Democrats and Republicans have both expressed concern over President Obama’s possible selection of former Senator Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense

Hagel has been criticised for his work in pushing forward a US defence policy lobbying organisation that seeks to rid America of its nuclear deterrent.

The former Republican Senator is also known for trying to open channels with Iran and its terrorist proxy in the Gaza Strip, Hamas.

In 2010, Hagel raised eyebrows when he told an audience that his support for Israel is not ‘automatic’ – calling into question the Senator’s reliability towards one of America’s key allies. The Washington Free Beacon reports,

“Hagel has declined to sign multiple letters of support for the Jewish state and has balked when presented with opportunities to condemn Tehran’s efforts to enrich uranium near levels needed to produce a nuclear weapon.”

“It would be a very unwise and disastrous choice for U.S. policies and activities regarding the Middle East,” said Morris Amitay, a former executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

In 2006, Hagel was one of only 12 Senators to abstain from signing a congressional letter asking the European Union to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization – a campaign that continues to this day.

Hagel has been described as the ‘bottom of the class’ choice, and was passed over previously for the position when Defense Secretary Robert Gates stood down.

He co-chairs Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board and was a fierce critic of George W. Bush, describing Iraq as “an absolute replay of Vietnam.”

“The nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense, should it happen, would mark a further, worrying leftward lurch of the Obama administration,” said Frank Gaffney, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration.

“While Hagel used to be a Republican Senator, since he left office he has denounced the party and its leadership, endorsed Democrats for elective office and favors positions on issues from ridding the world of nuclear weapons to distancing the United States from Israel that are far more in tune with the Democrats’ left wing than they are consistent with today’s Republicans—and America’s national security interests,” said Gaffney, the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy.

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