President Obama Nominates Chuck Hagel, John Brennan - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

President Obama Nominates Chuck Hagel, John Brennan

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President Barack Obama says Chuck Hagel, his choice as the new secretary of defense, is "the leader that our troops deserve."

Obama formally announced his choice of Hagel in the White House East Room on Monday even as critics questioned the pick over issues including Hagel's views on Israel and Iran.

Facing a potentially tough fight to get Hagel confirmed by the Senate, Obama praised the former Nebraska senator's independence and bipartisan approach, and said that Hagel, a Vietnam veteran, understands war is not an abstraction.

Hagel, a moderate Republican, has the support of some of his former Senate colleagues but is drawing opposition from others who accuse him of being soft on Iran and insufficiently supportive of Israel.  

President Obama also tapped White House homeland security adviser John Brennan as his nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

Obama on Monday appeared with Brennan in the East Room of the White House to name him as his pick to succeed former CIA chief David Petraeus, who resigned in November after admitting to an affair with his biographer.

Brennan is a 25-year veteran of the CIA and among Obama's closest advisers. Obama called him a friend.

The president praised Brennan as one of the most skilled and respected intelligence professionals. Obama says Brennan and former Sen. Chuck Hagel, whom the president nominated to lead the Pentagon at the same event, understand that "the work of protecting our nation is never done."

Brennan's post requires Senate confirmation. (AP)

After President Obama nominated former Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) issued this statement:

"I have great respect for Senator Hagel's service to this country during the Vietnam War and am thankful to him for risking his life in the defense of freedom. I do have concerns about Senator Hagel's nomination, specifically regarding his views on Israel and Iran. I look forward to hearing Senator Hagel expand on and explain my and my fellow Senators' concerns during the confirmation process," said Senator Dean Heller.

Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued the following statement:

"I applaud President Obama for his thoughtful choices to head the Pentagon and the CIA. I've worked extensively with these two nominees and have always found them to be men of integrity and dedication. Both will be effective leaders in the positions to which they have been nominated.

"Senator Hagel has a deep understanding of the national security establishment, which grew out of his experiences as a decorated war veteran, a former member of the Senate's Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees, and a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Few nominees have such a combination of strategic and personal knowledge of our national defense needs.

"John Brennan's current role as a top national security adviser to the President, and his 25 years of service at the CIA, make him a very qualified candidate for a job vital to our national security. He has been part of a team that in recent years successfully rolled back terrorist threats to America and its allies, such as the operation that eliminated Osama bin Laden.

"I trust that all Senators will give these two men a fair and constructive confirmation process. The Senate takes seriously its role in advice and consent and I expect that this body will live up to this tradition and responsibility."

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