Though secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearings were bruising, thanks to aggressive questioning from Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, it could have been worse. His staunchest critic was absent.
More than anyone else, it is Elliott Abrams who has questioned the former Nebraska senator’s qualifications and character. Abrams twice called Hagel an outright anti-Semite, a smear other neoconservatives hinted at but couldn’t bring themselves to utter. So outrageous was Abrams’ slur that the head of the Council on Foreign Relations, where Abrams is a senior fellow, publicly criticized it.
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