US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Resigning

Monday, November 24th 2014, 9:57 am

By: News 9

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is resigning, CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin has learned, and will leave his position after less than two years at the helm of the Defense Department.

A senior defense official told Martin the resignation is a "mutual decision" between Hagel and President Obama that has been under discussion for the last couple of weeks. Hagel will stay in office until his replacement is confirmed. The president will announce Hagel's resignation at 11:10 a.m. in the State Dining Room.

A senior administration official told CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller that Hagel began discussing his departure with the president in October to coincide with the transitions that would occur after the midterm elections.

Martin reports that he was was fed up with micromanagement from the White House, while the White House was unhappy that Hagel was not a vocal defender of the administration's policies.

His resignation comes as the U.S. is tackling several crises abroad, ranging from the rapid rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the Middle East, to ongoing international talks to curb Iran's nuclear program to the spread of Ebolain West Africa.

In an interview last week, Hagel told CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose that Mr. Obama has faced more trying challenges than any of his predecessors.

"What bothers me the most, concerns me the most is, are we going to be -- our leaders, all of us together -- are we going to be able to get through this time, which is a very defining time and a difficult time," Hagel said when asked about his biggest concerns. "I told the president not too long ago, I don't know of a time that has been more difficult to be president of the United States or lead in this country than right now."

But he also seemed uncertain about his role in that fight. When Rose asked him whether he had the confidence of the president, Hagel responded, "I don't think I'd be here if I didn't. But you'd have to ask him that."

He also said he had not yet begun thinking about his legacy, even though it would later become clear he already had a foot out the door.

"I'm not thinking about that, I'm not worried about it," he said. "Actually I've always just done every job the best I could, as honestly as I could, as straight forwardly as I could. And then I'll let the rest-- they'll sort it out."

Mr. Obama nominated Hagel, a former Republican U.S. senator from Nebraska, in January 2013, to replace retiring Defense Sec. Leon Panetta. He was confirmed in late February 2013 after a contentious set of confirmation hearings.


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