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. catm

    Even since I heard the former mayor of Beverly Hills speak at my law school about his involvement and voluntary resignation from the Senate committee created to investigate the JFK assassination, I have lost all trust in our government. He resigned because the committee itself was a cover up and any real leads he came upon, he was threatened and intimidated to shut up. It was a ruse and he said he couldnt have his children growing up and knowing that he had been a part of a historical sham meant to deceive all Americans. This seems like a similar situation going on. Too many things dont add up. Ive given up the hope that the "truth" will ever be revealed.

    November 15, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  2. jenaay

    Why don't these losing politicians just go away? The majority did not want them then and do not want to hear from them now. They just can't let go, can't accept it. I'm beginning to see a pattern among the losing republicans. Go away John McCain–you are senile and whiny.

    November 15, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  3. 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 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  4. RickBangkok

    Old soldiers never die, they just fade away

    November 15, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  5. rc roeder

    I think McCain is a bit out there on this. It is more like i have my views and nobody is going to change them, I hac fact direguard if the are right or wrong facts.

    November 15, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. Gobble

    Senator McCain answers to and works for the American people – he needs to be reminded of that.

    November 15, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. frontgate

    Republicans are irrelevant anyway. McCain knows this. So why does it matter if he was there.

    November 15, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. 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 told a non truth about it. It just goes to show how much in the toilet these liberal news agencies have gotten! What a joke!

    November 15, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. luvUamerica

    This is just another shiny object for the Republicans.

    November 15, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. BlackDynamite

    I agree with John

    He has every right to be as ignorant as he wants, and who are we to stop him.....
    BD

    November 15, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Demigod Vadik, CA

    Did McCain just get exposed for a partisan hack that he is???!!!

    ...WOW, how low some have fallen...

    ...I would have NEVER expected this of McCain in 2000...

    November 15, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  12. rc roeder

    I loved the commnt by someone a few day ago. Why is static and the GOP the same. Both are white noise.

    November 15, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. RamboJohnJ

    ser56

    Later, the senator was observed to be talking to an empty chair.

    And the chair won the debate...

    November 15, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  14. Bill Richardson

    I have tried to post a comment – reworded three two times – and they still won't post it. What a joke!!!

    November 15, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  15. bbock

    "LA LA LA! I CAN'T HEAR YOU! COVERUP! COVERUP! LA LA LA!" –Senator John McCain, fingers in his ears

    November 15, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  16. Steve

    Loosing respect for John McCain. He is playing Politics.

    November 15, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. Frail Ego

    Why would McCain go to a briefing to learn the facts? He has no interest in facts...they are inconvenient to his argument? Why didn't Johnny boy form these witch hunt, I mean Watergate type committees after the 7 attacks on consulates during the Bush Administration?

    November 15, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  18. martin from ohio

    sara u dont even know what you are talking about... its not condilezza

    November 15, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  19. Georges

    What irks me most is his constant assertion that the "American People deserves answers". Answers to what? We already know that 4 brave American souls lost their lives in that attack . Beyond what we were told, can we ever know for sure what could have prevented this attack ? In an age of rocket propelled grenades, car bombs , suicide bombers, can we be sure that greater security would have prevented this catastrophy? The probe into timelines, questions about who knew what,and when, are purely political and an attempt to embarass the administration. The worse case scenario in this situation does not rise to the level of a probe.

    November 15, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  20. EM

    Why attend another briefing from the White House? Wasn't the first two nothing but lies? I wouldn't waste my time either.

    November 15, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. Chipster

    Sen. McCain should have left the senate years ago. His mind is not good anymore and he's becoming increasingly belligerent due to his frustration with the moments of memory lapses.that he appears to be experiencing. There are times when he looks very confused and I'm not sure he knows where he is. it's really very sad.

    November 15, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. God help us!

    Mccain is still angry that he lost in 2008. What a grumpy old man. Retire please! As for the rest of republicans, Obama is the president for the next 4 years, deal with it.

    November 15, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  23. LOL in Colorado

    Nothing like a bunch of "angry old white men" (aka GOP) that do not want their factless opinions altered by real facts that just might contradict their codgety opinions!

    November 15, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  24. ol cranky

    No Senator McCain, as a Senator you DO NOT have the right not to comment when you are being asked why you did not attend a briefing on a matter of critical importance. Senators, like all elected officials, work for the taxpayers and you owe us an explanation for your inaction while you and your ilk are busy ignorantly pointing fingers and indulging in conspiracy theories

    November 15, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  25. GOP's a Joke

    This shows everything you need to know about the GOP. Bunch of senile old farts.

    November 15, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
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