Since leaving office, Hagel has served as co-chairman of Obama’s intelligence advisory board. Hagel has advised the president to open talks with Hamas, the armed Palestinian movement that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist. He also has complained about the influence that Israel’s supporters exert on members of Congress, telling writer Aaron David Miller in an interview for his 2008 book that “the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.”
“If Hagel is nominated, it is very difficult to imagine a circumstance in which I could support his nomination,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said on “Fox News Sunday.”
But Hagel has many supporters, including former ambassadors, senators and secretaries of state who value his experience and independence.
A network of supporters has rallied in recent weeks to defend Hagel’s record as the criticism has grown. The supporters also said privately that they expect him to receive strong public backing from many Republicans and Democrats alike once the nomination is official.