Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel jokingly asked a questioner at the University of Nebraska Wednesday whether he was a member of the Taliban, before finding out the Indian gentleman was a college professor.
According to BuzzFeed, Hagel had previously answered a question on Afghanistan and negotiating with the Taliban.
The Pentagon issued a statement stating, “Absolutely no slight toward any individual in the audience was intended. That’s the last thing the Secretary would do under any circumstance, in this or any other setting. He didn’t know who would be called next to pose a question.”
That last sentence is belied by the fact that Hagel appeared to call on the man, Robin A. Gandhi, himself.
According to his online biography, Gandhi is an Assistant Professor of Information Assurance in the School of Interdisciplinary Informatics, College of Information Science and Technology at Nebraska.