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. kevin w

    Please go away John McCain

    February 17, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. beegee

    McCain is delusional, until he answers ours questions about his Iraq vote and WMD's then he can get the answer he wants from the WH.

    February 17, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. rs

    Sorry, Senator. "Cover-up" and Republicans have a much richer history (Watergate, Iran-Contra, Lebanon, 9/11, Plame, etc...). What you have here is just o FOX-fueled conspiracy theory. To complete this one, you need: a Bigfoot, a grey alien, Mr. Woodward, or the KGB- take your pick. Whatever the case, you sir, look like a fool.

    February 17, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. rs

    Oh, yeah, Mr. Senator, I almost forgot- what about the "cover-up" and lies about the Iraq War? Who lied to Congress about Saddam's supposed nuclear weapons? Who lied about Saddam and 9/11? Who caused 4,000 American soldiers and 125,000 Iraqis to die uselessly?
    If the deaths of 4 Americans incite such rage in you, your head might just explode if you think about the blood on your own hands.

    February 17, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Jamie Wallhauser

    I sure hope we don't have to go through this nonsense every time there's a terrorist attack during this administration.

    February 17, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. FREEDOM

    "White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said that the president is still committed to finding out what exactly happened in Benghazi." What??? Another puppet sent out to lie to us. Obama knows exactly what happened that night – he did nothing!! And he can't justify it, because it's horrendous!! Our national security is at risk – because of this president. Everyone should want to know what the cover-up is all about. It not only affects our servicemen and women in harm's way, but our homeland security.

    February 17, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. Pander Bear

    Blah blah blah. You have nothing or you would have presented it already. You can't pin a Whitewater or a Lewinsky scandal on Obama so you're resorting to dragging this out forever. Give it up already.

    February 17, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. TomNPitt

    Mccain needs to answer one question before the White House answers any more. What do you want to know? What's the point? It's very obvious the White House and the State Department screwed up. They admitted it; investigated it; apologized for it; and made plans how to reduce the potential of it happening again. What does McCain want to hear? Why does he want to stop everything in the Government from happening until HE gets his questions answered? He has a "...list of questions...", but only voices one – Why did the President not know, or loudly state, this was a terrorist attack of the worst kind – where we lost four officials. McCain is trying to stay relevant. He's losing. Everyone else wants to move on to the new century. He still wants us to remember the POW's in 'Nam. Things happen – live with it. Even if Obama says he planned the invasion in Bengazi to distract the Republican's during the election, then McCain would complain the attack wasn't effective enough – you only got four!

    February 17, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. ChrisG

    The majority of Americans are sick and tired of GOP obstructionism.Then end is near for the GOP. An McCain, the once great American war Hero has become a bitter old dinosaur. Very sad indeed

    February 17, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. Randy, San Francisco

    Sen McCain is a hypocrite and sore loser. What about the bigger cover-up...Iraq and the never materizlized WMDs? Why no investigation on the connection and influence of the Project for a New American Century (neoconservative organization) had on the Bush Administration's decision to go to war with Iraq? After THOUSANDS of American deaths and injuries, there are still no answers. It makes the Benghazi incident an obvious political ploy on the part of Republicans. Why was Sen McCain silent about the Iraq War?

    February 17, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. AK_steve

    Where was John McCain when our entire nation went to war over fabricated evidence of WMD's?

    February 17, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. kzq1n0

    McCain is simply looking for air time on TV.

    February 17, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. vic , nashville ,tn

    Sen. Mc Cain Election is over Move on.
    Gas prices going up can we talk about that, its hurting us

    February 17, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    McCain is correct in his assessment.......it is a huge cover up, and the answers to the questions, have NOT been forthcoming.

    February 17, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. Dennis Freeman

    Good grief Senator, switch to decaf.

    February 17, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  16. anonoymous

    I want to know who killed Kennedy but I guess you cant get everything you want...McCain please go away..

    February 17, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. Anthony in California

    This story is beginning to sound like MobyDick.. and McCain(and his cabin boy, Lindsy) will go down with his Whale...

    February 17, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. MaryM

    The Filibuster has Never been used against a cabinet nomination. Republicans have now opened up the door for this to happen again. If there is ever a republican president again, you can be sure his/her cabinet nominations will be filibustered. Do you understand that republicans

    February 17, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    Is John McCain continuing to talk about Benghazi because he's a bitter old man who can't accept that he lost the 2008 election? 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.

    February 17, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    Where was John McCain and his skepticism when GW Bush ignored the August 2001 memo warning of al Qaeda attacking us with airplanes – and then heading off to his ranch in Crawford?

    February 17, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    Where was John McCain and his skepticism when the GW Bush transition team was rebuffing Richard Clarke and other Clinton intelligence personnel when they were trying to impress upon Bush that the biggest threat to the U.S. was al Qaeda and bin Laden?

    February 17, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. maf

    Wow . . . wow . . . John McCain looking down a road where there isn't even a road!!!
    Your questions have been answered, but as has been the GOP norm of late, not answered the way they want them to be!!

    This version of the Republican Party still just looking for ANYTHING to pin on the President!! The lack of respect you show the POTUS will come back to haunt you the next time a Republican takes the chair!!

    February 17, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. Tony

    Republicans think that there is a cover-up because they can't find evidence of wrongdoing. They think that there is a massive cover-up because they really can't find evidence of wrongdoing despite massive effort on their part.

    February 17, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. Ricke1949

    What did Christopher take to his grave knowing? What is in the server in foggy bottom?

    February 17, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  25. Alcibades3

    Senator just let it go. The family contiues to morn the death of their love ones, the nation is satisfied with the unwarranted atttempted humilation of Mrs. Clinton and Rice, yet you continue to make accusations of wrong doings without evidence. WHY? What do you know that no one else knows? Tell us why this is important now???? Who's interest are you serving?

    February 17, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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