National Security Brief: Former Top U.S. Ambassador Praises Hagel

Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan, offered strong praise for former Republican senator Chuck Hagel in a Wall Street Journal op-ed today and endorsed his potential nomination to be the next Defense Secretary. “Chuck Hagel is a statesman, and America has few of them,” said Crocker, “He knows the leaders of the world and their issues. At a time when bipartisanship is hard to find in Washington, he personifies it. Above all, he has an unbending focus on U.S. national security, from his service in Vietnam decades ago to his current position on the Intelligence Advisory Council.” Crocker, along with 8 other former U.S. ambassadors, signed a letter last month calling Hagel an “impeccable choice” for Defense Secretary.

In other news:

  • The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration has embraced the practice of holding and interrogating terrorism suspects in other countries without due process — also known as rendition.
  • An influential Afghan warlord told the Daily Telegraph that he fears a decent into chaos and anarchy after NATO troops leave Afghanistan, a similar situation that occurred after the Soviet Union withdrew in the late 1980s.
  • The AP reports: Clashes between government troops and rebels on Tuesday forced the international airport in Aleppo to stop all flights in and out of Syria’s largest city, while fierce battles also raged in the suburbs of the capital Damascus. Meanwhile, pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian rebels, some from Islamist units, fired machineguns and mortars at helicopters grounded at a northern military air base near the main Aleppo-Damascus highway on Wednesday.