What does Chuck Hagel have to do with Benghazi?

I wish someone would explain to me what someone who was not even a government official at the time has to do with Benghazi?  Is Chuck Hagel just leverage?  Believe me, the Obama Administration could show live action footage of the event as it unfolded and the Republicans still wouldn’t be happy.

According to Politico

One Armed Services Committee member, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey  Graham, has made clear that he considers Benghazi and Hagel to be one issue —“no confirmation without information,” he said Sunday, threatening to block both  Hagel and CIA nominee John Brennan. Graham is demanding more details from the  administration about its response to the Benghazi attacks, particularly the  direct involvement of President Barack Obama.

And then you have James Inhofe.  Again from Politico

A spokeswoman for Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) confirmed to POLITICO that he wanted  to drag out the confirmation process for the former Republican senator from  Nebraska.

Inhofe’s threat continued GOP brinksmanship that got under way on Sunday when  Republican aides first said that some senators might walk out of a meeting that  included a vote on Hagel. Inhofe and another top Republican on the committee,  Sen. John McCain of Arizona, both said Monday they would not walk out, but  Inhofe repeated his vow to press the battle against Hagel.

It appears very much as if the Republicans have forgotten that they are a minority in the Senate.  If Chair Senator Carl Levin calls for a committee vote, it will be along party lines which he didn’t want.  But I don’t think there will be any bipartisan agreement there.  According to the New York Times, Levin

…called Monday for a committee vote on Tuesday afternoon on the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense.

The committee action has been postponed for the past week over evolving demands from Republicans for new documentation on Mr. Hagel’s past statements, personal financial records and even a sexual harassment allegation involving two former staff members, but not Mr. Hagel himself. As action has drawn closer, Republican opponents to a former Senate Republican colleague have threatened filibusters and even a walkout from the committee.

Once Hagel’s nomination reaches the floor, vote counters believe that there will be 60 votes to break any attempt at a filibuster.  Maybe Majority Leader Reid need to reconsider his agreement with Senator McConnell since I don’t think it is going to work.

But Mr. Levin’s decision to call for a public discussion and vote, starting at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday ahead of President Obama‘s State of the Union address, indicated that the chairman still believes that Mr. Hagel has enough support to be confirmed. Committee aides say they have no indication that any Democrats or Senate independents will oppose him, putting him at 55 votes to start. Two Republican senators, Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Mike Johanns from Mr. Hagel’s home state, Nebraska, have pledged their support, and at least four Republicans have said they will oppose a filibuster.

And I still want to know what Chuck Hagel has to do with Benghazi, Senator Graham.  I think we all know that this really has to do with the fact that Hagel is not a war hawk and will figure out a way to cut the defense budget.

Photograph Brendan Hoffman for The New York Times

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