McCain: 'We have had a massive cover-up'
February 17th, 2013
01:09 PM ET
9 years ago

McCain: 'We have had a massive cover-up'

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain said Sunday that he is still looking for answers to what he called "a massive cover-up" in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, in September.

"The information has not been forthcoming," McCain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I know that it hasn't, and I will be glad to send you a list of questions that have not been answered."

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Among those questions, he said, were inquiries about the president's actions and whom he spoke to the night of the attack. McCain also wants to know why people who were evacuated from the consulate the next day were not interviewed at the time.

"They would have known that it was not a spontaneous demonstration," he said. Initial talking points from the government stated that the attack stemmed from a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam film, but the intelligence community later defined the violence as a planned terrorist attack.

The Arizona Republican has been an outspoken voice since the attack, which left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. He has gone to great lengths to get answers from the Obama administration.

Last week, McCain joined Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Lindsey Graham to demand answers from the White House before they were willing to commit to a vote on Chuck Hagel's nomination as defense secretary.

The White House responded with a letter to Congress on Thursday that answered some questions about the president's communication with the Libyan president.

While McCain said he was satisfied with the answers provided Thursday, he still believes there are many unanswered questions.

"Why did the president … for two weeks, during the heat of the campaign, continue to say he didn't know whether it was a terrorist attack or not? Is it because it interfered with the line of 'al Qaeda is decimated and everything is fine in that part of the world'? Maybe. We don't know. But we need the answers. Then we'll reach conclusions. But we have not received the answers, and that's a fact."

In a separate appearance on "Meet the Press," White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said that the president is still committed to finding out what exactly happened in Benghazi.

"The president of the United States sends these diplomats, our military, overseas in these tough spots. He is not going to send them and have them be exposed. He made darn certain that we are doing everything we can to ensure this doesn't happen again."

Filed under: John McCain • Libya
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. brian

    Is any outcome of this pursuit going to change what happened? Is any of this effort going toward making changes to prevent it from happening again. Is any of the energy expended on this bringing us closer to bringing those responsible for the attack to justice? No? Then what is the purpose? I think it is just to make the Democratic President look bad. Senator McCain put your efforts and time to work solving the countries problems, there are plenty, and this is not one of them.

    February 17, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. BeverlyNC

    I used to respect John McCain but he has lost all credibility. He is on a rant one day and then for the very thing he hated the day before. He supported Chuck Hagel, then was against him, then was for him, then voted to filibuster his nomination and now may be for him again. I pay no attention to McCain anymore. He became a bitter angry old man after he lost the election to President Obama. He is no longer a statesman nor does he live up to his former slogan of "Country First". It's time for him to retire.

    February 17, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Dude in Colorado

    "Why did the President... for two weeks, during the heat of the campaign, continue to say he didn't know whether it was a terrorist attack or not?"

    Did Obama ever deny it was a terrorist attack, Senator? The only question as I recall was how it got started, and if you look at the AP's report from witnesses there in Benghazi you'll find there were steps taken by the terrorists to create a level of confusion as to who they were and what they were doing. For example, witnesses said there was no protest to start with, but the also said the terrorists grabbed young men and ordered them to act as though they were protesting that anti-Islam video. As for why weren't the survivors immediately interviewed, well, they're CIA, they don't give interviews!

    February 17, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. widow

    not a big fan of his but he has a point.. if protocol was followed the answers to his questions and america's questions about how one of our diplomats could be beaten to death and have a steel pole jammed up his rear we would have those answers.. but instead congress has to beg for info that should have taken at most a few days to get... obviously there has been a massive cover up otherwise why wouldn't the administration be more forthcoming? The Obama administration is obviously afraid of letting the truth out.

    February 17, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Alex

    Republicans: It was a cover up!!!!

    Rational People: Ummmm? What exactly was "covered up?" How did the Obama administration benefit from people thinking it was a spontaneous demonstration for a couple weeks?

    Republicans: ...

    February 17, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. Lct1119

    Well you would know. You are just being a obstructionist republican. You have no credibility now after nominating Sarah P. what WERE you thinking? All I ask is that our elected officials do not embarrass me. You have. Don't let your years of confinement duri g an unjust "war" diminish you now. You were hoodwinked the . Don't be a hoodwinker now.

    February 17, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. bree

    the republican party doing what it does best – obstructing the government. this is another manufactured scandal and absolutely the last thing we need to be focusing on.

    February 17, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. Dan5404

    No, Senator, we have had a massive effort by the right-wingers to make an investigation produce their awn already-decided results. It failed becuase there is no such answer. It has all been answered by many people, so move on to something else. Also, next time there's a bill containing more money for embassy security, don't let your GOP friends vote against it as they did before.

    February 17, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. Oh well...

    McCain where were your demands for an investigation after the 9/11 attack? Hypocrisi at it's best.

    February 17, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. David

    Easy John, its a war zone. Crap happens. Get over it and try just doing your job.

    February 17, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. Gonzoinhouston

    Benghazi is the new birther.

    February 17, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Tony

    At some point in time, will the GOP realize that Benghazi is not the scandal they think it is and carry on with life? Or is this the narrative for the next four years: Republicans shouting 'Benghazi!' and everyone else yawning in their faces?

    February 17, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. Bart

    McCain – Time to move on. This whole thing is silly. Our country has many more important issues, but we all know you are content to spend all of your energy on this issue and trying to make Obama look bad. How about trying to do something good for our country?

    February 17, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. Sue

    McCain still hasn't gotten over his loss to President Obama. GET OVER IT, JOHN!!!!

    February 17, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. Capone

    This is getting ridiculous.

    First of all, I wish John McCain had this level of zeal when it became clear that the Bush Administration lied and mislead the entire nation into going to war in Iraq. There are over 4,000 dead American soldiers because of that Sen. McCain, where is your outrage for those wasted lives?

    But can someone tell me what, exactly, does Senator McCain believe was "covered up"? I have never heard someone rant and rave as loud as he has for as long as he has about an alleged cover up without ever once saying WHAT WAS COVERED UP!!!!!

    February 17, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Where was the republicans and McCain when 9/11 happened

    February 17, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    What about 9-11 2001, you must have forgotten?????? On your watch with all the gop clowns now asking questions over four dead heros . What about 3000 on the gop bafoon party watch ,where were you then ?????

    February 17, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. jamison

    If McCain wants to talk cover up he needs look no further than the Cheney/Bush era regarding the war in Iraq with all its WMD. The public was totally lied to, our heroic soldiers were killed along with thousands of civilians. If McCain wants to go after anyone let him start with those two liars. CNN will have a special Monday night about how these two clowns lied to us.

    February 17, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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