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. Barry

    McCain probably had to shoot more illegals running over the border and plotting to pay no taxes.

    CNN – a liberal, Obama buddy. Anyone reading these articles and thinking it's "truth" better get their heads checked.

    November 15, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. ToldUso

    He's just a little tired from yellin' at those kids to get off his lawn.

    November 15, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. Everyman

    I'm glad that a Senator that was elected by the citizens can tell us that he doesn't have to explain himself to the same citizens. I guess we are just not worthy of the Prince's time! 🙂

    November 15, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. Ruth

    Fox News desperately tried to make Benghazi an issue, they are still trying. They didn't give this much coverage to 911 where over 3000 people died on American soil under the watch of a Republican president. If Bengazhi could have been prevented, 911 could have been prevented also, if Intelligence was perfect but it is not. There were specifics warnings about 911. Security was beefed up only after an attack happened despite the fact that there was chatter on the internet that planes would be used to conduct an act of terror. Security will be better at Embassies after this attack, we seem to learn from our mistakes.

    November 15, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. joshua

    who was in charge of the security of our embassy? mccain or obama? who lied about it for two weeks? what's more important, being the president who failed our embassy staff and sat by while they were murdered, or missing a briefing about the president not doing his job?

    November 15, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. Ken Margo

    Joshua stop watching fox news. You're letting whack jobs steer you in directions that lead to total confusion. Let The hearings happen, let the info get out and then form a independent and honest view of what actually happened.

    November 15, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. gus

    Just syin
    this was a briefing by a group of people not affiliated with either political party and with nothing to gain by covering anything up. Yet most of the Republicans refused to attend. The election is over, you can stop screaming conspiracy now.

    November 15, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. rker321

    This whole thing is turning more dangerous than many want to realize, I can just see McCain trying very hard to have a Waterwate investigation with the purpose to see if they can impeach Obama.
    They will not let go, and try to make this the scandal of the year, and will implicate Obama and see if they can get rid of him by the way of impeachment.

    November 15, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Ruby Gumm

    McCain just can´t seem to get over the fact that twice in a row a white man has lost the election to a black man. <if you press him hard enough, CNN, maybe the bitter old man will have a stroke. Nah...that´s too much to hope for.

    November 15, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. Adele W

    Just a big bag if wind. RETIRE

    November 15, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Jazzylove

    Being a hero is not an absolute. He needs to retire before he turns into a goat.

    November 15, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. Learn to Fish

    Glad the media is spending their time playing GOTCHA! with McCain while the Obama administration tap dances around Benghazi. Dear Leader is pleased.

    November 15, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. PMD

    Where's the outrage for the false justification to go to war in Iraq, which resulted in the deaths of thousands?

    November 15, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  14. DENNA

    @ – 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.
    Your post is so childish. You must be one of those white males who has found himself obsolete. Please guys, chill. You may not be in the majority anymore, but you don't see white male Democrats whining. The Democrats attracted the best of the best white males. They are joined by other white and ethnic men and women who want to see America grow. We did not want to see the election bought by the Kochs, Sheldon Adelson or any of the other power brokers. We did not want to see Grover Norquist become the de facto king of America. Come join us. God bless America!

    November 15, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. ferret out the BS

    He should've been at the briefing, the media now has the fodder to roast him for shooting his mouth off with unfounded allegations if they choose to do so.

    November 15, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. Kirtan

    Still absent of course is any follow up from the Obama media on why he has lied to the American public repeatedly about Benghazi. You can get everything thing else here from CNN/White House press office.

    November 15, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    When there appears to be, a cover up of some sort, on this affair.......why would he be inclined to listen to lies about it?

    November 15, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. Arun

    The old fart needs to retire. He used to be someone I might vote for in 2000, but has flipped on most of the issues that made him a middle of the road senator. Hey John, do a Mitt and go away!!!! Your time has passed!!

    November 15, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. Jim

    I can't be bothered listening to your answers while I'm complaining about your refusal to answer.

    November 15, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. joshua

    why did obama fly to las vegas while our embassy was being burned to the ground? wasn't the life of a United States ambassador imortant enough to stop and send help?

    November 15, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Sarah Palin

    Don't worry about John, he's just gettin' a llittle mavericky.

    November 15, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. Shirley

    McCain needs to ask the people he represents whether he should attend or not. That's the problem. We vote them in and then they tell us. They don't ask. Something has to change!!!!

    November 15, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. V in Chicago

    McCain needs to retire. He is out of touch with the 21 Century and lashing out like that is very unprofessional. No way for a Senator to act. Retire John, you're life will be easier.

    November 15, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. Chutzpah

    it must be said... HUNDREDS killed in the Fast and Furious program? Last I heard all the hysteria was over ONE death. The Republicans must be wetting themselves in excitement because they've got four deaths this time.

    November 15, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  25. rs

    Why would McCain want to know the truth? He's waaaay to happy living his conspiracy. He is sybolic of the GOP-"don't confuse me with facts, boys, I know what I believe".

    Too bad he didn't have the spine to do that when Bush lied about WMDs.

    November 15, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
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