Graham Threatens to Hold Up Hagel Nomination

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is threatening to delay former Senator Chuck Hagel’s nomination to become the next Defense Secretary until sitting SECDEF Leon Panetta testifies on the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead, including the US ambassador to Libya. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “got away with murder,” Graham told Fox News on Jan. 28, vowing that he “will not vote on a new Secretary of Defense” until Panetta “testifies about what happened in Benghazi.” Graham reiterated that stance at his Twitter website on Tuesday. Hagel’s confirmation hearing is scheduled for Thursday morning before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It’s very important the confirmation process moves forward,” said Pentagon spokesman George Little during a Jan. 29 press briefing. “We hope [Hagel] is confirmed soon,” he added. Panetta “has indicated he will stay on until Senator Hagel is confirmed,” noted Little. SASC Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said plans are already in the works to have Panetta testify on the Benghazi attacks, reported The Hill on Tuesday. (Little transcript)