GOP Senator threatens to block Hagel pick over Libya - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

GOP Senator threatens to block Hagel pick over Libya

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Defense Secretary Nominee Chuck Hagel speaks with a reporter while making the rounds on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning Defense Secretary Nominee Chuck Hagel speaks with a reporter while making the rounds on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning

Chuck Hagel, the likely next secretary of defense, would be the first to enter the Pentagon as a public advocate for sharply reducing the number of U.S. nuclear weapons, possibly without equivalent cuts by Russia.

The former Republican U.S. Senator from Nebraska also supports an international movement called Global Zero that favors eliminating all nuclear weapons in a decades-long step-by-step process.

That puts him outside the orthodoxy embraced by many of his fellow Republicans but inside a widening circle of national security thinkers -- including President Barack Obama -- who believe nuclear weapons have become less relevant to 21st century security threats like terrorism.

Hagel's views on nuclear arms reductions are expected to be probed by fellow Republicans during his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a Republican senator is threatening to block Hagel's nomination to lead the Pentagon unless Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testifies about the deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said in an interview with Fox News' "On the Record" Monday night that he would "absolutely" block the nomination until Panetta explains why the military wasn't called in during the raid.

U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in the attack last September. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified for more than five hours last Wednesday before the House and Senate on the attack in Benghazi.

Graham has been critical of President Barack Obama's choice of former Republican Sen. Hagel.

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