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. Frederick L. May Sr

    I agree. Mccain has served his country well. He indured much suffering while serving. It is time for him to retire and spend the rest of his live in peace and quite. Thank you Mr McCain. May God bless you with peace and comfort. You have earned.

    November 15, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. Dlws

    Let me translate: John McCain does not believe he should be held accountable for his failure to do HIS job. John McCain would rather not have access to any facts so that he can behave exactly as the typical CONservative behaves by voicing strong opinions in the absence of facts.

    November 15, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. don in albuquerque

    Nothing but a vile old man whose time is over and he is not smart enough to see it.

    November 15, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. Io

    Someone please tell McCain the 2008 election is over, in fact there has been another one after that already.

    November 15, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. dougiedoug

    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 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. jim

    obviously, Mccain is more interested in playing politics than finding out the facts. Why not attend the hearing first then hold your press conference. People of Arizona, wake up! I for one am sick of hearing anything he has to say.

    November 15, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Louirhtelooper

    McCain is an angry, very bitter, old, white man who got his a$$ kicked by a black man and can not forget it.

    November 15, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. Steve Smith

    John Mccain has always been a joke of a senator and a joke of a politician. Nothing new here.

    November 15, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. don

    McCain been that angry old man since he lost the election 4 years ago. a maverick. I don't think so. as the matter of fact, what is the hell is a maverick

    November 15, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. REY

    it's nice to know that McCain is going to give Obama a fair hearing before the lynching...

    November 15, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. Qbert111

    Last time I checked, John 'Get off my lawn' McCain still works for the people so we have every right to know his working schedule. The air of 'perceived' privilege amongst some of these politicians amazes me. You are not above the rest of us McCain. Go do your job.

    November 15, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. allah

    McCain is a worthless neocon POS! Who the h3ll keeps electing this turd?!?

    November 15, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  13. curran

    Watched the Senator last evening on CNN after he was showed clips of Ms. Rice and the invisible WMD and he was asked to comment. It appeared as if English was a foreign tongue to the man. This guy couldn't sway folks in a nursing home any more. He's sad.

    November 15, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. PK

    John McCain of anyone should know better, how soon he forgets his POW status. Why didn't Bush stop the 9/11 attacks after all Bin Laden said he would attack the United States if Bush was elected President. I guess Bush and the rest of the Republicans wanted us to go in there with guns blazing, bombs dropping and rockets firing. I can just see it now, we attacked a foreign country and started a war with all the Muslim countries, China and Russia, WW III here we come..

    November 15, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. d.johnson

    Typical republicans – blame the president and do nothing.

    November 15, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Sen. McCain:
    I applaud your efforts to get to the truth on this matter, to uncover what you ar touting as a bigger than Watergate scandal. It is great to see a political figure call out anyone when their actions show blatant incompetence. Keep up the fight old man! Oh....and when you have a minute – I know you have a tough schedule – could you just do one thing for me and drop a few lines explaining one little thing I am still unclear about – Sarah Palin. Once we get that little matter cleared up I will be welcome to hear anything else you might have to say. Country First !

    November 15, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. rs

    With each day that passes since Romney lost to Mr. Obama, it becomes clearer and clearer that the GOP simply doesn't have what it takes to hold national elected offices again. What a bunch of sorry, self-centered, delusional losers.

    November 15, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. Shane

    John McCain has been griping about this for a month or so and when they hold a classified briefing about getting to the root of the issue, he didn't even go.
    John McCain is US Senator, and was in the Military, Why wasn't he at this critical meeting he has been so adamant about for a month?? As far as I am concerned, that is Dereliction of duty! He should be fired!

    November 15, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. USMama

    Senator McCain, do your job or retire... You are a US Senator, not king. You work for us.

    November 15, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  20. dscon

    CNN, where was your prez on 9-11-12?
    sleeping? vegas? the view?
    He sure makes a fuss about Rice, all sticking up for her.............
    But the Ambassador+3 friends, phtt..
    rotflmao

    November 15, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. Pat

    And what has Mc Cain done apart from bickering?

    November 15, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  22. PK

    Sorry, meant McCain

    November 15, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. Bill Richardson

    How very interesting that the communist news network (cnn) places more importance on why McCain didn't attend a briefing than on why the President of the United States didn't handle the Benghazi debacle well and then lied about it. It just goes to show how much in the toilet these liberal news agencies have gotten! What a #@$*@* joke

    November 15, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. Ricardo

    Defending McCain makes u an idiot too, Richard

    November 15, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  25. ManTex

    The last thing the GOP wants is to be confused by the facts – "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"

    November 15, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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