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Panetta: ‘Political knives’ were out for Hagel during hearing

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says he was disappointed in the confirmation hearing for former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), President Obama’s choice to replace Panetta at the Pentagon.


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“It's pretty obvious that the -- political knives were out for -- Chuck Hagel,” Panetta said in a preview clip released late Saturday from an interview on NBC News “Meet the Press” set to air on Sunday.

Panetta said senators spent too much time questioning Hagel about past quotes instead of issues that the secretary of Defense confronts today.



“What about the war on-- in Afghanistan? What about the war on terrorism? What about the budget sequestering, what-- what impact it's gonna have on readiness?” Panetta asked.


“What about Middle East turmoil? What about cyber-attacks? All of the issues that confront a secretary of defense, frankly, those were-- we just did not see enough time spent on discussing those issues.”