November 15th, 2012
03:32 PM ET
1 year 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. John McCain

    Get off my lawn!!!!

    November 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. Bob Ramos

    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.
    _____________________________________________
    I very much respect McCain's military service but not that of a senator. Someone has to ask the five GOP members why they did not attend the briefing.

    November 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. kay

    mcCain should go to hell him self, and find somewhere to seat with him old self

    November 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. pntherpaw86

    Please explain to me how a sitting U.S. Senator can be stupid enough to call the President a liar, call the ambassador to the UN a liar, and then has the balls to skip a classified briefing covering the very topic he accuses them of lying about so he can have his own press conference claiming he wants answers and "Watergate-type hearings" on the matter???

    November 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  5. northerstar

    Thomas is an idiot. McCain was held by the North Vietnamise longer than anyother serviceman. When he was offerred release he said NO; not until everyone else is released as well. His father was an Admiral at the time at the North wanted to release him to gain favor. McCain may be getting old; but you cannot deny that he served his country well.

    November 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. Dixie Independent voter

    A screw loose.

    November 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. ikea78

    It's wierd how the CIA DIRECTOR now all of a sudden has a mistress.
    Why is this is coming out all of a sudden AFTER the attack on Benghazi???
    Hmm... it wouldn't have anything to do with blackmale would it? No probably not.
    McCain is right. We're never gonna hear the truth.

    November 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. JB Two

    This just in ... McCain spotted on the steps outside the Senate yelling at the clouds.

    November 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. AAD

    WHY AZ continues to vote for this old fool is beyond me.

    November 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. Guru

    "He blamed it on a "scheduling error" but wouldn't provide any more detail". It 's very cheap explaination, and I couldn't buy it.

    November 15, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. JFKINAZ

    Well Navy, there is nothing funny about Benghazi. There is nothing funny about a terrorist attack on U.S. citizens or making political gamemanshp of it either.There is nothing funny about Republicans cutting Embassy Security funding by hundreds of millions of dollars. I am not laughing and we should be asking all the hard questions of why security obessed Republicans thought it was okay to cut fundng for diplomatc security too? Dont you?

    NavyAirVet said:

    "Funny how Democrats want to gloss over Benghazi without a review or details of the rescue mission's failure to launch. They are too concerned about getting free stuff from the government to care about our National Security and matters that adversely affect our embassy's personnel safety, worldwide."

    November 15, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. zakada

    Poor McCain. He is just an old cranky Republican. Need to get some young men and women in there. Too many old white guys like McCain in the Senate.

    November 15, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. Garry

    McCain has been in Washington to long. He's still in the party of "NO" and wants to see Obama fail. McCain should be impeached.

    November 15, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  14. Lila

    After these clowns went on and on and on with their silly conspiracies, they didn't even show up!

    November 15, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. pdough

    Love how Blitzer and his cow-towing reporter agree with each other that McCain should have simply said he had a scheduling error. McCain's beef wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that the CNN reported had an obvious agenda to protect the administration by attacking the credibility of a leading critic of the Bengazi dabacle by pointing out that he didn't show at a key hearing – the implication being he's not informed enough to be leveling criticisms. The shameless cover of Obama continues thanks to hack journalists including Wolf.

    November 15, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. Gregory M, Newbold

    What is clear is that MCCain & others were more interested in holding there self-serving press conference INSTEAD of getting the actual information associated with Benghazi. Mr. McCain has an AXE to GRIND against Ambassador Susan Rice. Why, I don`t know.

    He has no credibility when he is willing to ignore the facts/ truth, skip the breifings, and maligning Ms. Rice simply for giving interviews on Sunday morning political talk shows.

    Mr. McCain thought Sarah Palin was an acceptable, qualified choice for Vice President. Why is he still in office? Why would the rest of us even listen to him? The news media, columnists, and pundits should speak the truth; John McCain is past his expiration date.

    November 15, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. Hokkun Aagorhosa

    McCain is an idiot – a completely holistic rascal.

    November 15, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    They skipped a classified briefing on Benghanzi?!? The same folks who thump their chests and say they want to know the truth about what happened, who are lining up their minions to accuse President Obama of murder?

    These Repubs are beyond the pale! They probably skipped the briefing because it leaked that PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS BEEN TELLING THE TRUTH and God forbid, Repubs should have to deal with reality!

    Pathetic, simply pathetic ...

    November 15, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  19. carlos

    this balloon head imbecile, the lard in his cranial mass is about to explode.........Liam......... served his country honorable???? after turning on his fellow prisoners???? you call that honorably?....complete idiocy from the returds.....

    November 15, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  20. amicus

    McCain is furious that Obama got reelected, and he is lashing out. He hoped that this time around, he would get his revenge thru Mitt, but that didn't happen. So he is furious. It has nothing to do with Rice.

    November 15, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. drewbe2

    Maybe just maybe every one should step back and gather all the info they can, and then make an informed decision or at lest have a good discussion about this! From what has been discussed every one wants more answers so why not get the briefing right? We've seen what happens when were i'll informed on subjects like iraq!

    November 15, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. Jim

    I still trust General Patraeus with American secrets more than the petty children in Congress.

    November 15, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. joshua

    obama misses almost half of his white house security briefings and not a word from the biased liberal media. McCain misses 1 briefing and you are all outraged. spare me the indignity. a bunch of whiney hypocrits who can't stand that obama is in real trouble for his failures as president so you go on the warpath to destroy anyone who dares ask the president for answers. who's side are you on anyway? the side of the dead americans or obamas?

    November 15, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. BoB de

    A little while back just before "Shock and Awe" another Rice was quoted as saying there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and then said never mind we were only repeating what the intel was telling us. Where was McCain? That lie was really harmful, many American men and women died for that lie.

    November 15, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  25. DJ Reality

    What happened to John McCain? Who's this impostor I see on television?

    November 15, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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