Records indicate that Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.) did not attend a classified hearing that focused on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) due to a fundraiser that was held for her in New York City.
The issue of ISIL has been thrust into the spotlight of the race between Hagan and her Republican opponent, Thom Tillis, who accused Hagan of not doing enough to stop the terrorist group during its rise.
Senate records show that there was one meeting held by the subcommittee, which exists to “counter emerging threats” such as “terrorism,” but it is unclear whether Hagan attended it.
On the morning of Feb. 27, Hagan missed an Armed Services committee hearing that began at 9:36 in the morning.
Later that day, the subcommittee held a closed-door hearing on “current and future worldwide threats” at 2:30 p.m. The meeting was a classified continuation of an open hearing on Feb. 11 that Hagan also did not attend.
The closed hearing was scheduled “to receive responses to questions from the open session on current and future worldwide threats to the national security of the United States that were deferred to a closed session.”
The emergence of ISIL was a central focus on the Feb. 11 hearing, which featured testimony from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn.
Clapper and Flynn were again witnesses for the classified continuation of that hearing on Feb. 27.
Attendance records are not made available for closed-door Senate hearings, but Hagan may have had other plans for the night of Feb. 27.
That night there was cocktail reception fundraiser for Hagan in New York City with tickets going for up to $5,200. It was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
The Feb. 11 open hearing focused on ISIL, and both Clapper and Flynn showed that they were already concerned about its rise, though they provided little detail in their testimony.
“Iraq seems to be facing well-funded militants of al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) “How does the threat of resurgence of al Qaeda affiliates pose for the regional stability there?”
Flynn replied that “it’s an increasing concern that we’re going to have to pay close attention to. Not only inside of Iraq but the whole region.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) asked whether the goal of ISIL “is to drive the United States out of the Middle East and create an Islamic caliphate throughout the region.”
Clapper responded, “yes.”
When pressed by the Tillis campaign on Hagan’s attendance record over the past two years, a spokesperson for Hagan said that she “often had conflicting hearings.”
Hagan’s office did not respond to multiple requests for it to clarify Hagan’s attendance at events on the day.