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. CJPA

    Isn't he just a piece of work!! Is there someplace he and Sarah can go together and reminisce about the good ol' days? He is just a mean, spiteful, vengeful old man filled with sour grapes and still mad he lost in 2008. Come to think of it, he and Romney should go someplace to lick their wounds and GET OVER IT!!

    November 15, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. OldSchool

    Temper tantrum. As much as the Republicans are trying to turn this into some grand conspiracy and make it a bigger issue than it really is it's not going to work, and the majority of the American public are not falling for the charade (except those who only get their "news" from Faux News anyways).

    November 15, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. downtown

    It's time for you John the PAIN to retire and go Home to AZ The USA has had enough is enough. YOU ARE A POOR LOSER. Never been the Same since you Picked Palin and Lost so go Home

    November 15, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  4. Y-Town JoJo

    McCain is the same guy that voted Condlezza Rice in as Sec of State after she spewed misinformation on WMDs in Iraq and I believe 5000 men and women lost their lives. Has he ever commented about THAT fiasco? The circus never changes with the RePubs, only the clowns and McCain is certainly making himself look like a clown.

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

    I usually leave dusty curmudgeons alone.

    November 15, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  6. Don't Like John McCain

    "bruised" ego . . .

    November 15, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. givemeglenn

    I guess he was too "busy" preparing his comments for the press to find fault with the President rather than actually getting the details he was complaining he didn't have enough of. What a freaking hypocrite; oh wait...he IS a Republican, isn't he?

    November 15, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. Bringiton1

    McCain, McCain, McCain...waddle ...waddle ...waddle ...bicker...bicker.....bicker . Just plain worthless!!!

    November 15, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. jim

    Shane, your tears taste so sweet Mmmmmm. Please cry more for us, Oh and tell me more about how Obama is responsible for everything form Cancer to Satan. Mmm, sweet salty tears of DENIAL. Oh yes, cry for me. Mmmmm.

    November 15, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. seerwavn

    Mccain and Company is not going to let facts interfere with a conspiracy theory and witch hunt!

    November 15, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. jbs1951

    papenez, you nailed it right on the head. While I often (but not always) disagreed with him, I always respected him and was willing to listen to what he said. Then came 2008 and he's been on an out-of-control downward spiral since.

    November 15, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  12. dobermantmacleod

    Yeah, MacCain is sooo upset about Benghazi. He and other Republicans are cynically using this tragic situation for political gain, not in a quest to help or improve America. Shame on him and his fellow ossified Republican Senators. Country first, huh??

    November 15, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. vj

    John, please do not waste tax payers money. Remember we pay your salary.

    November 15, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. GaryS

    Anyone who thinks the administration is giving out facts at this point vs covering their butt is grossly mistaken.

    November 15, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. jOE

    To Shane – do you remember that Bush had less people vote for him than against him, yet he was still President of the United State for all Americans (and he got to screw us all by starting wars and destroying the economy).

    November 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. Loathstheright

    Angry old man shakes his fist at the clouds.

    November 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. Terri

    @BIFF – you are SOOOO spot on! Fox Bubble world is where they all belong and are all losing it big time because of it!

    November 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. Fareed

    GOP Tea Party House of Cards!

    November 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. Daniel

    I don't like the guy, but in his defense, old people are are grumpy. He should take a nap before speaking to the media.

    November 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. scott

    u repugs would like to think that....that the president should be impeached...but senator mccain has proven over and over again, he is just an angry old white guy who will never be president

    November 15, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. Joi Gibson

    This man is an embarrassment. If he is really concerned and wants the truth, then he should have been in the briefing. This is all political posturing. Pure and simple!!!

    November 15, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. Jack

    Dementia frequently manifests in random bouts of irrational anger and agitation. Of course, so does being the world's biggest sore loser and throwing your own dignity out the door daily. Sad sack.

    November 15, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. Luke

    John McCain is an arrogant miserable numbskull who finished last in his class at Annapolis, proceeded to crash five military aircraft and would never have gone far in the Navy if his father had not been an Admiral and if he hadn't been shot down by the North Vietnamese and spent over five years in captivity. He accuses Susan Rice of not "being very smart" but he is the one who doesn't have a clue about any important issue. Time for him to retire to one of his many homes. He is only serving to divide our country by his his hatred and anger.

    A Vietnam Vet.

    November 15, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. jem55

    Senator McCain illustrates why it's time he retires. AZ needs some fresh new ideas and the men and women to bring them forth. He should have been at that breifing, after all, he complacined the most about Rice.

    November 15, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. Bill Balmer

    I have the greatest respect for the history of service that John McCain has for this country. But, since his loss to Obama in 2008 John McCain has become a vengeful, angry old man who manufactures any opening he can to make trouble for Obama. He is no longer doing the country any favors and has outlived his public service usefulness.

    November 15, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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