Al Kamen, the politically wired Washington Post journalist, is reporting today that former Senator Chuck Hagel is positioned to assume high positions in the Obama administration (he, a Republican In Name Only, supported Barack Obama during the campaign; this is his payback and there seems more to come):
Former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel (R), a senior administration official-in-waiting either later this term or in President Obama's second term (if there is one), is taking another step into Obama's national security team. We're hearing Hagel is in line to co-chair the important President's Intelligence Advisory Board (formerly known as the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board).
Hagel, who is a longtime pal of Vice President Biden and who toured Iraq and Afghanistan with Obama during the campaign, already has been named to replace former House speaker Newt Gingrich on the Defense Policy Board, run by former deputy secretary of Defense John Hamre. The 16 members of the nonpartisan intelligence board, all unpaid, resigned during the transition so a new board could be appointed by Obama.
The board, which usually acts in secrecy, is given access to key intelligence information and is charged with giving the president an objective analysis of the quality of that information.
Last year, I wrote about the anti-Israel credentials of Chuck Hagel, and the probability that he would be tapped by Obama for an important role on his team should Obama win the White House. Supporters of the America-Israel relationship should be concerned. Hagel has a long record of trying to weaken that friendship and has cast aspersions on Americans who support such a relationship.
One more point of concern: Chairing an Intelligence Board places him in a position to influence the information coming to Obama and the conclusions and recommendations to be drawn from that intelligence. Similar concerns were expressed when Chas Freeman was tapped to become Chairman of the National Intelligence Council earlier in the year. The fact that the board meets secretly and that Hagel will, in turn, meet privately with the President, are reasons to have some qualms regarding the type of perspective and spin Senator Hagel would be inclined to apply to the type of intelligence he shares with the president.