Last week, Alana Goodman of the Washington Free Beacon discovered a contemporaneous account of a 2007 speech Chuck Hagel gave at Rutgers University. The account, from Hagel supporter George Ajjan, was posted on Ajjan’s website the day after the speech. During the Q&A segment of his appearance, Hagel argued the U.S. State Department had become an adjunct of the Israeli government.
After the Free Beacon’s report, Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte wrote a letter to Hagel asking if Ajjan’s account of the speech was true. Hagel responded that he did not “recall” making the statements Ajjan said he made and that he “disavows” them.
So Ajjan said in 2007, a day after the speech, that Hagel said that the State Department was adjunct of the Israeli government. Hagel says, nearly six years later, that he doesn’t recall. Rutgers has a transcript of the prepared speech but not of the Q&A segment when Hagel supposedly made those remarks.
Hagel made the speech in 2007, when he was still a United States senator. The archive of his papers, speeches, and letters from his 12 years in the Senate are located at his alma mater, the University of Nebraska-Omaha. That archive includes hundreds of audio and video recordings of Hagel appearances as a Senator. There could well be a full transcript or audio or video recording of Hagel’s 2007 Rutgers appearance in that archive.
But Hagel will not request that the university allow the press or the public to examine the archive. Furthermore, Hagel has also not agreed to the release of 2011 speech, despite his having promised full disclosure in his Senate hearing. Why not? And will Republicans yield and allow the Senate to vote while clearly relevant material is being denied to the public--and, for that matter, to senators?