Graham vows to block nominations unless White House more forthcoming
February 10th, 2013
01:12 PM ET
9 years ago

Graham vows to block nominations unless White House more forthcoming

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama's nominees for secretary of defense and CIA director could be held up by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham unless the White House provides more information about its response to September's attack on an American diplomatic post in Libya.

The South Carolina lawmaker made the threat Sunday on CBS, using the phrase "no confirmation without information" in vowing to put a hold on the nominations of both John Brennan and Chuck Hagel unless the Obama administration provides more information about the Benghazi attack.

"I don't think we should allow Brennan to go forward with the CIA directorship, Hagel to be confirmed for secretary of defense, until the White House gives us an accounting," Graham said. "Did the president ever pick up the phone and call anyone from the Libyan government to help these folks? What did the president do?"

Previously, Graham had vowed to put a hold on Hagel's nomination unless outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testified before Congress on the Benghazi attacks. Panetta testified last week before the Senate Armed Services Committee, saying that without direct warning or advance intelligence of the September 11, 2012, attack, there was no way for the military to respond in time.

Graham, along with other Republicans, has also criticized the Obama administration's immediate response to the attack, particularly the appearance of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice less than a week later on Sunday talk shows, where she blamed the attack on anger generated by an anti-Muslim video.

Rice has explained her remarks as derived from administration talking points, which Graham said Sunday had not yet been sufficiently explained.

"I want to know who changed the talking points. Who took the references to al Qaeda out of the talking points given to Susan Rice? We still don't know," said Graham, who specified that he would not filibuster the nominees, but rather hold them up until more information is disclosed.

Sen. John McCain, a close Republican ally of Graham's in the Senate, said Monday he would not support a filibuster of Hagel, which would be unprecedented for a president's Cabinet nominee.

National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said Sunday in response to Graham's comments that the White House believes "the Senate should act swiftly to confirm John Brennan and Sen. Hagel. These are critical national security positions, and individual members shouldn't play politics with their nominations."

CNN's Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

Filed under: Chuck Hagel • John Brennan • Lindsey Graham
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. SB Atl

    I think Lindsey Graham is now just about as nutty as John McCain and his conspiracy claims. It's not about telling the truth, it's about saying what Lindsey wants to hear whether it has any relation to truth or not. When will people wise up and get rid of him and lots of other nuts in Congress?

    February 10, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. mlaroux

    I thought the dead horse story was about the horsemeat scandal in Europe.

    February 10, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. derek

    How come such an idiot/moron spends all his time try to block and disrupt working of the Congerss instead of
    do something positive for the country. I think banning and disbanding GOP is the best think this country needs
    right now.This is not even funny any more to see those arrogant, stupid and law breaking idiots destroying this country.

    February 10, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |

    These questions definitely need to be answered to the American people and for the highest priority – our National Security. If our Commander-in-Chief does not have policies in place to protect our servicmen and women who are abroad and in harms way for our freedoms, and at the same time is willing to utilize drones on American citizens – these are major concerns of his competency and loyalties. This is huge.

    February 10, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. don in albuquerque

    Total waste of food. Not smart enough to notice wind has changed.

    February 10, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. Len

    Another Senator who is up for reelection. Question; how did general Peteraus , CIA director at the time, get off the hook. He should be asked questions. Two of his men were killed. I guess must protect the wife Cheater.

    February 10, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. some guy in New Hampshire

    Does Graham really want to be responsible for leaving these two positions unfilled until he gets information that might or might not be out there? This is like looking for Obama's "real" birth certificate. Get over it and get on with it.

    February 10, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. NotFooledByDistractions

    Wow, still kicking the dead horse, eh Lindsey?

    If only you would have been this fastidious in the lead up to either one of the unnecessary wars...think of all the lives that could have been saved, all the money that wouldn't have been wasted.

    Pick up your purse and move on Lindsey, they nation already has, follow along now.

    February 10, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. Jerubbaal

    It's jvst time for Graham to go away.

    February 10, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    And we're off. The Republicans are now in their traditional mode of cooperation. Bipartisan, in Republicaneese, means no cooperation unless we get whatever we want. If we do get what we want, we will grant our opposition a sliver of what the public needs and call it being magnanimous.

    February 10, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Jerubbaal

    I tell you what Lindsay, if you come clean than the WH needs to.

    February 10, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. labman57

    The Grand Obstructionist Party strikes again. Senate Republicans continually seek opportunities to block progress on legislative proposals and cabinet appointments, and they are usually unable to give a rational reason for their actions other than “it’s our right to do so”.

    In this case, Senators Graham, McCain, et al. have opted to cover their ears and close their eyes whenever verifiable evidence and tenable explanations are presented that conflict with their desire to promote a preconceived phantom White House conspiracy ... and they have vowed to undermine the Obama Administration's ability to move forward with the nation's business until the POTUS "confesses his sins".

    February 10, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Larry L

    It's a sad state of affairs in a democracy when one radical, right-wing, conspiracy-fueled, red-state, Republican Senator can "block" the vote on the noninees we need to run our government. This sort of hostage-taking by Republicans has me personally fired-up to work hard, contribute my time, and my money to defeat every Republican in every race across America. I'll take that pledge! The GOP only supports radicals, bigots and a few greedy billionaires – not much of a platform.

    February 10, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. Ancient Texan

    The stonewalling and cover-ups continue. "Most transparent administration in history"– yeah right!

    February 10, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. Carl Guyer

    Well Senator, why don't you stomp your feet at the same time maybe someone will listen.

    February 10, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. Randy, San Francisco

    If only the hypocritical Republicans were as outraged and demanding about the intelligence gathering and decision making that led to the Iraq War, thousands of American soldiers and civilians wouldn't have been killed or injured. Where are the WMDs? Sen Graham represents what is wrong with the Republican Party...politics before what is good for this country. The Republcian/Tea Party is the party of angryl old white men!

    February 10, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. Tonya

    Republicans are playing politics with the nation's security. They need to go!

    February 10, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. Martha in CF

    Hey Graham, did you ever think what you are looking for actually is not there. You are just an obstructionist. Plain and simple..............Hope you are gone soon.......

    February 10, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. Peace

    Even if this man Graham can receive all information the whole world can gather, he will ever and forever say the information isn't satisfactory.

    February 10, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. silver

    Graham is an embarrassment to the State of SC – he needs to just shut his mouth. Why did he not say anything when Bush and his appointees did worse stuff????

    February 10, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. MrRickinNH

    This clown is one of the biggest threats to our nation!

    February 10, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. Bill

    Mr Hagel was grilled day after day by republicans, most of the questions were, how loyal or disloyal he is towards Israel and how dare he wrote that politicians are bought by Jewish lobbyist. Now Senator Graham wants Obama to clarify again the events of Benghazi. Cant figure out Graham, Hagel is a republican maybe a democrat would me a better choice for Graham. Now for the issue of Benghazi, what would please Graham and McCain is for the president to resign over the issue, good luck gentlemen.

    February 10, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. Larry L

    It's time the American People directly took up the issue of Republican obstructionism. We're sick to death of the radicals stopping all economic progress. The Republican Party is now so completely broken it offers only roadblocks to progress. Recall elections can force them out before they achieve their goal of destroying our federal governmant.

    February 10, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. joepa14221

    Its about time the president came clean on this. Like he use to demand of the Bush administration.

    February 10, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. Evergreen

    These positions are vital to the security of this nation and our allies. Holding up this process puts even more Americans at risk. This is not the first embassy or outpost to be attacked and will not be the last. Tragically 4 American died on Sept. 11, 2012 and 3,000 on Sept 2001. We learn from mistakes and try to keep them from happening again. Trying to fix blame for sake of political points is disgusting.

    February 10, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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