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. people are so dumb it hurts

    mccain, how far you've fallen...

    November 15, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    let me get this . So the adminastration that started the lie has called a breifing to update the lie

    November 15, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. Jim

    joshua – Benghazi clearly isn't important to McCain if there are no cameras.

    November 15, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  4. pdough

    When Obama went on The View instead of meeting with Bibi Netanyahu of Israel, Wolf and his reporters never drew attention to that.

    November 15, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. david esmay

    McCain you also have an obligation to the people you supposedly serve. You're on our time and our dime.

    November 15, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. levi

    I really wish Lindsey Graham would come out of the closet. Geez, have you heard him speak. It's like funny gay, not funny Ha Ha.

    November 15, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. pburkart

    McCain is still sore over losing the 2008 election and he didn't attend the meeting because he didn't want to hear the truth about Benghazzi. Instead, he'll play the ignorant card (which all GOP members who continually bring this issue up will do) to try and score some make believe political points.

    The truth about Benghazzi:

    Terrorists attacked US Officials.


    Because President Obama has re-focused the US Military on the terrorists since he took office. And the terrorists are not happy about it.

    What is the terrorists "BIG" picture agenda:

    To kill Americans or weaken America?

    The answer is:
    The terrorists want to "weaken" America. They killed 0.00000133333% of the American population that day. But, the GOP's constant need to put down the Democrats anyway possible, instead of work with them, has made this very minor attack into a HUGE divisive issue.

    If the GOP doesn't get their priorities straight and realize that the Democrats are not the enemy, this country will become the next Roman Empire...History!

    November 15, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. drkent3

    McCain seems to have forgotten that a Senator is not a nobleman – he answers to the public, and the public very definitely has a right to know what his schedule is, particularly when he has helped make this issue so public. I bet if Obama had made such a statement he would be howling about it right now.

    November 15, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  9. Jarhead4life

    The once noble senator mccain has become as much a wack job as birther boy trump. mccain is an ancient relic. he has taken up the hatred banner of the gop. And who in the hell are you mr mccain to claim that you speak for all Veterans. YOU DO NOT. The power has gone to his head or dimentia is setting in. He is long past the time that he should have left DC. No surprise he hails from hatred USA – aka Arizona. Absolutely no excuse for any of the gop to have missed this meeting if it is as big a deal as they claim. Oh wait – its not. IE the reason they skipped it. Scheduling error my A$$. He had no problem remembering to show up for his self serving press conference.

    November 15, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  10. Jeff

    The Obama is trying to cover up the entire things – It's been 8 weeks and the President still says "The investigation is underway" – I don't blame McCain at all – he's a War Hero – what's Obama? just a liar!

    November 15, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  11. Senior

    John McCain! I am also from Arizona and even older than you, so I have the right to tell you to stop making a fool of yourself and sit down.

    November 15, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. Former Republican, now an Independent

    This further shows that McCain is not interested in hearing the facts, he is only interested in grandstanding to keep his name in the news. The country does not need another of these taxpayer funded, very expensive witch hunts by the republicans in congress. The people of AZ should look for a responsible candidate for their senator and run this old politician out of office.

    November 15, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. Sandy

    The GOP is obviously going to try to do to Obama what they did to the Clintons. Just keep badgering and throwing anything they can find in the hope that something sticks and that people will believe that where there is smoke there must be fire. But I'm one old white guy that ain't buying what they're selling. They don't want to govern; they just want to obstruct. They need to stop believing every stupid thing they think. McCain is just a bitter old schmuck, and Lindsay Graham is not much better. They don't want to solve problems; they only want to cause problems. This Benghazi thing is a joke already. To think that it warrants a "Watergate" Committee is absurd. McCain is not interested in the truth. If he were, he would've gone to the damn briefing. Can we shut these guys up and get on with trying to solve problems like adults? It's amazing that they are making Obama look like a freakin' statesman already. McCain should be checked for dementia.

    November 15, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. gus

    It is scarry that this is the new America. people like you and McCain who dont care about little things like evidance before making up your mind about something. Your type posts things on the web and facebook as if it was fact and the rest of you Idiots believe it. Any efforts to give you the real truth are brushed aside as lies and conspiracy.
    And like in this case, you dont even make an effort to listen .

    November 15, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Elvis Jones

    Sen. McCain and four other Republican Senators skipped out on a classified briefing about Benghazi for the Senate Homeland Security committee. For his part McCain instead of performing his senatorial duties and attend this briefing, organizes a press conference to disseminate conspiracy theories about Benghazi. In a rare instance of journalism McCain gets called on his blatant hypocrisy and promptly has a public temper tantrum. Not to worry though Senator, Wolf Blitzer is there to shrug, say we all make mistakes, and cash another check from the GOP. I'm not sure which of the two is more contemptible.

    November 15, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  16. nitpicker

    I think the "scheduling problem" was that someone deigned to schedule work for McCain when he wanted to be in front of the camera. Silly, people. The media is his base and he must speak to them every single day.

    November 15, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. Laurie

    Only 3 of the 8 GOP members of the committee investigating this attack showed up for the meeting being conducted by diplomatic, military and counter-terrorism officials! Oh, yeah, they are so concerned about what happened, they want to get to the bottom of it, they want to hear all of the explanations, but they decide to skip this where they could hear and talk to military and counter-terrorism officials. Why? Even if it turns out to be unproductive, why not go see? Same old story- let's be partisan and get nothing done for the country. Back to the future, everyone.

    November 15, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  18. Fat Michelle

    CNN is vile and disgusting – so glad they are going ou of business Get your rsume together Soledud the ignorant racist

    November 15, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. Dan in Florida

    Political hypocrisy is standard operating procedure and John McCain and Co. are poster children. I guess the intelligence failures that brought us Sept. 11 and the Iraq war that cost THOUSANDS of lives was no big deal compared to 4 lives in Libya. John McCain is a mere angry old man who never met a war he didn't like and is still fighting in Vietman. He needs to retire and take his war-monger politicians with him! He's a disgrace to this country.

    November 15, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  20. karin

    Who needs to hear actual facts when you can just make up your own reality as you go along? Poor McCain, I say out with the old, in with the new.

    November 15, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. Robert

    "classified briefing by administration official" McCain wants to find the truth no what the administration BS'er want the senators to believe. A special prosecutor is what is needed, no a song and dance from Obama puppets.

    You leftists/socialist think you won? Wait thill we hit the streets.

    November 15, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. Terry Vann

    Disgraceful that a Senator so "concerned", would turn off his hearing aide and not attend a secure briefing!!
    Senator McCain has lost all credibility now. I suspected his attacks were motivated by politics first, and this
    only confirms that. It's a shame. I wanted to remember McCain as a Hero of the highest order, who continued
    to serve his Nation as a US Senator in a honorable fashion. This just isn't it.

    November 15, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. Zombie McCain

    John "I've crashed more planes than Al Qaeda" McCain, trying desperately (and failing) to remain relevant.

    November 15, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. Pookey

    McCain's time has passed. He needs to go home and stay there and let his trophy wife serve him milk and cookies.

    November 15, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    McCain always was and always will be a spoiled brat who whines when he doesn't get his way. Graduated fifth from the bottom from Annapolis and only got a carrier assignment because his dad and grandfather were admirals ... crashed two multi-million-dollar jets before he was shot down; anybody else would have been grounded (again, the family connections prevailed) ... yes, he suffered as a POW for over five years, but look what he did with his experience? Traded on it, first by trading in the wife that stood by his side while he was a prisoner and has spent the rest of his life gaining fame and fortune off of his notoriety as a POW.

    I don't respect him and haven't since he tucked his tail and sucked up to Jerry Falwell as a requisite to be the GOP 2008 presidential nominee. Then to agree to the Quitta from Wasilla as a running mate ... what a pathetic shell of a man McCain has become ...

    November 15, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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