Did Hagel say members were intimidated?
If he said it, he should own it.
If he said it, he certainly should have been prepared for the question. He wasn't.
Being wholly unprepared for a Senate Hearing is indeed a "no-win situation".
Hagel has the Democrats on his side right now, but they are as intimidated by AIPAC as the Republicans. Answering this question honestly would have caused them to abandon him. The object of the game is to get confirmed, not make headlines in every major newspaper in the nation.
That is STANDARD FAIR for Congress. It is a bipartisan habit. It sucks. It is completely predictable. Hagel was just bad. The answer is "that statement is taken out of context, Senator. You know that. It is not indicative of my feelings on the matter. Provide my quote in context, or we can move on."
Hagel did tell Cruz he wanted to hear the whole unedited videos and all the statements in context, but Cruz refused to provide them. Keep in mind that the videos are from Cruz' own youtube account so he's the responsible for the dishonest editing. I understand what you're talking about, but I think what Cruz did was particularly egregious, more befitting a radio talkshow host than a Senator. I've never seen anyone in Congress take it that far. In the future, I can imagine that nominees will just refuse to answer any of Cruz' questions if he's going to employ this tactic.