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. BLKMANinAmerica

    He and all the sorry repuks really need to STOP playing games with the American people. These yoyo's get paid good money for games with the American people? FIRE each of them America this country deserves so much better from so called 'leaders'.

    November 15, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. J

    Isn't there something more pressing relating to the economy they should all be focusing on.

    If you break it down by the numbers, many more Americans have been dying for years in Iraq and Afghanistan and no one from the GOP seemed to care.

    November 15, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. Regressive

    I think he should be charged with "Misleading the American People"

    November 15, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. Greg

    Sounds like McCain is racist. Why in the world would you waste even more precious tax payer money OH and time with an obvious falsified witch hunt? Let the committees that already exist do their job and accept the fact that Obama was re-elected.

    November 15, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. sayer

    Don't boo, VOTE the GOP out of congress!!! They do nothing but obstruct and waste time. We need to move FORWARD.

    November 15, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. zee

    His missed it purposely. President Barack Hussein Kardashian is a criminal and Msgr Mccain does not associate with common criminals

    November 15, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. neville

    This is typical of Senator McCain. All bluster and blame. This would be a time for him to examine his patriotic instincts and ask whether he isn't just trying to prove himself right rather than thinking about the highest interests of his country.

    November 15, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. JustWho

    It's time for McCain to retire or take a long walk on a short pier.

    November 15, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. Kissit

    spay and neuter your local liberal

    November 15, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. ShawnDH

    Classic John McBitter. What a sad, sad spectacle he has become.

    November 15, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. Stella1

    McCain should retire, he is too old. Why do the old people in Arizona keep sending him?

    November 15, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. RAKOOI

    Poor old John McCain. 4 Years Ago, a Republican presidential Contender...a few years before that an UnIndicted CoConspiritor in the Savings and Load Scandal that also cost millions of Americans life Savings and Retirements(George W.Bushes brother, Neal, made a fortune in that scandal...which is why he never campaigned for W).
    If he Can't help his billionaire friends, he gets Crabby and Vindictive.

    November 15, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. Hunter

    I definitely believe in term limits. Sen McCain and his overrated continuing verbage as a Prisoner of War wouldnt have happen if he had followed orders not to fly in that particular air zone (crashed 2 jets in his career) and THAT IS A FACT. His arrogance and laziness is sooo true Republican floating on an air cushion lacking FACTS. DO YOUR JOB Sen McCain and stop acting like a "my way or not" petulant spoiled brat. The more you speak it is sooo apparent you have no urgence not concern to offer any resolve to our nations issues, you only offer snarky disrespectful bites to the nation and to the Presidency which you got a butt kicking in 2008 (a year you will never forget) and you still havent gotten over yourself. You turned a blind eye on the wrecklessness of your buddy Bush. SHAME ON YOU AND ARIZONA for sending your flat butt back to the senate. SHAME ON YOU

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

    You forget when the 4 Americans were dieing Obama took of to a fund raiser.

    November 15, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. Pander Bear

    McCain is still smarting from Obama stomping him in 2008 so he's going full force on this witch hunt. More of the same from the GOP – no answers, just roadblocks to progress.

    November 15, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  16. kenyetta doyle

    They are using this people death to score brownie points for the 2014 election. He was a Democratic diplomat. I don't believe he was hurt by the man's death. I didn't work during the election and it not going to work now.

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

    McCain was once a public servant. Now he is a public disgrace.

    November 15, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  18. JC

    Come to think of it... most of the Republicans were missing from the briefing? We know there isn't any congressional work being done, hasn't been in years. What were they doing on taxpayers money. Mr McCain can you please show up and do something for America other then take a paycheck, great health benefits and a retirement plan I wish I had.

    November 15, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. wjmccartan

    So let's get this straight its a scheduled meeting of all the top people involved with the tragedy, but the guy making the most noise decided to talk to the press, but when he was asked about that decision he won't talk to the media. At one time I had a fair amount of respect for this veteran, but I think he's losing his marbles.

    November 15, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. SeriousBlack

    Poor little johnny...some advice below:

    "Empty barrels make the most noise" ..shut up already!

    November 15, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. Bayousara

    McCain is mentally incompetent to be a US senator now. This outburst and his refusing to explain his being missing from an important briefing makes him sound like he thinks he is a king, not a public servant! He owes CNN an apology and he needs to be reprimanded by the US Senate for his outburst. He needs to be reminded what his JOB is and that he no one special!

    November 15, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. Jazzylove

    If the Republicans want to know the truth, they want to hear it from the only truthful source, Fox news!

    November 15, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. LMW1964

    Why didn't he just give the honest answer? "Because I don't WANT to know the truth!"

    November 15, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  24. cedar rapids

    How can the gop moan about the administration telling lies when they arent even there to hear what is being said by members of the administration?

    November 15, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  25. Nwahs

    McCain has since passed his time and relevance-remember the his judgement ,if you can call it that when he picked Sarah P for VP running mate-(It's time to take it to the house) Go now while you can still save face.

    November 15, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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