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WASHINGTON — A Republican senator is threatening to block the nomination of Chuck Hagel to lead the Pentagon unless Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testifies about the deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya.
Sen. Lindsey Graham said in an interview with Fox News' "On the Record" Monday night that he would "absolutely" block the nomination until Panetta explains why the military wasn't called in during the raid.
U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in the attack last September. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified for more than five hours last Wednesday before the House and Senate on the attack in Benghazi.
Graham has been critical of President Barack Obama's choice of former Republican Sen. Hagel.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., appeared http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130129/DEFREG02/301290020/Sen-Levin-Deflates-Sen-Graham-8217-s-Threat-Block-Hagel-Nomination?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE">to pour a bit of cold water on Graham's threat the next day, when he told reporters his panel intends to hold a hearing on the deadly attack in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.
"Well, we're having a hearing on Benghazi anyway," Levin said. "We don't have a date but we've already committed to having it."
Hagel's confirmation hearing before the SASC is Jan. 31.