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. jkane sfl gop mascots the blubbering slobs allen west rover nitwitquest rick scott ,carl rove and donald dump ??????

    Mybe he had to go to the bathroom ,you know how it is when you get old .

    November 15, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. wwf

    Well well well. Yesterday according to McCain, the President, and I am quoting McCain. said "picking on" That they should "pick on him". Nope! Got it wrong again. That is not what the President said. I guess if McCain quotes it, then it must be true. What the GOP is doing with this whole mess stinks. Where are the committees for 911 where thousands were killed on our own soil. What about the committees for Katrina while Bush and McCain were flying around in a plane eating birthday cake? If they could, they would impeach the President. Too bad McCain has to look at the person that kicked his ass and now has to look at him for another 4 years. Should have stayed Bushes lap dog.

    November 15, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. Regressive

    Just shows that the GOP is not that interested in knowing what has happened just wanting to make an issue to score political points becasue God forbid that our Democratic President do anything right in their eyes, rather EVERYTHING Obama does is wrong somehow.

    Guess what GOP, you might look more relevant if you weren/t mired in so much HYPOCRISY (which to me equates to an integrity issue).

    November 15, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Rick

    Why does Arizona keep voting this guy in? He's clearly gone from wise statesman to bitter old coot.

    November 15, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Getoverit

    Funny how the media will press the issue with someone like McCain, but never Obama. Oh well, at least we know what Obama's favorite ice cream is....

    November 15, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. STFU McCain

    McCain needs to shut his old senile butt up and retire. Looks like an angry old white man to me. You lost the election toto Obama, and now Romney too. Go get some depends diapers and STFU!

    November 15, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Bill from GA

    McCain wants to make war with Susan Rice.

    When she appeared on TV Sunday following the attacks, she made her statements including the comment that our government, including the FBI, was STILL investigating to get the whole story. On NBC News, and all others probably, that disclaimer was conveniently ignored to make a better story.

    Whether fox propaganda network and the republicans in government didn't know, or just ignored the facts, is not clear. Their only goal is to embarrass our President.

    And, BTW, her version of Benghazi is exactly what appeared in the newspapers on Sept. 12, from Associated Press. Maybe House republicans should question the reporters, who had closer contacts on the ground. They claimed it was in response to the anti-Mohamed movie.

    Republicans aren't looking for the truth; it doesn't serve their purpose.

    November 15, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. sonny chapman

    A Briefing? We don't need no stinking briefing to know that whatever Obama did, it was wrong & Anti-American. Facts just clutter up the talking points.

    November 15, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |

    Just a bitter old man.....

    November 15, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. zanny

    Where was you "watergate type panel" when Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld led us into a war based on what is now a proven lie??? 4000+ Americans have died because of this lie and you stood on the side and cheered them on. Where was your outrage and investigation of Colin Powell when he went on tv and in front of the UN and spread the lie, which he did not kinow at the time it was a lie. You are still bitter because he ended the war in Iraq, are bringing trrops out of Afghanistan abnd will not start a war with Iran now. I promise when this is over you will look like a fool as you usually do After all, you are the one who sicked Sarah Palin on this country which led to the tea party which has ruined Congress. Bottom line – you lost because you were a weak candidate and so did Mitt Romney!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 15, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  11. Jim Hahn

    The sooner we get rid of this fossil, the better off the country will be. He didn't want to be in the briefing because Republicans have an aversion to the truth which undercuts they lies their kind depend on.

    November 15, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. Dannytelevision

    The senator from Arizona can dish it out but can't take it. Time for the old angry guy to call it quits...OMG it could have been McCain/Palin 2008

    November 15, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. Ellen

    So he wants information, only he does not want information?

    November 15, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. nick

    Sure those senators never showed up. They did'nt want facts. All their minds were alreay made up. McCain has gotten to be an old man who lost all credibility.

    November 15, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. Rebecca

    McCain is just an angry old man. He's wrong and he knows it. He should stand down and be quiet.

    November 15, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. J. W. Nicholson

    Time to leave Congress you snarkly old man, and take Lindsey Graham with you.

    November 15, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. v_mag

    If you need another indication that the right wingers learned nothing from the 2012 election, look no further than McCain and Graham. It is transparently evident that they are not interested in the truth about Libya. They only want something they can use against the President, who beat the pants off of them. They are interested in carrying on the McConnell War on our President, and they are not interested in solving the country's problems.

    November 15, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. sterlgsmith

    Hmmm...must not be as important as they would "like" it to be!!

    November 15, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  19. Concerned Ma, Resident

    What's wrong McCain, cat got your tongue?? All that fuss and you couldn't show up, or comment.. lol

    November 15, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. J

    And people thought that the GOP was serious about "investigating" the Benghazi incident. Guess not.

    November 15, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  21. zanny

    P.S. It is way past time for you, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell to retire. You are dinosaurs and need to go!!!!

    November 15, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. John McCant

    "So, my fellow Americans, you must realize that Barrack Obama is lyring to us about Benghazi, he's not..."
    "Sir, the intelligence briefing is about to start on Benghazi."
    "Can't it wait, man! We have to tell the WORLD how OBAMA is killing our jobs, erm, Diplomats! He's letting..."
    "Sir, you should really come to the meeting. It'll answer most questions you may..."
    "Don't Tell Me How To Use My Time!"

    November 15, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. Angry Irish

    So McShame was too busy playing politics to actually do the job he is hired to do and them whines that this attack needs investigated. Maybe he should attend the briefings he is suposed to attend and he would know the answers he wants investigated. Oh wait. That isn't the party line.

    November 15, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  24. joancj

    John McCain makes a career out of being "testy"...or could it be early dementia? I used to have such respect and affection for this man, but since his loss to President Obama has obviously unhinged him. He is no longer effective as the "sweet voice of reason"...the only comments he makes are totally unreasonable. It's pathetic and very sad....

    November 15, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. TexAnne

    Wait, McCain is livid about what did or didn't happen surrounding the Benghazi attack & raises he** about not being kept "informed" yet then he chooses to intentionally skip going to a briefing by top officials. Doesn't that strike you as just a bit juvenile & stupid? Obviously the Republicans learned nothing last week– and just choose to continue posturing & ranting without engaging their brains or exercising any common sense.

    November 15, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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