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. B steven

    What will it change?

    October 29, 2013 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  2. just the facts

    Obama flat out lied to the public....no sugar coating it....he was given the initial report from the CIA that was described as a "joint terrorist attack" and he proceeded to cover it up until after the elections. This is not about crime at home or one senators "tantrum," it is about the Commander in Chief straight up lying to the American public. The 2 CIA men killed in the attack were killed by mortar fire while the Ambassador and his translator were killed by smoke inhalation after they were placed in the safe-room of the embassy and the place was set fire. Our close family friend lost 2 of his men that day. I'm glad someone is trying to make them take responsibility....It's not like Obama takes the blame for any of his other countless failures.

    October 29, 2013 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  3. James P. Barber

    Just say no, shut it down, stop every thing. The republican play book and their strategy for winning. Same old , same old..

    October 29, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  4. Charlie

    It's time to come clean and let the people know what happened if they did nothing wrong then why try to cover it up or hide it also find out why General Carter Ham who was in a position to offer assistance but was relieved of his duties for refusing to follow orders to stand down and not after assistance to those that died that day. That alone in my opinion if true is enough cause to impeach and arrest the President and all others involved in this melee..

    October 29, 2013 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  5. Joe

    This is great news. It is nice to know there are a few patriots left in this world. Congress needs to come together in a rare crossing of the isle and totally shut down Obama until the end of this miserable failed presidency.

    October 29, 2013 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  6. J R Brown

    The Administration does not have the authority to decide which testimony is "relevant" to Congress...that is expressly the reason that Congress has oversight responsibilities as a function of the checks and balances of our government. It is clear that the Obama Administration is perpetrating a cover-up by not allowing those who survived the attacks to be allowed to testify in front of Congress as to the events and how they unfolded.

    October 29, 2013 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  7. rconatser1

    Block...block...block... Same old, worthless GOP.

    October 29, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  8. B Porter

    It wouldn't matter if u supplied them with a video of the whole incident it would still not be enough. They want it spun so it seems that the dems and the pres are hiding something and that they are totally inept

    October 29, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  9. Mr Dalloway

    The GOP continues to implode, and that's a good thing

    October 29, 2013 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  10. Whitley

    Yeah, because obstructing the operation of government worked so well.

    October 29, 2013 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  11. jeremywbott

    It would seem that President Obama is not fully aware what is going on during his watch. Between Benghazi, ACA technology problems, IRS, GSA etc..etc...it could be construed that his nice guy persona is allowing Agency Heads to take advantage of this character trait. Either way, as Commander/CEO he is responsible for his appointees actions and that is why Graham is blocking the process. I think Obama needs to show some cojones and clean house if he was to show leadership...and I say this as a Moderate Democrat

    October 29, 2013 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  12. John

    Republicans are going to have to learn that they can no longer block the government from functioning in order to try and get their way. One thing is for certain. They aren't going to become the White House administration any longer until they start acting rational.

    October 29, 2013 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  13. smc

    Nobody apparently told Graham that Republicans have already been blocking everything in government since Obama took office.

    October 29, 2013 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  14. Hexdragon

    There is an old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times." Everyday these times get more and more interesting.... and confusing....

    October 29, 2013 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  15. sparky

    Yes Lindsey Wagner, please block all you want! It'll only help you repukes die off faster!

    October 29, 2013 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  16. longtooth

    As one who voted for Obama twice, I am puzzled as to why we don't just have the damn hearing and see what happens. All Americans are sick of political football on both sides of the aisle. If I want to watch football, I'll watch the Patriots, right after the Sox win the Series. Democratic stonewalling only succeeds in making a pandering hack like Graham look like a hero.

    October 29, 2013 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  17. skytag

    This is childish. Not only does this affect the government's ability to function, Republicans block appointments and then complain when things don't work as well as we'd like.

    October 29, 2013 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  18. Craig in Pa.

    This clown will be out on the street next election cycle.......

    October 29, 2013 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  19. bob wapelhorst

    republicans have no answer to the presidents continued mismanagement of government. his standard answer of"i was not aware" or " it is someone else fault" is amazing. the US needs someone who has had some management experience, not just a great campaigner. republicans are frustrated and resorted to low probability tactics

    October 29, 2013 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  20. Mike S., New Orleans

    A Republican blocking? Shocking!!

    October 29, 2013 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  21. Bug

    Vote that witch hunter Graham out.

    October 29, 2013 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  22. Gaats

    Wonder where Graham's righteous indignation was while bush /Cheney was lying us into two illegal wars?

    October 29, 2013 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  23. peavey

    So you let the War In Iraq go unaccounted for, but Benghazi still bothers you?

    right....

    October 29, 2013 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  24. jeremywbott

    As fathers, we are given the most precious gift and responsibility of the Kingdom, to raise our children to understand and develop the fruits of the Spirit. The greatest challanges in this responsibility is to feed the Spirit concurrent to starving the flesh and its desires within his house to include himself. The fact that our President does not know what is going on within his House (Dept. Heads trying to get away with not informing the CEO) is likened to a father who is too busy trying to appease his friends at the local tavern rather than to take care of his home (Appointees). I am no fan of the GOP nor Graham due to questionable racist undertones, but good leadership transcends all colors, creeds and cultures. What Mr. Obama needs to understand is that He has to take responsibility for His Appointees mistakes and allow some Grace but it should be with extreme caution.

    October 29, 2013 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  25. wronglong

    Another example of the GOP strategy. They didn't like the ACA so instead of working to change what they don't like, they close down the country by not voting on the debt limit. Now Graham wants to resurrect the Benghazi tragedy so instead of reviewing the facts already presented to Congress he wants to obstruct the nomination process. The gop keeps looking like spoiled children that hold their breath when they can't get their way.

    October 29, 2013 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
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