October 28th, 2013
05:10 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama nominees could be slowed over Benghazi concerns

Sen. Lindsey Graham will appear on "CNN's The Situation Room" Tuesday at 5pm

(CNN) - A top critic of the U.S. response to the terror attack on the Benghazi diplomatic compound said Monday that he would block all Obama administration nominees before the Senate until survivors of the deadly assault testify before Congress.

"I think the story was about the fact that our guys died in a different way than explained by the administration," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Fox News on Monday following a dramatic CBS "60 Minutes" interview with a man described as a British security officer who witnessed last year's attack.

"They died as a result of an al Qaeda planned attack that you could see coming," Graham said.

The South Carolina Republican was an early skeptic of the administration's initial assessment the September 2012 attack in eastern Libya that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans appeared to be the result of a demonstration over an anti-Muslim film produced in the United States.

Graham has pushed forcibly ever since to uncover details of what happened and why the administration appeared to bungle the response.

"Where are the survivors? Fourteen months later," Graham said. "The survivors, the people who survived the attack in Benghazi, have not been made available to the U.S. Congress for oversight purposes."

Graham said he would use Senate rules to stall approval of presidential nominees until he gets the testimony he wants.

"I'm gonna block every appointment in the United States Senate until the survivors are being made available to Congress. I'm tired of hearing from people on TV and reading about stuff in books. We need to get to the bottom of this," he said.

If Graham were to block a nominee, Democrats, who control the chamber, could make procedural moves to get around his objections. Doing so would require 60 votes to succeed.

An aide to Graham noted that the Senator previously blocked the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA until the White House produced information on when President Barack Obama first contacted Libyan government officials about the attack.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday the administration has made "extraordinary efforts" to meet congressional demands for information about the attack.

"The State Department has worked in good faith to meet the Hill's many requests and will continue to review legitimate incoming requests. But let's be clear, some Republicans are choosing to play politics with this for partisan purposes and we find that unfortunate," Carney said. "What happened in Benghazi was a tragedy; it is the case that there was not adequate security."

An aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had no reaction to Graham's threat or say how it might impact the Senate schedule.

The Senate is expected to take up several high-profile judicial appointments and other nominations in the near future.

Filed under: Lindsey Graham • Obama administration • Senate
soundoff (615 Responses)
  1. Larry L

    Graham is actually using the hostage-taking method, the only Republican form of leadership, in an attempt to discredit Hillary Clinton before the 2016 race. One must wonder when the remaining Republicans who care about America will rise up and re-take the GOP. They don't have much time left.

    October 29, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. refman sees

    Oh my! Lets not approve any nominations and let government agencies run without a leader. Makes perfect sense to me as the Repubicans have been doing that for a while now. That is why I am an independent.

    October 29, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  3. Mymy

    In order to get re-elected in his backward state, he has to appear to be a bit more of a red neck instead of the closet gay man he really is.

    October 29, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  4. JohnRJohnson

    Well, of course, you will, Lindsay. Why? Because you're facing a primary from your right, so you have to look like a good Tea Partyer and contribute the disaster that is today's Congress. Good job!

    October 29, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  5. Founder

    Yet another partisan move by the Partisan-Hack-In-Chief Lindsey Graham. Pathetic.

    October 29, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. Golden Bishop

    I want to know who is consoling the widows and relatives of these heroes that still don't why American Citizens who were working for the government were not protected. i want to know why the government lied to cover up the death of our own representatives. The Judah's of the Whilte House have bet on the selfishness of Americans who have swallowed up hook, line and sinker believing is not their fault. They have spent considerably time blaming everybody else for their failures, and just remember that Obama, the liar in chief was willing to go to default to get his way.
    Stop believing his lies and recognize that your liar in chief has not integrity, no decency and no guts. I'm ashamed to believe that Americans don't recognize what is right before their eyes.

    How about the IRS scandal? What about "Fast and Furious? What about Obama Care? It's all his fault, he is responsible and he should be impeached.

    Thank God I'm not American...

    October 29, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  7. drm

    Graham is just doing this to make up to Tea Partyers who are upset that he voted to reopen the government. The Founders would turn in their graves to see Congressional process held hostage this way.

    October 29, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  8. Rudy NYC


    If you can take a short break from bashing the GOP, please answer a few questions. Who gave the order to stand down and not mount a rescue?
    Someone on the ground in Tripoli probably gave the order to evacuate. Amb. Stevens was killed within the first hour of the attack. Help was at least four hours away in Tripoli, and so the people were ordered to abandon the compouind. What were they supposed to do during the four hour wait for help? Play hide and go seek between the burning buildings?

    If we sent in fighter jets, just what exactly were they supposed to do? Bomb the compound with our people inside of it? Besides, if they sent all of the marines in Tripoli to Benghazi, who would be left to defend Tripoli? Maybe, just maybe, compromising and weakening the defenses in Tripoli was the real plan. Most every other embassy in the region was under seige, except for Tripoli.

    October 29, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Peter

    Graham does not seem to be in a hurry to find out about some of the conflicting stories about the circumstances behind around 60 of the US diplomats and citizens who lost their lives in the various US embassy attacks during the GW Bush administration.

    Funny how party politics works, eh?

    October 29, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  10. kebcarerra

    Four dead in Benghazi ? I mean just one of our drone strikes sometimes kills that many children. Where is the outrage then ?

    October 29, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. Jimmy

    When he was elected in 2008 our President had a chance to heal this country and bring us together.
    Instead Obama poisioned the well and did not get one single GOP vote for the ACA.
    He even had to bribed Democrates to vote for that bill.
    This is why the TEA party and Ted Cruz's were elected, without Obama there would be no need for the TEA party.
    Since then the list goes on...........why would anyone trust him based on past performance.

    October 29, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. Mark S.

    Typical Republicans. When are they going to wake up and see that America is tired of these games. Lead, follow or get the **** out of the way.

    October 29, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. SkepticalOne

    Maybe if that doesn't work he can hold his breath, kick his feet and throw his toys around.

    October 29, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. Rembrant

    More of the usual. It equates to more of the usual reason to never vote Republican.

    October 29, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. Concerned

    Oh gosh Mr. Graham, where will this get you! . Please try to strengthen the GPO instead of trying to make them look even worst than they look now. This matter has been tried more than once, a tragedy happened, let it rest now in peace and let's move on – please try to remember, America first, politics second.

    October 29, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. Kevin

    Gaddafi with his whole army could not protect himself from his own people. What chance did the US ambassador and his staff have? It is the host country that is responsible for the safety of the embassies. Sovereign nations do not generally allow a large foreign army into their country to protect their embassies. The US knew Libya was unsafe but national interests dictate that it is a country that the US needs to have a presence in – even with inadequete security. If the US opts out of Libya, then other powers will gladly fill the void. The staff knew the risks and took on the mission.

    October 29, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. myrtlemaylee

    Oh please, like they haven't been holding EVERY nomination hostage for years? Scroo the taxpayers who expect him to do his job, right? It's the prime example of the only strategy the GOP knows & uses – they know nothing about political debate & less about compromise. This is another example of a useless Congress Critter who should be thrown out & replaced with someone who respects the US Congress & most importantly, the US taxpayers.

    October 29, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  18. Ralph_in_FL

    What else would you expect from a South Carolina Republican?

    October 29, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  19. Faux Scandals

    No coverup will come from this, just more dumb GOP hearings.

    October 29, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. John

    Good Grief, more Repoublican obstructionism. Lindsey Graham needs to go.

    October 29, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. PeterD

    He is a John McCain Side Kick.

    October 29, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. Lon

    How is it that a president like Obama can have such a horrible memory. Obama has stated several times when ask about when he first knew about a very important subject; his response is "well I heard when america heard about it" on the news. The president is briefed everyday on the state of the nation and world matters. Then once a week the president is given a in depth briefing. But president Obama can't remember much of anything when asked. I understand Obama is right at home with a tele-prompter but when he starts shooting from the hip he is not so good, some people even say he is not able to collect his thoughts and give a fair answer. There may be a medical problem that should be looked into if Pres. Obama is having short or long term loss of memory?

    October 29, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  23. Hogan's Goat

    The Joint Chiefs of Staff made the call, and one of them said "It was 9-11 all over the world that day." Pretty obviously Graham thinks this is more serious than anything Bush ever let happen, because Graham is a country boy from South Carolina and hates the black president. You just gotta ask yourself if that country boy speaks for the whole GOP?

    October 29, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  24. bee

    Fact: Over 50 US Embassy workers were violently killed under the last Republican administration. Lindsey Graham had zero problems with those deaths and never blocked any nominations during that time frame.

    Lindsey Graham = Grandstanding Hypocrite on the taxpayers' dime.

    October 29, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  25. Republicans Anonymous

    Considering the self-immolation of the Republicans these days, I no longer respect them...at all. And Lindsey Graham used to be someone I respected. I hope these selfish fools lose every election until they get the message that these incessent investigations are not accomplishments.

    October 29, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
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