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. Jake

    Sounds like they were broadcasting from the moon. What's up with the bad audio?

    November 15, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. Thomas

    McCain is a PTSD addled, angry, old, hypocritical loser who can't get over the fact that Obama beat him like a faded rug in 2008. He was a congressman in April, 1983 when 17 Americans were killed in an attack on the Lebanon embassy but there was no call for a Watergate-style investigation then (Reagan was Prez). In October 1983, 241 American servicemen were killed in an attack on the Marine HQ in Beirut, again no demands from McCain or his cohorts for an investigation of the Reagan administration's failures. This is nothing more than crass "politics as usual" from one of Congress' biggest hypocrites

    November 15, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. nvmature

    He is supposed to be a senior statesman. Supposed to be a leader in the Senate. Supposed.

    November 15, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. jj

    I lost all respects for john McCain. he is so bitter and irrational! He misses the most important meeting related to the issue he is whining about. I know why, as the explanation given by acting CIA director wouldn't leave any issue to whine about!

    November 15, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Zil Zerimar

    Hey McCain you lost in 2008 and you lost again last week....so what do you want from the Great President Obama? You want his job? Then run again with Sarah Palin....hehehehehehe...

    November 15, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Crashing your plane and being captured by the enemy doesn't make you a "hero" and calling angry John a hero denigrates those who are truly are.

    November 15, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. Chaos

    "a 4 star Admiral and 4 star general were immediate dismissed after this attack!"

    The premise of your question is inaccurate. You should stop listening to propaganda based talk shows.

    November 15, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. Steve

    Just goes to show you that neither McCain or Graham care about the lives lost in Lybia, it is just another political stunt. As a veteran form the the early 70's, I used to respect the senator and Senator Graham but now I have lost any respect for either of them. They have proven that they are more concerned about politics than the USA. That is not what soldiers are taught.

    November 15, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. Rik Warren

    He wasn't there because his pandering to the crazies is more important than the facts. If the facts are against his version then he cannot continue to pander.

    November 15, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. Namejoe

    John needs a happy pill. Why show up to hear what happen when you can grandstand on the house floor! I do not believe we would be able to send in the marines everytime a crediable threat is identified. God rest their souls

    November 15, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. DC

    I think the American Voters have really ticked off a lot of the GOP, huh?

    November 15, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  12. JFKINAZ

    McCain is well past his expiration date. He should have retired already especially since he was for term limits. Now he is just a whiney poor loser who takes every cheap shot he can at the President. I guess he really has become the epitome of a bitter old man.

    November 15, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. carly

    This just proves that the id*ots from the GOP are just on a witch hunt. If they were truly just interested in finding out what happened they would try to listen to all information provided to them.

    November 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. nvmature

    Senator McCain and his co-horts need to just accept the election; the will of the people.

    November 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. dan1943

    I would hate to see the America today if John McCain had been elected President 4 years ago instead of Barack Obama. Now McCain is just an irritable old fart trying to get any attention that he can any way that he can. He should retire and go back to AZ and sulk if he is not going to stop this nonsense and do the job the tax payers are paying for – helping get the economy back to where it was before Bush and Cheney and working on balancing the budget like it was before Bush and Cheney.

    November 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. Jim

    McCain whines that no one will talk to him, and when they go to talk to him he says "never mind."

    $10 says he whines tomorrow that the people he stood up at the meeting refuse to talk to him.

    November 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. spynnal

    "We demand answers!"

    "Um, sir, you are missing your meeting where they are giving the answers, why aren't you there?"

    "Don't question me, I'm a Senator!"

    Awesome.

    November 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. Hillcrester

    I guess he prefers rumors and opinions to facts. He and Lindsey Graham deserve to be disciplined by the Senate.

    November 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. smendler

    Seems pretty obvious: they don't want to be distracted from their witchhunt by any of those pesky, you know, facts.

    November 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. Robert

    Special Prosecutor Now

    November 15, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. Dan

    More proof that the gop would rather lead from a place of ignorance, as a Vietnam vet, I used to think that McCain was a true American hero, now I think that he is a fool with a bad temper and his actions are bordering on being un-American. He and the other angry old men need to stop and re-evaluate their patriotism and commitment to this country rather than trying to tear it apart because of someones skin color. From my point of view the same should be said of most of the conservatives in this country, they scream and wave the flag and then try to change the basic principles that this country was founded on. Grow up GOP or be left behind.

    November 15, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. Boo

    McCain is a warmongering crotchety old geezer....he should retire....enough of him already.

    November 15, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. NC Mom

    Wow! He attacks Rice who was just saying what she was told to say, and then doesn't bother with the hearings. Guess the Repulicans really don't get it. He got off his nasty cheap shot at Rice probably because she is a woman and a minoority.

    November 15, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. Codes007

    This man is going crazy and he needs help from his family and friends. He lost and can't take defeat gracefully. He also has so much baleful bile boiling in him. What a tragedy. I hope he doesn't bite someone soon.

    November 15, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. nvmature

    John McCain continues to embarrass himself. He is supposed to be a senior statesman. Supposed to be a leader in the Senate. Supposed.

    November 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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