Hagel omitted two speeches on Middle East from Senate disclosure forms
(Fox News)—In the supporting documents he turned over to Senate investigators as part of his confirmation process, Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel did not disclose at least two recent speeches on the subject of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Fox News has learned.
Obama administration sources and lawmakers said Hagel was required to declare to the Senate Armed Services Committee any “formal speeches” he had given since the start of January 2008.
That Hagel appears not to have declared the two speeches from 2008 could further jeopardize his nomination with Senate Republicans, who have already threatened to block the nomination because they believe Hagel has not turned over enough financial data.
An Obama administration official who has worked with the former Republican senator during his confirmation process maintained that Hagel has gone “above and beyond” the Senate’s requirements, by supplying the committee whatever evidence he could find — prepared remarks, transcripts and the like — for formal and “informal” speeches.
Apprised by Fox News of the two speaking dates from 2008, however, the official appeared not to have heard about them.
The aide later responded that Hagel did not disclose these two speaking events because neither were formal speeches.
“It’s simply not true to suggest there was any attempt to hide anything,” the aide told Fox News. “One event was at an academic institute – Georgetown, a Jesuit university. The other was with an organization that combats discrimination.”
According to sources close to the nomination battle, Hagel appeared before the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) on June 13, 2008, serving as keynote speaker at the group’s convention that year. The specific session the former two-term Nebraska senator addressed was a fundraising reception for ADC’s political action committee.
Although the contents of Hagel’s speech have not surfaced, the ADC has a history of controversial statements about Israel and of accepting foreign funds.
In July 2006, a writer on ADC’s website identified Hagel as the lone member in Congress “willing to stand up to the Israeli Lobby.”
In the same posting, titled “Facts and Commentary About the Current Conflict Between Israel and Lebanon,” James G. Abourezk said President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “have a lot of blood on their hands for remaining silent and for re-arming Israel which allows the slaughter [of Arabs] to continue.”
A former Democratic senator from South Dakota, Abourezk was the first Arab-American to serve in the Senate.
Records show Hagel also spoke at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies on September 22, 2008. The list of speeches the nominee has given since January 1, 2008 that Hagel submitted to the Armed Services Committee in support of his nomination does not include the ADC or Georgetown events. The contents of Hagel’s speeches at these locations have not surfaced.
h/t: Fox Nation