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. martin from ohio

    cnn can post both sides or they are not in my opinion the most trusted news source as they say

    November 15, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    The GOP is too busy with their witch hunt to be bothered to go to a meeting and gather some actual facts.

    November 15, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. Prime Controller of Planet X

    I guess it just goes to show how quickly GOP conspiracy theorists wane when the facts come out.....
    On to the next conspiracy theory....

    November 15, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. Rachael Roberts

    I used to greatly respect McCain as one of the reasonable and respectable politicians, especially in the GOP. He has evolved into a shallow caracature of himself and just seems like a sore loser to me. A VERY white male in a shrinking GOP, why don't you retire so your daughter can take your place. What an old coot.

    November 15, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. C-dot

    "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.

    ~We demand answers

    November 15, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. soooooo

    john mccain: LOL worthy since 2008

    November 15, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. jj

    McCain used to be a rational person till when he almost lost his seats to a Tea Party extremist in last primary.Now he takes orders from Arizona Tea Party and executes like a good soldier.

    November 15, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. mike

    Whine, whine, whine. If you can't go to the briefing, then please stay out of it. You have not been informed, so your opinion does not count Mr. McCain. Obstructionists to the end. The end is near.

    November 15, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  9. John Kaczmarowski

    To Mr JMF's assertion that CNN is biased in it's coverage, I offer this:

    1. President Obama gets daily intelligence briefings. He already knows what is being presented.
    2. Mr. McCain has been agitating for greater transparency in this matter.
    3. When greater transparency is offered by way of a special intelligence briefing, the rules of good governance would suggest that Mr. McCain attend said briefing.
    4. From which we can only surmise that Mr. McCain is not interested in good governance, he is interested in wasting the people's time and money by spouting useless nonsense at the very same time he should have been butt-in-seat taking notes and doing his job.

    November 15, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  10. Walken1

    When your ultimate objective is to score political points against your opponent, why bother with trying to get at the truth?

    November 15, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. sara

    So why didn't they go to the hearings. I thought it was about Benghazi they are talking about. Don't they want answers? NOT! OLD Angry Bird!

    November 15, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. seerwavn

    The last usefull thing Mccain did was SERE school after that he has been worthless

    November 15, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. NoTags

    McCain is half senile. He probably forgot there was a meeting.

    November 15, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. Terry

    Even after the election CNN continues its one-sided view of the news. Have you forgotten that Obama is the president and ultimately responsible. Or are your reporters still so much in love with the anointed one that they cannot do real investigative reporting. Can't wait until CNN files for bankruptcy from lack of viewers.

    November 15, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. DBrick

    "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.
    Well – since I am paying for your salary – I believe the public has every right to know how you spend your time, Mr. McCain.

    November 15, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. kate

    There are none so deaf as those who choose not to hear.

    November 15, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  17. Jake

    Let's not forget that 4000 Americans were murdered on 911 while GWB ignored the warnings about the terrorists using airplanes to attack America. Where was the outrage then? These Republicans, including the phony and senile McCain were dead silent then. Still bitter he lost 4 years ago to Obama. He can join the other loser Romney and play the..."Pretend I'm President" game on his XBox 360.

    November 15, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  18. Damien

    Ignorance by design, as usual. Disgusting GOP'ers.

    November 15, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  19. chechi

    Any citizen has the right to ask a senator why he did no attend an importan meeting regarding a subjet he has been calling for, his job was given by us the people who elected him, he is there to do the job people voted for him to do . Ist is irresponsible for a senator being absent from his job. Senators and House Members: do your job, be at your job and stop waisting the time and money from american tax payers!

    November 15, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    i wanna demand an answer from him as to why he picked Sarah Palin as him running partner, and why doesn't he get some new dentures...the ones he's working with now are in bad shape and yellow as a ear of corn...feeble old fool!

    November 15, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. docdeb27

    Richard Wad- for the SAME reason Bush didn't save our 43 own when he was president. By the time he found out a) they were dead. b) one can only go after the terrorists after-not undo.

    November 15, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. John McCain

    Why does CNN.com sometimes write "press conference" and sometimes write "news conference." I would think their stylebook has one answer and their copy editors would catch it.

    November 15, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. Grow Up

    McCain and most of the Republican party is made of up old, white rich men who can't relate to anybody except other old, white rich men!

    November 15, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  24. wonfish

    I can see it now. When they couldn't defeat Clinton at the ballot box, we had investigation after investigation leading to a scandal regarding a beejay. When Bush took over that said that all these investigations are bad for the country. Did we ever have a select committee investigate our involvement in the Iraq war? Now that they couldn't defeat Obama, its 1996 all over again.

    November 15, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. Joey Kurczak

    Hey, you kids....get the heII off my lawn!

    November 15, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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