October 28th, 2013
05:10 PM ET
12 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. iski

    More thinly veiled good old fashioned Southern racism wrapped in obstructionism.

    October 29, 2013 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  2. BillfromFFX

    Hey Graham,
    Why don't you lay out and define all the steps that could have/would have happened if you were calling the shots. Better yet, why don't you get your tired elected ass over there for 6 – 8 months and make some educated guess as to what steps should have been taken, or what is now the logical strategy to heal that part of the planet? Why don't you answer the questions that you pose. Please go forward making your stance by laying down on the railroad tracks in front of an oncoming train. This is a time when forward thinking players should lay out and follow a course that runs over obstructionists such as you and the "soon to be unelected" idiots that stand behind you (both of them).

    October 29, 2013 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  3. For the Duration

    I really hope Graham is pushing this angle for the right reasons and not just as a political scheme for upcoming elections. It could be just another "birther" clone. It also seems irrelevant to block nominees for positions that would have no impact on any possible future Benghazi-like situations. What's the point other than more political band standing?

    October 29, 2013 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  4. Lisa

    Why must they do this over and over and over again. We are sick of this. Who can stop them?

    October 29, 2013 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  5. glennrobert

    As a Liberal I find the Republicans attempts to keep the government from functioning to be amazing. Do they think this failure will reflect poorly on Obama? Do they understand what cost them the last two elections and has them on track to lose the next two. The best asset the Democrats have is the Tea Party. I now no the true meaning of "obstreperous". as applied to politics. I hope they are having fun.

    October 29, 2013 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  6. drkent3

    It wasn't too long ago that certain people were incensed that we had not heard from anyone who actually knew where the President was born. There were so many unanswered questions, and all access to the real information was being 'blocked' – and it went on seemingly forever. It seems that some tactics are considered so effective that they must be used over and over again. Not saying that there aren't concerns about transparency, but there comes a time when one needs to step back and take a deep breath. There comes a time when you just start to look desperate – or crazy.

    October 29, 2013 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  7. Tommy Mack

    And where were the hearings on "faulty intelligence" that led us to invade Iraq over WMD's (nuclear centrifuges anyone?).

    The GOP are worse than hypocrites... they are LETHAL.

    October 29, 2013 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  8. bspurloc

    more terrorists tactics by these loons.
    jobs jobs jobs.... < obstructionists

    October 29, 2013 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  9. nvmature

    Sen. Graham being an obstructionist. That is news? Really?

    October 29, 2013 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  10. bspurloc

    5000+ dead 50000+ wounded 100s of thousands of Veterans of bushs bogus wars not being taken care of.
    why is bush not in jail? why has his assets not been seized to pay for his wars?
    koch brothers pay him to lay low for the next 8 years during the blame obama campaign

    October 29, 2013 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  11. Brandon

    Nothing new from the party of obstruction. I wonder how many laws Senator Graham has actually passed lately.

    October 29, 2013 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  12. reldra

    Another old man who is still physically capable of standing on his head and holding his breath until turning blue until he gets his way. Medical science continues to amaze.

    October 29, 2013 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  13. motorfirebox

    A Republican obstinately stalling? SHOCKING.

    October 29, 2013 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  14. David L Laidig

    Are we sure that Benghazi was not a CIA outpost? Are we sure that al Qaeda did not attack the CIA? Are we sure that those poor people knew that they we surrounded by CIA operatives pretending to be Embassy Staff? A lot of other Countries feel as though that is exactly what happened. Our intelligence services seem to be above control, AND out of control. I have never felt that a presidential election or a new Director changed anything, New boss same as the old boss.

    October 29, 2013 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  15. No one

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't CIA agents survivors? Is Graham trying to out our own actual spies?

    October 29, 2013 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  16. anon

    Sen Graham please RETIRE ASAP your hurting the country you so say you work for

    October 29, 2013 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  17. Thatguy371

    Typical rightie stuff here it seems eh? But wait, aren't the righties the ones who said no to more funding for increased security at embassies? Or do actual facts have my mind clouded again? HA!

    October 29, 2013 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
  18. aaron

    Just so the Repubs have something to betch about, they'll be happy. It's way past time that Dems returned the animosity and dirty tricks. Let tax cuts go up on the rich and oil companies. That seems to be the only thing that terrifies Repubs.

    October 29, 2013 03:33 am at 3:33 am |
  19. Dan J

    Keep in mind that this is Senator Graham. WHen it comes to confirmation hearings, he tends to respect the President and the Presidency. That's why he was one of the few republicans who voted in Sotomayor and Kagan into the Supreme Court. So if he is going to block confirmations because he has an issue with something, it must be a big issue. He isn't the type that would do something like this unless it was very important. He's not an obstructionist tea partier.

    October 29, 2013 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  20. American Taliban

    Yes block them all. Economic terrorism failed to destroy the country. GOP has to try something else.

    October 29, 2013 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  21. mikeinthevine

    This is a new strategy? The republicans are looking for a new excuse to continue their scorched earth policy of obstructionism.I don't remember Senator Graham taking a hard line concerning the 13 attacks on consulates and embassies that happened under the Bush administration. GOP, the party of hypocrisy.

    October 29, 2013 03:47 am at 3:47 am |
  22. Larry in Houston

    someone needs to tell 'ol Lindsey if he keeps up this thing about "blocking" for the Benghazi reason, (or any other political reason) people will remember this type of stuff, when the mid-terms rolls around....Let me put it another way, from an Independent point of view....The Democrats didn't "hold up" the nomination of Condoleezza rice, and I can name so many under the 8 years of the previous regime, and the regimes before him......

    IF they start this type of thing, then it will be in every administration from here on.......I mean, think about it, the dumbest one got us into Iraq, and he made constant mistakes.....So, if something goes wrong, or something doesn't go the way another person thinks it should have went, does that mean you (or your party) are going to hold up nominations to hold various offices ?
    I swear, if they aren't digging their selves into a grave, I don't know what is.
    Hate to say it, but the anchors & a lot of people on the other news channel thinks they are going to win in the mid terms........Even O'Reilly is saying it.....He has been saying that come November 2014, that election will "define" this country.....on what direction it will go....well, I guess we'll see -

    October 29, 2013 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  23. scott

    i want answers!!!! i am glad sen grahm wants answers, so do i. i want to know who lnew what when...i want to get to the bottom of the beirut marine barracks 30yrs ago during st ronnie's 8yrs in office...cause we cant have 230 marines killed and nothing just happen....frekin republicans, keep digging your own graves, i love it

    October 29, 2013 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  24. Iamnotfooled

    Imagine what America would be like right now if we had not been asleep in 2010 when the Republicans and the Tea Party took over the House. Let's make up for it in 2014. These guys need to go. They have no clue how to govern. Shameful. We have paid them for 3 years and have gotten nothing in return.

    October 29, 2013 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  25. SC

    Send Graham back to South Of The Border amusement park at the border of S. and N. Carolinas to ask him to work as a security guard there. This guy is useless in Congress.

    October 29, 2013 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
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