November 15th, 2012
03:32 PM ET
2 years ago

McCain skips Benghazi briefing, gets testy when questioned by CNN

(CNN) - Most of the Republican members of a Senate committee investigating the terrorist attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, skipped a classified briefing by administration officials on the incident Wednesday, CNN has learned.

The missing lawmakers included Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who at the time of the top-secret briefing held a press conference in the Capitol to call for the creation of a Watergate-type special Congressional committee to investigate how and why the attack took place.

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McCain, who has accused President Barack Obama of not telling the truth about the Benghazi attack, said that even though there are several committees involved in the probe, only a select committee could streamline the information flow and resolve the "many unanswered questions" about the tragedy.

When CNN approached McCain in a Capitol hallway Thursday morning, the senator refused to comment about why he missed the briefing, which was conducted by top diplomatic, military and counter-terrorism officials. Instead, McCain got testy when pressed to say why he wasn't there.

"I have no comment about my schedule and I'm not going to comment on how I spend my time to the media," McCain said.

Asked why he wouldn't comment, McCain grew agitated: "Because I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?”

When CNN noted that McCain had missed a key meeting on a subject the senator has been intensely upset about, McCain said, "I'm upset that you keep badgering me."

While McCain refused to shed light on why he didn't show, his spokesman Brian Rogers emailed CNN a short time later with an explanation. He blamed it on a "scheduling error" but wouldn't provide any more detail.

According to a Democratic aide on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, only three of the eight GOP members of the committee attended the two hour briefing that ran from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. By contrast, seven of the nine Democratic members were there.

McCain's press conference took place at noon.

McCain did spend several hours in a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing on Benghazi Thursday, and plans to attend the panel's closed-door session on Friday with former CIA Director David Petraeus.


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (584 Responses)
  1. Strategic Bob

    it would appear that the Republican members of the committee are not interested in learning about what actually happened. real information might limit their ability to misuse this tragedy for their own selfish purposes. as always, truth has a liberal bias.

    November 15, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. doug

    This man has become seriously unhinged. I would be concerned about his mental health. I'm concerned if he has a security clearance. He should really take some time off. His time as an effective Senator is over.

    November 15, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. Cap'n Rita

    John, you are losing it. I think there should be an investigation into why you weren't at the briefing. It shows you have a disinclination to be burdened by the facts and only wish to continue your hate-filled path against the current administration. This isn't 2008! If you had "been at the meeting" you may have spared yourself this embarrassment. Between you and Romney, the whining just never stops.

    November 15, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. Yonni

    May be McCain is afraid to learn the truth and that might force him to stop tooting his outrage on every available media. I think he may have served his country well in the past but it is time the old man needs to retire. Senator McCain has lost his bearing way back in 2008 when he chose Palin as his running mate.

    November 15, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Bill from GA

    Yeah, 'testy' is about all he gets these days.

    (Take that comment at least 2 ways.)

    November 15, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. Judy Arnold

    Please don't confuse his already made up mind with facts and information! How dare you!

    November 15, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. ghostriter

    Just like I said before. This was only an issue to be used for political purposes. Now that the election is over and this can't affect Obama's chances for re-election, this is no longer a chief concern for republicans.

    Now will you nutcases finally start to see the light? They got you guys good and riled up again......over nothing.......again.

    November 15, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. pappy

    Just like our pres im sure he didnt know

    November 15, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. Paul Williamson

    This bitter, vengeful, senile old man should retire from the Senate. He has his agenda and be both with facts. At one time I greatly admired John McCain but there is nothing left to admire – he is still seeking revenge against Obama, who in 2008. Step down, John, before you completely destroy your previous reputation.

    November 15, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  10. EatRunDive

    When pressed the Senator shouted, "You kids! Get off my lawn!"

    November 15, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. Randy, San Francisco

    McCain has become a grouchy and testy old man. He missed the meeting because the facts don't support is vitriolic accusations.

    November 15, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  12. patNY

    Always said McCain was insane in the membrane!

    November 15, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    John McCain was Mr. Nice guy and quite the humble and polite loser in 2008. All was good untl that Health Care Summit between the POTUS and party leaders. McCain was arguing his campaign talking points when Pres. Obama put him in his place by saying, "The campaigns are over, John." McCain has seemed to have chip on his shoulder ever since because it was no more Mr. Nice Guy after that remark.

    November 15, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. cali girl

    Still bitter there McPain?
    Get on with your life dude. Starting a fight is not going to get you anywhere.

    November 15, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. jkane sfl gop mascots the blubbering slobs allen west rover nitwitquest rick scott ,carl rove and donald dump ??????

    McDonald's Cain should go over there with a gop army of house members and tell them they will make Libya into a parking lot if they don't make him president right a way , and take Ryan and rnc chairwoman rincmy pennis with you !!!!

    November 15, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. thetruthandnothingbutthetruth

    he should watch his blood pressure! he's no spring chicken anymore!

    November 15, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. Bill

    McCain is an angry, old man who still has not gotten over his loss four years ago. He blasts the president and adminstrration about this issue, yet can not be bothered to show for a briefiin on the topic?? Time to retire.

    November 15, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. just sayin

    who cares? it is not like the obama adminstration is going to come clean or actually tell the truth. just another waste of time. the whole mess needs an independent investigation. the obama adminstration is corrupt and doesn't adhere to the laws of this nation. they cannot be trusted. they have already proven that over and over.

    November 15, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. Richard

    I'm hoping that mccain goes the way of romney in his next election. He has nothing else to contribute. He is just making noise now!

    November 15, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  20. Anon 2012

    That explains everything we need to know about Mr. McCain's actual motives. This isn't about finding out what happened in Benghazi. This about his inability to get over what happened in Nov 2008.

    November 15, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. Dr. Timothy Ackley

    Don't try to confuse McCain with the facts. He already has his addled mind made up and is too busy with partisan posturing to be bothered with doing his job.

    November 15, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  22. Mindie in Indie

    I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll.....walk away looking like an idiot....

    How does this guy keep getting reelected? I can't believe the people of AZ are the clueless.

    November 15, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  23. edog

    McCain is too funny!! He is too busy trying to score political points that he forgot to do his job!! Attend the briefings, take a deep breath, go through the hearings and then make your assessment. I thank God every night that this man did not win the election in 2008.

    November 15, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. dumdedumdum

    For goodness sakes, McCain yammers to the media about everything else. Please stop covering this bloviating clown.

    November 15, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. Facts don't Lie

    I thought that Palin was the only one that never got over losing in 2008 and seems to be bitter about it, but it appears McCain has not gotten over it as well. And with Obama winning again, a position McCain lost twice and will never have a chance to hold again, the bitterness seems to run deep.

    November 15, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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