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. Anonymous

    "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?”

    In hindsight he ought really to have attended the briefings before spouting off on that which he knew nothing of. Now he only looks pathetic. Who the hell is John McCain and why are people still supporting him?

    November 15, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. joshua

    so obama removes our soldiers from libya and gives the security of our embassy to a group of locals. when notified about security problems, obama ignores them. then when attacked, he won't let anyone go in and help leading to the death of 4 americans. after they are murdered, obamas spends two weeks blaming their deaths on a stupid youtube video. he even goes before the united nations and said our murders were because of the same stupid youtube video. did obama not know the truth or did he lie to hide the truth?

    November 15, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. rocky5

    Yes we are remember god is coming soon people get going now no stoping for this one lol

    November 15, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    @Sandy: "The GOP is obviously going to try to do to Obama what they did to the Clintons. Just keep badgering and throwing anything they can find in the hope that something sticks and that people will believe that where there is smoke there must be fire."

    BINGO!

    November 15, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. BROTKUNST

    McCain ... past prime, I know that. However, missing THAT meeting while he is complaining in a press conference that he is not getting enough information ... whoa!

    November 15, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. nick

    Hey Fla guy Where was McCain questioning Condi Rice with the WMD and Iraq where THOUSNDS died. Pure BS You guys coud'nt beat Obama in the elections, now are trowing all kinds of hail maries to crucify him.
    The People are watching and they will not support you with this crap.

    November 15, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. DR

    He's most likely sick to death of the liberal media not reporting news and trying to withhold information from the American public to further their liberal leftist political agenda.

    November 15, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  8. BigBill

    McCain didn't come because he wants to spin lies and he doesn't want to have to admit he was told the truth.

    November 15, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  9. DAVID STONE

    I think we should have the names of ALL the missing Senators......... You can't complain that your not getting information, and then just skip a briefing, without out some kind of consequence.

    November 15, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  10. vonn

    True colors.. But some are still color blind..

    November 15, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. Bob

    Scheduling error??? But had enough time in his schedule to have a press conference??? Really ???

    November 15, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  12. ralph Petrillo

    Mc Cain is becoming irrelevant!

    November 15, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. Alfred123

    What a pathetic sight is to see McCain degrade himself to such a low level. Has he lost his marbles? Another reason to stop reelecting grumpy old men back into Congress!

    November 15, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. mary

    I was surprised at his choice for VP..
    Until lately... Now I get it..
    I thought more highly of him.. I think this guy is loosing it.. Time for him to retire and do other things with his life..
    Before he ruins his reputation totally and goes out in shame.

    November 15, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. randy schlueter

    McCain has now shown what kind of American he is. He is no longer a person any true American should look up to. He didn't like the outcome of the election so he is showing his true colors. Hoe could he have been a war hero?

    November 15, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  16. joshua

    4 americans died, obama lied, let's go after mccain.

    November 15, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. Jim

    joshua – Obamacare covers your condition. Use the benefits Obama provided. We'll all be happier.

    November 15, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  18. Alyx

    What an out of touch hack!

    November 15, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. Reality Checker

    McCain is no longer the ROGUE he claims to be, but just another TOOL to be use by others to further their agenda. Someone got him fired up knowing he would be the attack dog they could send out to try and get traction on this "conspiracy".

    Sorry Jon, you've been played by your own party, and the proof is all the footage about Condoleeza Rice that makes you look exactly like the hypocrite you are.

    McCain knows he's wrong and got played and he's mad and wants to take the ball home and how dare you ask why! He got caught being wrong and doesn't want to talk about it.

    Jon McLain = Former war hero.

    Jon McLame = present day old irrelevant cranky guy being used by his own party.

    November 15, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  20. Tony Diamante

    Poor Johhny has become the Sarah Palin of this election. He's lost it completely. It must be the Arizona heat it does things to peoples minds.

    November 15, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  21. Jm

    When is this idiot going to retire??

    Blah, blah blah, about this issue, and then he's a no-show.

    Time for him to get out of the game, because he simply doesn't have one.

    Adios John.

    Go do some commercials for dementia medication.

    November 15, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  22. B17Joker

    Why don't CNN reporters pursue the President with the same vigor? If the media, CNN included did their job when the attacks on Benghazi occurred and as the information came out, we would have been at the end of this already. We the general public don't have a voice in this matter and rely on you CNN to do your job without bias or deception.

    November 15, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  23. AngieS

    How dare McCain bad mouth the President and his administration and then not even bother to show up for the briefing! He has a lot of nerve to continue to speak on that which he cannot possibly have answers on because he couldn't make the time in his busy schedule to attend the meeting and hear what was presented. I say the state of AZ should make sure he has all the time in the world by kicking him out of office! I used to be a McCain supporter but he really went off the deep end during his campaign in '08 and I think he's lost his mind...

    November 15, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. mcaininthemembrane

    The Mavrick who works accross party lines has transformed into the old man who sits on his front stoop and turns the hose on kids as they walk by.

    he is supposed to be one of the guys the democrats can work with. way to make the fiscal cliff look bleek tough guy. all of your wall street boys who are hemeraging money sure appriciate it.

    November 15, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. PMD

    Did this Republicans questioned the source of the false WMD intelligence in Iraq, which led to the Iraq war and cost the U.S. 4,500 lives, hundreds of thousands injured, $1 Trillion? Did Reagan prevented the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut that resulted in the deaths of over 300 Marines? There are risks working in the foreign service and some can prevented and others are sometime beyond anybody's control.

    November 15, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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