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. AmericanLady

    In addition to Senator McCain, I understand Rand Paul of Kentucky said he must have more details about Benghazi. He also failed to attend the meeting. Time to retire from the glare of the cameras, gentlemen, and get back to work on tax increases and budget cuts.

    November 15, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Shane

    John McCain is an American hero and your guy Obama just might be the next impeached corrupt president. Half the country has a deep disdain for this Obama character. Get over it, hes not the messiah you hoped for!

    November 15, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. papanez

    I used to respect Senator McCain; but over the past 4 years the guy has become a miserable d*ck head. He's really lost it. He unleased Sarah "I read them all" Palin on an unsuspecting America and world. Now he has the audacity to rip UN Ambassador Rice yet skip a briefing on Benghazi because of a 'scheduling error?' what a crock.

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

    John McCain is a bitter man who never got over his lost to the President He runs to every camera rolling
    with nonsense.

    November 15, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. Doug in NYC

    I pay YOUR SALARY McCain, I DO HAVE THE RIGHT to know YOUR SCHEDULING!! Tell me why you were not in that meeting

    November 15, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. mgbz

    the loudest person in the room is usually a lier.

    November 15, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. wjmccartan

    Jimmy O'B

    Give your head a shake you idiot. What was the meeting about, read the article again. Then again. Then again. Then again. Then again. Get the picture knucklehead.

    November 15, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. MIA

    I guess Senator McCain is still looking for Mr Puddles...

    November 15, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. mgbz

    and not a good bluffer

    November 15, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. Sueb

    Wow, McCain is really losing it! Missing that meeting indicates that he doesn't want to get at the truth; he wants to play politics with a national tragedy.

    November 15, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. eightball

    So...it's bad for McCain to miss an informational briefing, but nobody questions the POTUS about skipping over half of his intelligence briefings? You people have your priorities completely screwed up!

    November 15, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. Arizona Darrell

    Do you suppose if McCain (and others like him) went to the meetings giving the information about these things, instead of holding press conferences about NOT being supplied this information, that they would be more respected?

    November 15, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. PTBarnumboy

    Maybe if the senator would refrain from acting like a senile old man he would avoid being asked about his behavior.

    November 15, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  14. victor lapides

    What really counts is this: when he was running for President, I distinctly remember his rationale for staying in the war in Afghanistan, expressed more than once during the campaign: to pull out would be to dishonor the troops who had fallen there. Could there be a weaker demonstration of judgment than that?

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

    These people are spending too much time in the Fox bubble. They can't even articulate what their issue is. They can't say the incident isn't being aggressively investigated-it is. They are all tied up in knots over the concurrent video. Pre-election, Fox became the Benghazi station, and was peddling nonsense that there was some kind of cover up-and the evidence of such was discussion of this video, which it turned out was mentioned by protesters in Libya at the time of the incident. It was such a convoluted and contorted attempt by Fox, they really blunted their normally sharp attacks. It was a colossal failure to attack Obama-now they can't let go. Now, the point of their flaccid spear, McCain, can't even be bothered to fake the appearances. What a fail.

    November 15, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. Steve

    Where is this kind of questioning for the President?

    November 15, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. John

    It was time for his afternoon nap, cut him some slack...

    November 15, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. kevin

    JC is correct! If this topic is so vitale to him, how can he possibly skip it to hold a news conference on the same topic? Sheduling error? Holy crap! Even I knew the meetings were today. Hey Senator...you might want to clear you schedule for tomorrow. I hear Petraus is testifying.

    November 15, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. Kasey

    Sour grapes. The Republicans lost the election, so lets spend a million or so on some Watergate type of investigation...No need to work together to get the counrty back on track...spend money and keep fighting. McCain needs to go!

    November 15, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. mark 1

    McCain should retire and let his party get a new and up to the job leader try to lead

    November 15, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. yasmine

    @ Jimmy O'B.... go back to faux
    your questions were already answered but like McCain...you don't want to hear the info....
    Bush did much worst.. and that is why he hides.. and there will not be another Bush running the whitehouse for years to come

    November 15, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. Patriot Awesome

    Can we get the McCain from 12 years ago back please? I don't recognize this guy any more. He's become a partisan hack.

    November 15, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. Kissit

    man look at all the little criminals here sticking up for the criminal in chief and his cover up to save his election. Just like the General Petraeus thing.

    Take a real hard, long look people cause this is the new america. Lie, lie lie

    November 15, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. Mitt Robme_DRAFT_DODGING, TAX_EVADING_POS

    John McShame: We cannot be dictated to by the FACTS OF BENGHAZI!!!! classified briefing

    Old McGriddle already got his briefings by FAUX NEWS; so why bother with the truth....just spew out all those talking points and conspiracy theories being manufactured at the GOP PROPAGANDA NEWS ROOM: FAUX NEWS!!!!

    November 15, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. wayne

    I cannot for the life of me why these Reps like McCain get elected.They say what they like and have no responsibilities for their words or actions. Thank God there is just enough sane people in America to keep them out of the White House. The country would move Forward a lot bettet if they had less control in the Senate and and especially in the house.

    November 15, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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