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. Carol

    JMF: Have you ever attended a briefing? Do you know what goes on in a briefing in the WH? You are assuming waaaayyy too much.

    November 15, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. Richard Wad

    Why doesn't CNN ask Obama why we didn't save our own in Libya?
    John McCain should not be the target here.
    So this shows the typical CNN bias.

    November 15, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. martin from ohio

    what a joke

    November 15, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. Don't Like John McCain

    You are so right, Wayne! McCain, McConnell, Boehner, Hatch, Graham and the list goes on and on and on! They are killing America!

    November 15, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. This country is going down hill fast

    Old Fool. Just another example of why this country needs term limits.

    November 15, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. Bill

    Senator McCain should have just said NO COMMENT. It was a classified briefing and not something the media should have previa to anyway, and I am more a democrat then a republican. The media knows the rules and tries to press these folks for information that is not to be provided to the media or the public until it is determined to be unclassified.

    The media don't run our country, but they sure have influence on the minds of the public by getting them to believe everything they hear and see on the TV box.

    November 15, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. California Gary

    John McCain is not one to let facts get in the way of a good "rant"........what this shows is that he really has no interest in the facts of the matter, only in scoring political points against the man that burst his bubble in 2008. Petty doesn't even begin to describe his actions. And the boob from South Carolina will regret hitching his wagon to makes him look foolish too.

    November 15, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  8. bigfoot

    McCain is obviously still upset he LOST to Obama and he wants to bring him down. There is NEVER going to be a special prosecutor on this.

    November 15, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  9. Joshua Ludd

    Well... I guess when you already know what you want to believe about it there is no need to find out what actually happened.

    November 15, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  10. Don't Like John McCain

    John McCain placed the bulls' eye on his own chest! He needs to get over himself!

    November 15, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  11. martin from ohio

    wont even let me post anything negative towards cnn one sided coverage

    November 15, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  12. Cleood

    McCain is such a disappointment. What ever happened to the principled guy that he used to be ?

    November 15, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. Jake

    At what point does McCain realize that it's time to hang it up and retire? Let a fresh mind and fresh eyes look at how best to serve America as McCain is neither fresh in mind or eyes. He's stuck in some WWII mindset and hasn't had a good idea in 40 years. Do the country a favor and get out already.

    November 15, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  14. RobinMO

    McCain and other repubs are not interested in the truth.

    November 15, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  15. Casey

    Absolutely no one that I know of cares about ths. Diplomats take the job knowing the dangers, especially this one. As a retired military officer I'm tired of State Department people belly aching about how dangerous their job is. Suck it up.

    November 15, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  16. Carol

    "Says he demands answers on bengazi yet skips hearing. then takes out his nasty hatred on reporters"
    He really made a fool out of himself by not attending the meeting. Not the mark of a statesman. What a joke!

    November 15, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  17. tupperhouse

    past his due date

    November 15, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  18. Don't Like John McCain

    All of my negative comments about McCain are "awaiting moderation." Still . . . .

    November 15, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. EPAB

    McCain has turned into just another bitter old white Republican. A shame really.

    November 15, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  20. hoofleau

    Forget McCain, He was lame and didn't want the job as President anyway. You could tell by his campaign. He was afraid of the responsibility the job demands. You could see it.

    November 15, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. joshua

    we know the democrats are liars. two full weeks of lies. why would this meeting be any different?

    November 15, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. Carol

    RichardWAD: This article is about John McCain skipping a very important meeting. Get it????

    November 15, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. Anti-Republican

    Go away, McSenator!

    November 15, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. Chaerlotte

    Petulant because he suspects that when the facts come out, it will prove his lies are exactly that – lies – with unequivocal evidence, timelines, recordings, and so forth. He's trying SO hard to remain relevant and is resorting to belligerence and stuck-out lower lip obstinance because it isn't going his way. So instead he tries to redirect, obfuscate and scream for a Watergate-level investigation. He has bought into the FOX News mantra that if you know something is a lie, it doesn't matter, if you say it often enough and forecefully enough, it will become true.

    November 15, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  25. sara

    McCain said that Condilezza Rice was given wrong intel information where thousands DIED....She claim Iran had a Nuclear weapon. McCain doesn't have any integrity and Americans are still parading him around as a "hero" because he fought in Viet Nam. My husband did too and he had more morals and principals than McCain would ever have.

    This is personal because of the election he lost....back in 2008. I guess he's somewhere "blinking at the walls" by now.....Maybe the American people should ask him to resign since his district is all republican and while we're at it.....Linda Graham should too. He's been unchallenged for years and years....Sucking up air and getting $175,000 per year to do it. They are PITIFUL

    November 15, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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