Sen. Schumer backs Hagel for Defense secretary


US Senator Charles Schumer speaks during a news conference to announce 'a major wireless industry agreement to combat cell phone theft and related crimes' April 10, 2012 in Washington, DC.


Alex Wong

Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel got a key endorsement today from Senator Charles Schumer.

"Based on several key assurances provided by Senator Hagel, I am currently prepared to vote for his confirmation," the New York Democrat wrote in a public statement. "I encourage my Senate colleagues who have shared my previous concerns to also support him."

Schumer had declined to endorse Hagel at first, but said he was convinced after a 90-minute meeting Monday, USA Today reported.

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Schumer added that he did have "genuine concerns over certain aspects of his record on Israel and Iran,"  the Wall Street Journal reported. But Schumer addressed those concerns with Hagel in yesterday's meaning, and found that Hagel was sincere. 

“In our conversation, Senator Hagel made a crystal-clear promise that he would do ‘whatever it takes’ to stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons, including the use of military force," Schumer wrote in his statement, according to the Washington Post

Schumer and Israel advocacy groups had previously expressed concerns over Hagel's stance on Iran and Israel, particularly Hagel's past suggestions that a military strike against Iran would be counterproductive, the New York Times reported