Hagel Doesn’t Recall, Disavows 2007 Israel Comment

Graham: 'I'll just take him at his word, unless something new comes along'


Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel said he does not recall making and disavowed a reported 2007 comment about U.S. State Department being controlled by Israel in a letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.).

"I got a letter back from Sen. Hagel, in response to my question, Did you say that and do you believe that," Graham said in an interview with "Fox News Sunday." "The letter says he did not recall saying that, he disavows that statement."

Asked if that response is satisfactory, Graham said he will "take him at his word, unless something new comes along."

Graham, joined by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.), penned a letter to Hagel Friday about the comment, which was first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.

In a contemporaneous account of Hagel's 2007 appearance at Rutgers University, Hagel is described by a supporter as saying the State Department is now an adjunct to the Israeli Foreign Minister's office.

The organizer of the event, Hooshang Amirahmadi, called that report of Hagel's comment "nonsense" in an interview with the Free Beacon Friday.