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. Helena Montana

    I am so very relieved President Obama & VP Biden were reelected. That is all.

    November 15, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. NameYugotabsougly


    November 15, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. NavyAirVet

    Funny how Democrats want to gloss over Benghazi without a review or details of the rescue mission's failure to launch. They are too concerned about getting free stuff from the government to care about our National Security and matters that adversely affect our embassy's personnel safety, worldwide.

    November 15, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. it must be said

    amazingly.... the obama administration has investigated itslef and determined it has performed to the highest standards. only 4 people died this time instead of the hundreds that died in the illegal fast and furious international gun running program. yes, nothing to see here. move along. they will clean up the bodies and it will all be ok.

    November 15, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. 4sanity

    McCain grandstanding as usual. Nothing new to see here. Move on.

    November 15, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. Jules

    So John McCain held a press conference at the time of the hearings and well ... after all his blustering, the hearings weren't as important as his press conference. This man used to be a hero of mine, now he is just a bitter old man. Time to retire, John, and get rid of that baggage you're carrying around.

    November 15, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. jake

    This guy has lost all credibility. Go home mcCain..your village want its idiot back. still not over your landslide loss to Obama i see. Loser!!

    November 15, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Republican Class Warfare

    What a travesty...McCain obviously doesn't care about the four dead Americans or justice for them...he merely wants a witch hunt for the newly re-elected POTUS. Instead of "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em", the Republican mantra is, "Once you lose in a landslide, try to impeach the winner!" Disgusting. I wish the 'conservative movement' (bowel movement) would join their hero Newt on the moon!

    November 15, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. SokrMom

    He had an anger-management class to attend...

    November 15, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. colin

    Wow, CNN again holding water for the Democrats, why don't you so called reporters ask the tough questions about the attack where four Americans died, and not try to embarrass a republican senator.... Unbelievable and discouraging, the press is an absolute joke

    November 15, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Liam

    Obama and his advisors created this controversy in the first place by not being truthful from the get go about Bengazi.
    John McCain is a true hero and a great American who served his country honorably. He's doing his job
    by trying to bring forth the truth about what actually happened in Bengazi. And by the way he has every right to
    avoid being bombarded by questions from any reporter at any time by any news network!

    November 15, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. James

    I am glad I didn't vote for McCain even thought I was originally going to. His sharp turn to the right made sure of that. Now looking at what he had become I am confident I made the right choice.

    November 15, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    McCain needs a mental health check, you know how some old people suffering from dementia get, very testy and will take a swing at you too, start cursing, he's been known to do both. Republicans got an embarrassing problem that they better deal with, sooner than later, McCains out of control.

    November 15, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. GaryS

    Even now the administration is not telling the truth. "As the president expressed outrage over the atrocity of members of Congress holding administration officials accountable, he said, "I'm happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador? Who had nothing to do with Benghazi?"
    WHAT??!!! Then please explain to me why she was paraded on 5 Sunday talk shows to explain Benghazi if she had nothing to do with it?
    Sorry but I hold the Pres accountable, and find it sickening that he apologizes for our freedoms to other countries.

    November 15, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    McCain is my senator. I have a right to ask where the hell was he.

    November 15, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. mgbz

    TIME TO STEP DOWN and quite wasting AMERICAS' MONEY. STAY AWAY FROM THE MEDIA JONNEY, march home now and be ashamed of yourself for leading your cattle in the wrong direction.

    November 15, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. spynnal

    I liked McCain a decade ago. At this point, he needs to retire. Who calls for answers to the media, and skips the committee meeting where answers are being given? Useless.

    November 15, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. lord jim

    By next week McCain will be demanding to know why he was kept out of the meeting.

    November 15, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. Spit

    The election honeymoon is officially over. McCain is still mad his ass was kicked four years ago and Lindsey Graham is well just another mouth piece. Watergate style hearings, WHERE THE F- DID THEY COME UP WITH THIS HAVING ANY SIMILARITIES TO WATERGATE. Mistakes may have been made but, Impeachment, are they kidding. What is the motivation? GOP Grandstanding after a lost election is all I can tell. No wonder their party is so out of touch. SORE F-– LOSERS ALL OF EM.

    November 15, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Tori

    Crotchety old coot...LOL

    November 15, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. Jack

    I think it's time for McCain to retire. He's lost his perspective and sense of decorum. He's burnt out. It happens in a lot of fields of work. if it gets to the level of yelling at reporters, well.....

    November 15, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. knklhead

    .. so McCain is not interested in knowing the truth. I get it, he wants a big show that makes Obama look bad. He doesn't have time for the truth. John, you were once a pretty honorable guy who could have gotten my vote .. then Sarah Palin and then grumpy old white republican ...

    November 15, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Steve Snow

    I just wonder how much editing CNN did to cast someone in an unfavorable fashion. They have doctored things before.

    November 15, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. AgrippaMT

    Obviously, McCain and his fellow right wing Republicans aren't interested in the facts surrounding the tragedy in Benghazi. They are truly know nothings.

    November 15, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. HolyChrist

    McCain has become nothing but a pit of negativity and hatred. I'm ready for him to step down from any position of power.

    November 15, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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