Hagel pushes back against his predecessors’ Syria criticism

"Mr. President, this Congress has a hard time agreeing as to what the time of day is," Panetta said.

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Hagel pushed back against the candid and critical comments from Obama’s former Defense chiefs, saying he supported the president’s decisions on Syria.

“I have the greatest respect for Secretaries Panetta and Gates. They obviously have every right to their opinions on every issue, and if they feel it appropriate, they have every right to express those views,” Hagel said when asked about the comments at a Pentagon press conference.

“Obviously, I don't agree with their perspectives” he said. "And I, again, understand what they're saying. But as I have said a number of times in the last two weeks on Capitol Hill, I was part of the decision and the process that led up to the president's decision. I support those decisions.”

Hagel said that he had no problem the two former secretaries expressing their opinions as private citizens.