Key statements from the Obama nominee's testimony, today
Obama's nominee for secretary of defense jumps into the hotseat Thursday to answer Senate questions as part of his confirmation process in what is basically the longest, most public job interview ever -- except that many of the questions Hagel will have had access to beforehand. The Atlantic managed to obtain a copy of the questions, as well as Hagel's prepared responses, and here we've highlighted the more noteworthy passages. Some are more interesting for the questions than the answers; Hagel gets grilled on cybersecurity in addition to the anticipated sequester, private military contracting, the dangers of allowing foreign companies to invest in U.S. defense, and the recently repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gays in the military. We've underlined the interesting bits in red.
It's important to point out that embassy guards' key job is, a little counterintuitively, not to defend the compound -- it's to help destroy sensitive stuff in an emergency. Hagel may be interested in changing that.
DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL
Hagel bore the brunt of some criticism early on when his left-wing critics brought up his opposition to a gay Clinton-era appointee. Earlier this month, Hagel apologized for those comments, which he made over a dozen years ago. Now he offers a rock-solid commitment to gay and lesbian members of the military.