'Hell-bent': Graham, McCain threaten to stall Brennan nomination over Libya
March 3rd, 2013
06:05 PM ET
9 years ago

'Hell-bent': Graham, McCain threaten to stall Brennan nomination over Libya

(CNN) - Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham have vowed to hold up a full Senate vote on CIA Director nominee John Brennan until they get answers about the U.S. Consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya.

"I'm not going to vote on a new CIA director until I find out what the CIA did in Benghazi," Graham said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation."

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After delaying a vote on Brennan twice, the Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to hold another vote on Tuesday.

Graham specifically wants to see the interviews of the survivors. While transcriptions were provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee - of which Graham is not a member - Graham said "everything was blacked out."

Graham and McCain have been leading voices on the charge against the administration over the attack, which killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador. Republican Sen. Rand Paul has also threatened to stall a vote, saying he wants an answer to the question of whether the president has the authority to order a drone strike against an American citizen in the United States.

For his part, Graham wants more information on why the initial talking points about the cause of the attack were changed. The CIA's original draft linked people associated with al Qaeda to the attack, but the final version changed al Qaeda to extremists.

The lawmakers have been unsatisfied with what they say is conflicting information from the administration about who was responsible for the change in the talking points, even though the CIA eventually said it changed them during interagency discussions to protect classified information and for legal reasons.

The White House provided members of the Senate Intelligence Committee access to the e-mails about the changes last week in the classified hearing room.

Graham, however, said there were still more questions about the role of the CIA and the FBI on the night of the attack.

"I think John (McCain) and I are hell-bent on making sure the American people understand this debacle called Benghazi," he said. "The FBI and the CIA never talked for weeks. We're going back to the pre-9/11 model."

McCain, meanwhile, said he hasn't received answers from Brennan for nearly three weeks.

"I hate to threaten. We hate to … Why don't we just get the answers to these questions? They're not tough questions," McCain said, adding that he has his own questions about torture.

Asked again if the two senators plan on holding up the nomination until their demands are met, McCain said they "deserve the answers."

"I think again, it's our responsibility on advise and consent to get answers to questions about nominees to important positions," McCain said.

- CNN's Pam Benson contributed to this report.

Filed under: CIA • John McCain • Libya • Lindsey Graham
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Steve - Texas

    Here they go again... Hint.. .THERE IS NOTHING TO IT.. .. You two are looking and acting like school yard brats.


    March 3, 2013 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  2. labman57

    Benghazi conspiracy theorists are no different than birthers.

    No amount of evidence will satisfy them, because they need the ability to thump their chests in faux outrage - the steadfast denial of the readily available evidence gives congressional Republicans a rationalization for their blatant obstructionism and political contrarianism.

    March 3, 2013 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  3. Len

    Why don't you ask the CIA director at the time of the attack. General Petraus.......he was in charge of the CIA at the time. Why do we continue to try to protect him? He should be answering the questions.

    March 3, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  4. Former Republican, now an Independent

    The antics of these two obstructionists is getting old and stake to the American public. They opposed Hagel because he wouldn't support McCain in the 2008 election, and now Brennen just to keep their name in the news and make people think they are actually doing something.

    March 3, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
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