Sen. Chuck Schumer is giving his backing to President Barack Obama's choice to be defense secretary, former Sen. Chuck Hagel -- a nominee who raised red flags with strong supporters of Israel such as the New York Democrat.

"When Senator Hagel’s name first surfaced as a potential nominee for Secretary of Defense, I had genuine concerns over certain aspects of his record on Israel and Iran," Schumer said in a statement Tuesday, a day after meeting with Hagel for an hour and a half at the White House in a private session to hash out Schumer's concerns.