As candidate, Hagel supported de-funding Radio Free Europe

Supported shuttering RFE, Radio Marti, Radio Free Asia in 1996 Senate race
Hagel's 1996 Senate victory / AP

Hagel's 1996 Senate victory / AP


Secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel sought to eradicate U.S. funding for pro-democracy broadcasts across the globe during his tenure in the Senate, according to a candidate questionnaire from his 1996 race against then-Nebraska Gov. Ben Nelson (D).

Asked if the U.S. should “continue funding for Radio Free Europe [RFE] and Radio Liberty [RL],” the pro-democracy networks that helped reshape the world, Hagel replied, “No.”

Asked if the U.S. should “continue funding for Radio Marti and TV Marti,” the U.S.’s voice of freedom in Cuba, Hagel replied, “No.”

When asked if the U.S. should “continue funding for Radio Free Asia [RFA],” a station that brings “free press to closed societies,” Hagel replied, “No.”

Additionally, Hagel indicated that that “U.S. troops should never serve under U.N. command,” which would appear to include peace keeping missions aimed at fostering stability in the world.

Hagel’s answers suggest that he did not want the U.S. to be an agent for promoting democratic values across the globe. His answers could indicate that he would seek to dampen U.S. influence should he become the Pentagon’s top leader.

Hagel has sought to eradicate the U.S. nuclear arsenal and boost U.S. engagement with Iran since leaving the Senate in 2009.