Obama nominates Chuck Hagel, former Republican senator from Nebraska and decorated Vietnam veteran, to succeed Leon Panetta who retires as Defense Secretary, and presidential terrorism adviser John Brennan as Director of the CIA. Hagel’s confirmation faces a fight for endorsement in Congress over his views on Israel and Iran. Critics focus on his calls for direct negotiations with the Palestinian extremist Hamas, his votes against some Iran sanctions and opposition to military option against a nuclear Iran, which they say is out of step with mainstream foreign policy. Hagel also once said that the Jewish lobby was “intimidating.”

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