Key lawmakers 'satisfied' Hagee did nothing wrong
ARLINGTON, Va. — The top two leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee “are satisfied” that the U.S. Marine Corps’ next leader did nothing wrong and do not plan to pursue the issue any further, officials said Friday.
Lt. Gen. Michael Hagee, who becomes the Corps’ 33rd commandant on Monday, said he had stopped wearing three ribbons because his official service record does not contain documentation to sanction them. Hagee has said he is confident he has earned the right to wear the ribbons, and removed the ribbons until the documents are found.
The 58-year-old general met Friday in person with Sen. John Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He met Thursday with committee staffers working for Warner and for Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the committee’s ranking Democrat and former chairman.
“Sen. Levin and I have reviewed the facts regarding the questions which have arisen about Gen. Hagee’s military awards. We are satisfied that the appropriate and responsible steps have been taken by Gen. Hagee,” reads the single statement to come out of Warner’s office.
Hagee’s Thursday meeting was with two committee staffers who are both lawyers, but work on the personnel subcommittee and handle nominations and promotions.
“We reviewed the facts and saw the transcript of the media conference Gen. Hagee held [on Tuesday], and we pretty much covered the same ground,” said Dick Walsh, Warner’s aide. “We understood the sequence of events and the circumstances that led up to his decision to remove the awards.”
The news conference transcript, a copy of Hagee’s service record, and a statement put out by the Marine Corps were the documentation provided to Walsh and his counterpart, Gary Leeling, Levin’s aide.
“There is no lingering doubt to this issue,” Walsh said. “We are satisfied with all of the facts and that Gen. Hagee is doing what he should be doing.”
The two leading senators would not speak about the issue beyond their bipartisan statement, aides said.
“We are happy we were able to answer all the questions the members of the sSenate might have in regards to this matter,” Corps spokesman Capt. Stewart Upton said.