Graham to Block Brennan and Hagel Confirmations Without Full White House Disclosure on Benghazi
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) vowed Sunday to block the cabinet confirmations of John Brennan and Chuck Hagel if he doesn't get full disclosure from the White House concerning the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year.
Appearing on CBS's Face the Nation, Graham said, "No confirmation without information."
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SOUTH CAROLINA): We know he had a 15-minute briefing by Secretary Panetta and the chairman of the joint chiefs right after the attack happened. It was a preplanned meeting. It just happened that Benghazi came up at the meeting. I don't know what the president did that evening. I don't know if he ever called anyone. I know he never talked to the secretary of defense. I know that he never talked to the chairman of the joint chiefs. And they never talked to anybody at the White House. I know the secretary of state never talked to the secretary of defense. This was incredibly mismanaged. And what we know now, it seems to be a very disengaged president. Again, if he had lent his voice to this cause, I think it would have made a big difference. And I'm not going to stop until we get an accounting. I've pushed back against the Bush administration when they said Iraq was just a few dead enders. We know nothing about what the president did on the night of September 11 during a time of national crisis, and the American people need to know what their commander in chief did, if anything, during this eight-hour attack.
BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST: What can you really do about it? You can ask them what the president was doing. If they don't give you an answer what, can you do?
GRAHAM: I don't think we should allow Brennan to go forward the CIA directorship, Hagel to be confirmed for secretary of defense, until the White House gives us an accounting. Did the president ever pick up the phone and call anyone in the Libyan government to help these folks? What did the president do? We know he talked to the Israeli prime minister from 8:00 to 9:00 on September 11 about a dust-up of a Democratic platform and the fact he didn't meet the prime minister of Israel when he came to New York to visit the UN. But that's not related to Libya. What did he do that night? That's not unfair. The families need to know. The American people need to know.
SCHIEFFER: But let me -- I'm not sure I understand. What do you plan to do if they don't give you an answer? Are you going to put a hold on these two nominations?
GRAHAM: Yes. Yes. Yes. I'm going to ask my colleagues, just like they did with John Bolton. Joe Biden said no confirmation without information. No confirmation without information. You know, when Secretary Clinton said she had a clear-eyed assessment of the threats in Libya, that proved, after this hearing, not to be true. The Department of Defense knew about the cable coming from our Libyan ambassador saying he couldn't defend the consulate. This was on August 15th. They knew about the deteriorating security situation. But the secretary of state didn't know any of this. So she was blind. The president was disengaged. And the Department of Defense never launched one airplane to help these folks for seven and a half hours.
This is a complete system failure. And I'm going to get to the bottom of it. I don't think it's unfair to ask these questions. Quite frankly, how could they say, after Panetta and Dempsey said they knew it was a terrorist attack that night, how could the president say for two weeks after the attack it was the result of a video? How could Susan Rice come on to your show and say there's no evidence of a terrorist attack when our secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs said they knew that night? I think that was a misleading narrative three weeks before our election.
SCHIEFFER: Let me just make sure, because you're about to make some news mere, I think. You are saying that you are going to block the nominations -- you're going to block them from coming to a vote until you get an answer to this?