending young Americans to fight, bleed in the dirt and mud, that is something that we only do when it is absolutely necessary.  My frame of reference, he has said, is geared toward the guy at the bottom who is doing the fighting and the dying," he said. 
 
Chuck Hagel

  • Was chairman of the Atlantic Council public policy group
  • Co-chairman of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board
  • Republican U.S. senator from 1997-2009 representing Nebraska
  • Served in Vietnam in 1968, where he earned two Purple Hearts
  • Born in 1946 in Nebraska
Hagel served two terms as a senator from the Midwestern state of Nebraska.  He gained a reputation as someone who is willing to break with his own party on key issues.
 
Hagel paid tribute to departing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and members of the armed forces.
 
"I am also grateful for an opportunity to help continue to strengthen our country and strengthen our country's alliances and advance global freedom, decency and humanity, as we help build a better world for all mankind," he said. 
 
Hagel has faced sharp criticism from some Republican senators, and pro-Israel groups, who say he has shown hostility toward Israel and weakness on how to deal with Iran.
 
Senate minority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell spoke Sunday on NBC television's "Meet the Press" program. 
 
"I think there will be a lot of tough questions of Senator Hagel.  But he will be treated fairly by Republicans in the Senate," he said. 
 
Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz appeared on the "Fox News Sunday" program.
 
"Hagel's record is very, very troubling on the nation of Israel.  He has not been a friend to Israel.  And in my view, the United States should stand unshakably with the nation of Israel," he said. 
 
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney defended Hagel on Monday. "Senator Hagel has been a staunch supporter of Israel, of the Israeli-American relationship, of U.S. support for Israel's security throughout his career," he said. 
 
Hagel also faced criticism from organizations representing homosexuals, and issued an apology in December for a comment in 1998 that disparaged a gay U.S. diplomat. 
 
John Brennan

  • 2009-present: Assistant to President Obama for homeland security and counterterrorism
  • 2005-2008: President and CEO of The Analysis Corporation
  • 2004-2005: Interim director of the National Counterterrorism Center
  • 2003-2004: Director of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center
  • 2001-2003: CIA deputy executive director
John Brennan's nomination to head the Central Intelligence Agency is expected to be less controversial, although he will face tough questions about the Obama administration's counterterrorism policy.
 
He has been the administration's key spokesman on the use of drones in targeted killings of suspected terrorists, calling them "legal, ethical, wise and highly effective."  
 
"If confirmed as director, I will make it my mission to ensure that the CIA has the tools it needs to keep our nation safe, and that its work always reflects the liberties, the freedoms and the values that we hold so dear," he said. 
 
Brennan would replace Army General David Petraeus, who resigned in November because of an extramarital affair.
 
President Obama called Brennan a tireless worker for national security, saying he would bring extensive experience and insights to the job.
 
"John developed and has overseen our comprehensive counterterrorism strategy - a collaborative effort across the government including intelligence, defense and homeland security, and law enforcement agencies," he said. 
 
Obama said Brennan's work contributed to major successes against al-Qaida that have made it harder to plan attacks against the United States. The president called on the Senate to act as soon as possible on both nominations.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs