October 28th, 2013
05:10 PM ET
11 months ago

Obama nominees could be slowed over Benghazi concerns

Sen. Lindsey Graham will appear on "CNN's The Situation Room" Tuesday at 5pm

(CNN) - A top critic of the U.S. response to the terror attack on the Benghazi diplomatic compound said Monday that he would block all Obama administration nominees before the Senate until survivors of the deadly assault testify before Congress.

"I think the story was about the fact that our guys died in a different way than explained by the administration," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Fox News on Monday following a dramatic CBS "60 Minutes" interview with a man described as a British security officer who witnessed last year's attack.

"They died as a result of an al Qaeda planned attack that you could see coming," Graham said.

The South Carolina Republican was an early skeptic of the administration's initial assessment the September 2012 attack in eastern Libya that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans appeared to be the result of a demonstration over an anti-Muslim film produced in the United States.

Graham has pushed forcibly ever since to uncover details of what happened and why the administration appeared to bungle the response.

"Where are the survivors? Fourteen months later," Graham said. "The survivors, the people who survived the attack in Benghazi, have not been made available to the U.S. Congress for oversight purposes."

Graham said he would use Senate rules to stall approval of presidential nominees until he gets the testimony he wants.

"I'm gonna block every appointment in the United States Senate until the survivors are being made available to Congress. I'm tired of hearing from people on TV and reading about stuff in books. We need to get to the bottom of this," he said.

If Graham were to block a nominee, Democrats, who control the chamber, could make procedural moves to get around his objections. Doing so would require 60 votes to succeed.

An aide to Graham noted that the Senator previously blocked the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA until the White House produced information on when President Barack Obama first contacted Libyan government officials about the attack.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday the administration has made "extraordinary efforts" to meet congressional demands for information about the attack.

"The State Department has worked in good faith to meet the Hill's many requests and will continue to review legitimate incoming requests. But let's be clear, some Republicans are choosing to play politics with this for partisan purposes and we find that unfortunate," Carney said. "What happened in Benghazi was a tragedy; it is the case that there was not adequate security."

An aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had no reaction to Graham's threat or say how it might impact the Senate schedule.

The Senate is expected to take up several high-profile judicial appointments and other nominations in the near future.


Filed under: Lindsey Graham • Obama administration • Senate
soundoff (615 Responses)
  1. rs

    There are no concerns on the part of the GOP, never were-which is why there were absolutely zero hearings over the deaths of 61 diplomats in 12 episodes during the Bush years. No, friends, the headline is wrong, this is Mr. Graham's excuse for holding up Presidential appointments.
    It is good to see the GOP back to its old self only two weeks after their little failed coup anfd their attempt to wreck the economy again!

    October 28, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. jinx9to88

    CNN, dont act like your shocked. The Grand Old Party has blocked everything Obama has tried to do for the last 5 years.

    October 28, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. Frank Odell

    Sen Graham,
    Sir in your state there ws 26,397 violent crimes and more that 400 murders in 2012. A just released report says that 500 kids die and 7,500 are injured by guns in this country. A State department employee knows what to expect when they accept the post as do military personnel. You should concentrate more on "these Americans" as they do not have a choice.

    October 28, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. jinx9to88

    ""I'm gonna block every appointment in the United States Senate until the survivors are being made available to Congress". Graham, where was this outrage when 13 embassies were attacked under Bush's watch? Are you saying those 50+ people that died is not important? You and your party make me sick!!! Hypocrites!!

    October 28, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. tom l

    Only one person has been held accountable so far; the man that made the film. Not one other person has been held responsible whatsoever. It would be awesome if President Obama actually knew what was going but, of course, he didn't know anything.

    October 28, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. tom l

    Cue the callous joking comments from the likes of Tampa Sim, rs, Mallory, Ol Yeller and the rest who seem to find this to be some sort of joke and don't care to find out what happened.

    @Data and the Real TP,
    Since you guys have demonstrated that it's not always always always about the political party, does it trouble you that we haven't heard from one person who was actually there and the fact that the administration has not allowed anyone to testify?

    October 28, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. Gary

    That poor old dead horse, just keeps getting beaten. And whats new about republicans blocking Obamas nominees?

    October 28, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  8. Data Driven

    So even, say for example, a Surgeon General nominee would be blocked because - Benghazi?

    The seditious behavior of the GOP is now extending to the Senate, beyond just Cruz. They're blocking the operations of government without justification: that, my friends, is sedition. Just because Lindsey's worried about getting primaried doesn't make sedition excusable.

    October 28, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. buongiorno

    the truth will enlighten us all God Speed

    October 28, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Ol' Yeller

    So, A republican is going to use his position to hold up our government in a hostage situation until he gets what he wants?
    How is this news? This is every day tantrums by members of a particular party who believe their agenda is more important than that which the Amercian people sent them there for. This continued politicizing of things (the ACA, fast and furious, the IRS 'scandal) is ridiculous, but when it comes to a tragedy which in part was caused by these very politicians and their draconian cuts to security, well then it is just infantile.
    "I'm tired of hearing from people on FAUX news and reading about stuff in right wing books."

    October 28, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. orrball

    answer this lay all the cards on the table and let see what they say I am so tiered of well they did this so it ok That's why Obama was elected for change not the same old thing

    October 28, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. rs

    tom l

    Only one person has been held accountable so far; the man that made the film. Not one other person has been held responsible whatsoever. It would be awesome if President Obama actually knew what was going but, of course, he didn't know anything.
    ______________
    Joke is on you Tom, remind me again what powers the FBI have in Libya... yeah, I thoughts so.

    October 28, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    It is about time, that the lies this administration told.........are fully investigated, and the truth told. This administration lies to the people, and the world, every single day.

    October 28, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. sara

    Obama's nominees will be slowed by Congress because that's what they do. It doesn't matter the "made up" reasons. Americans should demand they do work for the betterment of our country and not for their insane political stance.

    October 28, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain: Hey, GOP, where's our $24 billion reimbursement check?

    Preemptive response to the Hilary-haters who will mention her "What difference does it make" out-of-context quote. Here is the complete quote – something you'll never hear or see on Fox (final exchange between her and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis):

    Clinton: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.

    Johnson: OK. Thank you, Madame Secretary.

    October 28, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  16. Silence DoGood

    Hostage situations, Benghazi, birthers, creationism, evil socialism.
    Can poll numbers go below zero?

    October 28, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. rs

    Ol' Yeller

    So, A republican is going to use his position to hold up our government in a hostage situation until he gets what he wants?
    How is this news? This is every day tantrums by members of a particular party who believe their agenda is more important than that which the Amercian people sent them there for. This continued politicizing of things (the ACA, fast and furious, the IRS 'scandal) is ridiculous, but when it comes to a tragedy which in part was caused by these very politicians and their draconian cuts to security, well then it is just infantile.
    ___________________________
    So true. The GOP cannot win national elections, and so return time and again to hostage taking as their main political meme. Of course, the fact that they are unable to annuciate just what it is they want in this little game of blackmail is the only aspect of their tiring behavior that keeps any of it interesting at all.
    Ahhhh, small minds at work.

    October 28, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  18. Data Driven

    @tom l,

    You're always asking questions; let me ask you one: what do you think the Administration did wrong with regards to Benghazi? Because all I could ever determine was that the intelligence community gave Admin spokefolks bad talking points and info. I've never understood why conservatives think they got a winner with this; there's no there there. I also need to have that talking point about State "refusing to help" demonstrated with proof. And I mean that refusal must stem from malice, not confusion about events on the ground. Make your case.

    Issa didn't make the case with his hearings.

    October 28, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain: Hey, GOP, where's our $24 billion reimbursement check?

    If the repub standard for obstructing everything the President tries to do, including holding our nation's full faith and credit hostage and shutting down the government, is Americans dying for supposed inattention by the POTUS ...

    ... then why did the repubs not get upset when 9/11 happend on GW Bush's watch – after he ignored an explicit written warning about al Qaeda ("Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US" memo) he received 1 month and 5 days prior to the attack?

    *crickets*

    October 28, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. A Kickin' Donkey

    Can any of the rightward tilting posters cite just ONE QUESTION that the Commerce committee [the one holding the Heathcare.gov hearings . . . I refuse to call them the "Obamacare" hearings] has asked that was intended to obtain information that WOULD HELP IMPROVE the website, or reduce the additional costs? Anyone? Isn't that what we should expect from "Oversight"?

    October 28, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  21. Debbie

    For Pete's sake this GOP obstruction and Benghazi is getting past old. Not filling spots just because your party lost is evidence of party over people.

    October 28, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  22. Wes

    Get with the program! Everybody knows it was the director of that video that caused the riot.

    October 28, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  23. Mark

    Senator Obama would be President Obama's harshest critic.

    October 28, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  24. simplyput

    As far as I'm concerned ANYTHING this liar puts on the table needs to be blocked.

    October 28, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  25. John

    8 years 13 embassy attacks 77 died.......2 attacks in one year in Riyadh, in the same embassy.GW's 8 years....and was there a scream to investigate any of this?.........of course not, because we were all on one team....that was then and this is now..........

    October 28, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
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