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The release of a videotaped speech delivered by embattled secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel at Cameron University in 2011 is contingent upon the former Nebraska senator’s written consent, according to university officials.
Hagel had promised lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) that he would release detailed information about every speech he had delivered over the past several years, and that he would “make every effort” to make such speeches available for review.
However, Hagel has not released the video of an October 20, 2011, address he delivered at Cameron University in Oklahoma. This is just one of several speeches that Hagel has failed to turn over to the committee.
University officials said the 2011 tape could be released if Hagel and the Washington Speaker’s Bureau (WSB), Hagel’s booking agency, provide written consent.
“I’m certainly sure if consent was given the video could be found,” Josh Lehman, Cameron University’ senior director of public affairs, said Wednesday when contacted about releasing the speech.
Release of the video is contingent on written consent from Hagel and WSB due to a contract that was signed between the speaker’s bureau the university, Lehman said.
“Per the wording of the contract the video is for archival purposes only,” he said. “Any other use than archival” purposes would require consent.
The video is currently located in an easily accessible archive, Lehman explained.
“Just have them send [the relevant consent information] and we’d go from there,” he said.
Hagel told senators during his confirmation hearing that the decision to release such speeches was not at his discretion. “On paid speeches, most everyone of those paid speeches, in the contract it says that they are private and not videotaped. That wasn’t my decision. That was the contract of the group I spoke to.”
A Hagel spokesperson and the WSB did not respond to multiple requests for comment about whether they would consent to release the video.
Hagel had promised SASC full disclosure during his testimony last month.
“I will commit to [release all speeches] and every request as we have, as I said, some of this I didn’t see until yesterday,” Hagel told SASC Chairman Carl Levin (D., Mich.) during his testimony before the committee. “But everything that is out there that we can find we’ll make every effort to get it and provide it.”
Questions continue to swirl around controversial comments that Hagel made during several speeches he either did not disclose or for which he did not provide recordings or transcripts.
Reporters also have been denied access to a large archive of Hagel-related material located at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
The Weekly Standard reported Wednesday that one of their reporters was refused access to the Hagel archive despite multiple discussions with university officials, who told a reporter that access to the archive could only be granted with Hagel’s approval.
“The  agreement … signed between the university and former senator precludes anyone from looking at the archives until they are complete,” the Standard reported.
University officials also declined to show the Standard the copy of the agreement Hagel signed with the university.
An Obama administration official maintained that Hagel has been completely transparent despite reports otherwise.
“Chuck Hagel’s record in the Senate is well documented in the public domain,” said Marie Harf, a White House spokeswoman who is working on Hagel’s nomination. “Given his extraordinary disclosures to date, which surpass the threshold applied to nominees, there is no need to make this archived material public.”
Sources on Capitol Hill continue to maintain that Hagel has not been forthright with lawmakers.
“Chuck Hagel knows that the more information that gets disclosed, the more people will learn how anti-Israel his fringe views really are,” said one senior Senate aide close to the confirmation process.
“Every day we learn more and more based on undisclosed information that researchers are digging up,” the source said.
The Washington Free Beacon reported last week that “Hagel said the U.S. Department of State was an adjunct of the Israeli foreign minister’s office,” according to a contemporaneous report of the 2007 event at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Additionally, the Free Beacon reported Tuesday that Hagel said Israel is at risk of becoming an apartheid state during an April 9, 2010 appearance at Rutgers.
Hagel reportedly cried while apologizing for some of his past comments during a meeting with Jewish Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.).