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. Mike

    Graham wouldn't be so frustrated if he would just come out of the closet . . .

    October 29, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  2. NurseLi143

    So while I too would like to hear the testimony of any survivors, I am really not surprised that a Republican plans to stall rather than work.

    October 29, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. Jennnn

    What a JERK. Impeding the appointments of important positions just to get his name in the press. Hurting the people of this country even more in the process. Congress is a WASTE of hot air and egoism.

    October 29, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. Peter

    Realism wrote: "Please keep it up. We need to block everything coming out of this administration because it's all crap from top to bottom. The American people will wake up to this corrupt administration sooner or later."

    "ALL crap from TOP to BOTTOM"

    "ALL crap". Every piece of legislation? Just fight EVERYTHING with Obama's name on it? Uh huh. Sure.

    My God, how are we EVER going to get ANYTHING done with America so polarized like this?

    October 29, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. dmwinsd

    Brilliant move. After the Republicans cost the country $54B due to the shutdown, now Graham wants to render the government even less effective by blocking the appointments of top administrators. After the Republicans complained that the sequester cuts were not being made smartly, now Graham threatens to keep Obama from filling the decision-making jobs. Once again, it's all about the politics, to heck with the country.

    October 29, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. Bobby

    There is a huge ever increasing load of chronically sick and disabled people, some unfortunate and others simply dysfunctional, who devour medical care. People get overweight at an early age and proceed to get high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. By early middle age they require heart bypass or stents or both. Their weight wears out joints early in life resulting in one or multiple expensive joint replacements. They require multiple expensive medicines for their hypertension, and for their diabetes, and for their hyperglycemia. Those who smoke and those who drink excessively develop disabling lung disease or liver disease or both. All are too sick and too disabled to work and they spend a lifetime requiring ever more sophistocated and expensive healthcare. Ultimately the well and productive pay for the care of the sick and non-productive. From my little emergency department in my little county in Georgia over the years there are more and more sick living longer and longer requiring more and more medical care that is more and more sophisticated and more and more expensive with no end in site to this trend. Our humanity and empathy compels us to care for those in need – but how much for how long? This insurance issue is about how to pay for all this expensive care and are the healthy and productive going to be willing to pick up the check for it forever. The government is trying to deal with it and the reality upsetting to say the least.

    October 29, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Jerseyboy113

    Not surprising. Repubs seem to be a party of negativism... no ideas of their own to offer... only criticize the ideas and actions of others.

    October 29, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. jonjojr

    Its time for the political campaign to begin. First order of business for reelection: Block anything that will make me look tough on Democrats.

    October 29, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    ay wrote:

    The question, why is it that 14 months after the attack that no testimonies have been heard by congress. This speaks volumes about the Obama Administration.
    They conducted no less than seven Benghazi hearings in the House. We even heard testimony from Hilary Clinton herself. Have you forgotten all about the "what difference does it make" talking point? The host country is first and foremost responsible for the security outside of the compound.

    Jimmy wrote:

    Bush lied about the WMD....really?
    The Brits, the French, the Russian thought that as well.
    Did they lie as well?
    Saddam used WMD on his own people, thinking he still had them was reasonable.
    Hasn't anyone told you *when* these atrocities occurred? They occured more than fifteen years prior to, in the 1980s.

    Since that time the U.S. had conquered Saddam's armies in the Gulf War. Weapons inspectors had been combing the country for over a decade and found nothing. Inspectors were still on the ground at Baghddad Airport when the first wave of fighters and bombers launched to attack Baghdad. Their plane had left the ground less than an hour before the first bombs hit, which means they were most likely still in Iraqi airspace.

    October 29, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. Jim

    Does that mean that when republicans control the White House that democratic senators can just declare that they will block all appointments of the President because of something they don't personally like? What a way to run a railroad.

    October 29, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  11. Texas Anne

    "I'm gonna block....".
    Hasn't that been the GOP/TEA's modus operandi since the day Obama was elected?

    October 29, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    first lets shut the gov down if we don't get our way.. now lets block appointments. next, i'ma take my ball and go home if i don't win.

    October 29, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  13. Matt

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

    If he saw that attack coming, perhaps he should be called before congress to tell us why he didn't warn anyone.

    October 29, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. Grim Reaper

    Fine KSK-get rid of all of them. Both sides are corrupt and the media plays along for campaign dollar advertising.

    October 29, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  15. Angie

    When will the GOP ever learn???! They obviously forgot how to do any real government work!! All they want to do is block!! Lie, Gossip, This is because they have no idea of who THEY are or what they stand for anymore. It is so comical to see the GOP in action now! They are a bunch of desperate political thugs. Too busy trying to shame the legacy of this president, when all they are doing is shaming their party!....H3lLL.....Bring back the "Good Ole Boys". They atleast knew when to hold and when to fold!!

    October 29, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  16. ug

    Anyone that has to do with ovomit should be shot for treason...

    October 29, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  17. Disgusted with DC

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

    I guess they ( State Dept & WH) just cannot seem to get the survivors to answer their phones - even though many work for the government

    DUH The WH and POTUS must think we all just fell off a turnip truck from the farm and they can just lie to our faces

    October 29, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  18. Silent majority member

    rather than trying to vote Graham out, why not just fix the root of the problem and impeach Obama and toss Reid and Kerry out

    October 29, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  19. Centerlink

    Great – and while we're at it, let's finally have a REAL under-oath investigation of 9-11 and the lead up to the Iraq war.

    Would be great to get to the bottom of something that has now cost the nation over 7,000 dead, 300,000 injured, and left us over $3 trillion more in debt.

    October 29, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. TED

    I hope the NSA is bugging Graham's phone.

    October 29, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. Reasonable Descent

    Graham is horrible. I will vote against him again.

    October 29, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  22. John N.

    What a surprise, the GOP is going to prevent the proper functioning of our Government, AGAIN! Someone, PLEASE vote these clowns out of office!

    October 29, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  23. sick of it

    Senator Graham's behavior is contradictory to the comportment of a responsible adult. Let him legislate from the kiddie table until he learns to work with others in the interests of the American people.

    October 29, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. Mark

    Just more Congressmen behaving badly, trying to make a name for themselves and making us look stupid to the rest of the world. I wonder what reading adventure he's going to treat us too? I vote for Penguin Island by Anatole France.

    October 29, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. pedro J. Lo.

    So the name of the game is to harm the nation, and possibly the world, just to throw a temper tantrum. Nice job that one!

    October 29, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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