November 15th, 2012
03:32 PM ET
10 years 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. qwerty

    it is becoming painfully obvious that all the hillbillies are coming down from the mountains to desperately defend every stupid gop argument ... unfortunately for these gop bigots and hypocrites, their kind is fast diminishing ... infact it is forecasted that white hillbillies will become the ethnic minority in the next 20 years ... you know what that means – soon other people will be hiring these white hillbillies to clean the toilets and sewers in the country! can't wait!

    November 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Jim

    McCain has been diminished in my eyes. He has been beating the Benghazi drum since it happened. He makes it sound like the president intentionally knew about this situation and decided the allow the ambassador and staff to be killed. He started this as a partisan attack during the end of the campaign for president and now is stuck having to appear billigerant. He and Lindsay Graham are really asking for more bad GOP press if they continue their assault on Ambassador Rice. As was said, two old white GOP guys beating up on a black woman is really going to be something to see. The old GOPdinosaurs are really clueless.

    November 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. calamity jane

    "I have the right as a senator to have no comment". But you really are in a position to answer to the American people who employ you. Remember, we are your boss. Not vice versa.

    November 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. Walkman

    What has happened to you younger people of this country? Are you all that stupid to not see what happened in Benghazi? Do you really think that was done over a file made in someone’s garage? CLUE # 1 …911 Clue # 2 rocket launcher. Come on

    November 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. Drake

    Obama's P.A.L.'s at work.

    November 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. Bob

    The entire republican party is like a bunch of used car salesmen blaming their customers for being too smart to buy the snake oil they're selling.

    November 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  7. pink hase

    Response to Kissit: Let take a look at General Petraeus, what exactly has he done: Using your name, Kissit, that is exactly what he did. He Kissed every inch of Paula. Big deal he had an affair. That is between him and his amazing wife Holly, not you or anyone else. He is one of the best General's in modern times. Because of him Kissit, your safe, and have the ability to sound off on things you either don't know or your just a parrot who regurgitates what every comes out of Limbaugh mouth. I am sure you have a brain, please use it.

    November 15, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. Chutzpah

    John McCain no longer has any credibility whatsoever. It really looks like he thinks he's going to make a name for himself by capitalizing on this tragic event.

    November 15, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. DENNA

    It is so hard to believe that McCain is still ticked by losing to President Obama four years ago. The GOP is hoping against hope that Benghazi turns into something. So they are now going to waste four years and millions of dollars trying to make that molehill into a mountain. Johnny Boy, there is real work to be done. Stop fooling around and put your back into trying to fix the mess W left. Get to work darnit!

    November 15, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. Eugene

    Seems to me like Mr. McCain thinks he is running for election again. Or perhaps he sees himself as the successor to Mitt Romney. McCain should shut up like Bush and retreat to his Arizona hideaway.

    November 15, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. Bocephus Moonshine

    You kids get off my lawn!

    November 15, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. mgbz

    stop paying these people so much money senator, congress, they all come with the best packages, cost of living increa$$$$$$$$

    November 15, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. steve blauner


    November 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. NameASmith

    Any senator that didn't show to the briefing just lost any remaining credibility. Guess what everybody, there will be no impeaching, and the President of the United States of America is an American of Kenyan ancestry. He isn't caucasian. He's been president for 4 years, and, WE, the American majority, just elected him for 4 more. Fall in line or head for Canada.

    November 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. stewart

    just another cry baby vote him out asap

    November 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  16. qwerty

    because mccain was unlucky & stupid enough to get blown out of the sky during the vietnam war does not make him a hero ... he may be a hero to the white hillbillies but he's definitely not an american hero!

    November 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  17. SBK

    If I were McCain, I would join some non profit organization and do some good community work, get out of politics. After all you want to do something good for the people. It is time for a change..

    November 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. Greg Johnston

    McCain, you old jerk...I too am a Vietnam vet and I'm also a taxpayer and I pay your wages (apparently for life) and absolutely think you owe your employers and answer. Scheduling....That's a joke that's in really poor taste. You obviously haven't got your priorities straight.

    November 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. volsocal

    No excuse, McCain. None.

    November 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. JohnRJohnson

    John McCain is a thin-skinned, bitter man who is probably still suffering from PTSD. He should never have gotten into politics. He doesn't have the temperament for it.

    November 15, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  21. Lori

    McCain, the American people do not want any more partisan roadblocks. Grow up and serve our country instead of trying your usual outdated bullying white man Republican nonsense. Look your Democratic colleagues in the eye and solve problems together.

    November 15, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. Rickhardyman

    I too miss the is so sad to see him just towing the tired party line. He does seem to be bittr about eveything. The Tea Party is killing the GOP.

    November 15, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  23. John

    Qwerty – I'm sure if you had your way, you would put the GOP in a concentration camps and revive the final solution on them.

    November 15, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  24. rymnd87

    Mccain is a grumpy old man who has not got over the thrashing he received from President Obama in 2008. He should chill out and have a beer with Romney, the loser this year!!

    November 15, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. Liz

    McCain needs to pick up his toys and go home.

    November 15, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
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