Defense organization Special Operations for America (SOFA) is “deeply concerned” with the selection of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to succeed Sec. Leon Panetta over Hagel’s past positions on Iran, Hezbollah, and the Iraq troop surge, the group said in a statement released Monday.
“Sen. Hagel’s positions clearly indicate a profound miscalculation of the threat to U.S. National Security and the real and present danger to Israel-our closest ally in the Middle East,” said Ryan Zinke, the group’s chairman.
“Special Operations for America is deeply concerned with President Obama’s nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to serve as Secretary of Defense. The concern is founded on Sen. Hagel’s documented record of ignoring the dangers of the Iranian regime; a regime that continues to expand its military and radical Islamic influence worldwide. Sen. Hagel refused to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, did not support sanctions against an emerging nuclear capable Iran, and did not support the U.S. troop surge in Iraq despite unanimous support from senior military leadership. Sen. Hagel’s positions clearly indicate a profound miscalculation of the threat to U.S. National Security and the real and present danger to Israel-our closest ally in the Middle East. SOFA urges the Senate to fully utilize its responsibility and vet the president’s nomination. In order to maintain American exceptionalism and the strongest military in the world, the Secretary of Defense must understand the difference between an ally and an enemy.”