The Senate Armed Services Committee is conducting a confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel.
9:43 a.m. -- Now comes one of Hagel's opponents: Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okl., top Republican on the Armed Services Committee.
Inhofe complains that Hagel did not supply enough background information to the committee.
9:32 a.m. -- Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, gavels the hearing open.
lauds Hagel's qualifications during an opening statement, citing his
years as Vietnam veteran and U.S. senator from Nebraska.
cites some of the protests against Hagel's nomination -- on the issues
of Iran, Israel -- Levin is a sure vote for confirmation, and a key ally
The committee chairman also discusses one of the next
defense secretary's major tasks: Completing the withdrawal of U.S.
forces from Afghanistan.
Other issues, Levin says: Syria, North
Korea, the Arab Spring, the growth of al Qaeda terrorists in African --
and the prospect of major Pentagon cuts in the months ahead.
9:30 a.m. -- Hagel appears in the hearing room; we're just about ready.
he makes his way around the room, Hagel hugs former Senate colleague
and fellow Vietnam veteran Max Cleland, a major supporter.
former senator from Nebraska, Hagel is expected to take tough questions
from Republicans about his attitude toward Israel and Iran's nuclear