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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid