Panetta says politics at play in Hagel questioning

  • Associated Press
  • February 2, 2013 - 8:04 PM

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says "the political knives" came out when former Sen. Chuck Hagel appeared before a Senate committee for a confirmation hearing.

Republicans on the Armed Services Committee grilled Hagel about his views on Iran and Israel and other issues.

In discussing the nomination of Hagel, Panetta tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that he is disappointed that the questions Hagel received at the hearing Thursday focused so much on what Hagel has said in the past instead of what he thinks about today's issues.

Panetta says the committee didn't spend enough time discussing such matters as the war in Afghanistan, the war on terrorism, and looming automatic budget cuts and their impact on military readiness.

The Panetta interview airs Sunday on "Meet the Press."

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