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. martin

    to bad that reporter wasn't around to ask Obama why he lied about the coverup for two weeks

    November 15, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. anonymous

    "...skipped an classified briefing by administration officials on the incident Wednesday"

    Perhaps he skipped it becuase it was provided by the very folks he claims are witholding the truth. So the reporter is really pushing hard on an angle that involves optics rather than pushing hard on the substance of the meeting itself...we would have been better served if he had been hammering on one of the attendees (I don't care...D or R) to find out what he could about this whole affair. This article has done nothing for me in terms of finding out the truth...just a waste of time to satisfy you guys in the "gotcha" crowd. Feel better now? Four guys are still dead and we have no idea if the same thing wouldn't just happen again.

    November 15, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Anonymous

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

    The only information McCain wants is what twirls around under his tinfoil hat. Facts aren't his friend and never were. To use this incident as political fodder is pathetic. Graham and McCain not attending the meeting was inexcusable. Neither of them ought to comment further since they couldn't be bothered enough to clear their schedule for the briefing.

    November 15, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. Marie

    I have said all I am going to say about Little John. He's irrelevant to this country's future. I will however comment on how proud I am of my fellow Americans that have finally awakened and are seeing that we are the only ones who can take our nation back and that includes those of the Republican Party who are still representing with grace, dignity, intelligence and rational thought in spite of being dragged to hell and back by the obviously insane who have overthrown the party and are the only faces you see paraded around on every tv station in the country competing with "Snooki" for air time.

    November 15, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. Zil Zerimar

    Where is the OLD MAN during the briefing? Having afternoon delight?

    November 15, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. waikikijohn

    time for Senator McCain to stop looking like a fool. He still can;t get over the fact of losing 4 yrs ago.

    November 15, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. C.lawley

    The media approves anything the Demos do ,right or wrong! Why?The country is broke and they promote a Santa Clause for President.It is so sad and wrong.Demos can not handle the truth.

    November 15, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. Oh look a russian SAM is heading stright for me

    McCain has demonstrated incredibly bad decision-making capabilities thoughout his entire life; starting with getting shot down over Viet Nam. He sells out fellow POWs. He thought Palin was presidential material. And he forgets to go to important meetings on issues of National Security.

    November 15, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. mikithinks

    McCain, like Fox is just beating the war drums. He say that he wants the truth, then won't even spend two hours listening to the answers. He would rather spout off to the press about Rice and her being on the TV than listen to a confidential briefing. He used to be a hero. Perhaps we all should have paid more attention when his mother spoke of McCain's abilities.

    November 15, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. Arlen

    Why is anyone still listening to this grumpy old kook? Didn't he react with rage toward Obama's word choice "not optimal" before that particular interview even aired? He's an angry, grumpy old man with nothing intelligent to contribute to the discourse.

    November 15, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. Kissit

    Wonder what Barack Oliedtoya next grand scheme is going to be. Maybe he will star this mass genocide of the people and blame it on the Repblicans.

    November 15, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. Hcall

    McCain earned the right to write his own schedule in a Vietnam prison camp.He cares more for the vets and military than you can fathom. Disagree with him if you like but attacking him is cowardice.

    November 15, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. Jim

    I used to have great respect for John McCain.

    Then he was nominated for president, inflicted Sarah Pailin on America, and is now just an angry old man screaming at people younger than him (which is everyone) to get off his lawn.

    November 15, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. John

    That all Republican really do Is Complain but really don't care,they just what to Complain about president Obama. How come that house Committee didn't know how many Marine was there In Libya.

    November 15, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. Mike

    Typical...banging the drums to blame the president, but too busy to go to a meeting to get some work done. New Senate Rules: your time speaking on the floor is limited to bills and laws...not to get up there and just bluster, not paying you for that. I think most politicians forgot the reason they were voted for: to do the bidding of the people. McCain has now lost my last shred of respect for him.

    November 15, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. hobartjones

    John McCain is the poster child for all who would like to see term limits imposed on all Congressmen. He is UN-American. Read the Rolling Stone article about him that was never disputed or challenged. He graduated 894th out of a class of 899!
    He was born on 3rd base and still thinks he hit a triple!

    November 15, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Kissit

    John Mccain is more of a hero then any of these liberals will ever be. The only thing they are proud of is how far out their hand is.

    November 15, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. jj319

    Mr. McCain, you are an embarrassment to the state of Arizona! Get over the fact that you lost to Obama in '08 and move on, if you can't do that then it is time for you to "self-deport" out of the Senate to one of your 7 homes, preferably not any of the ones in Arizona. Oh, and while you are at it, take Govenor Brewer and that Senator Flake (what an appropriate name) with you.

    November 15, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. markiejoe

    Isn't it time for McCain to be retired? He's outlived his useful in Congress and to the public. Become a private citizen, John.

    November 15, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. CommonSense 12

    McCain is a swore olde loser and it's a shame that he makes so much noise and then he's totally empty inside! Lord knows this country could have had him come behind Prayer definitely works!!!

    November 15, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. MKg

    It's time for Senator McCain to retire. After everything he said about Bengazi, he should have been there to hear the experts explain. As Doug in NYC said, we do have the right. The press has the right. Remember it was the people that put you there.

    November 15, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. kevin

    The lmost recent Obama victory seems to have rubbed some salt in an old wound! Silly old man. He calls himself a hero for getting shot down in a plane I paid for and then sucked on the government teat the rest of his life. Sorry Johnny, heros have dignity, you have none left. I read Game change!

    November 15, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. nitrous

    Boy am I tired of old cranky white guys ruining, I mean running this country.

    November 15, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. GW

    Bitter old man.

    November 15, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. AnAmericanWHocares

    He doesn't want to know about Ben Ghazi ,he just wants to play politics

    November 15, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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