Graham looking for delay on Brennan confirmation until we get some answers on Benghazi

posted at 12:41 pm on January 8, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Both of President Obama’s picks for his new national security team are in for some rocky confirmation battles that will certainly take up plenty of the media’s attention, and at least one senator is determined to use the occasion to vocally pressure the White House for some answers. No doubt that President Obama and his advisers would really just rather that we all forget about this whole ‘terrorist attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya on the anniversary of 9/11′ business and move on to a new year and a second term, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has not forgotten that we are still lacking even semi-complete answers on not only the security failings that lead to the deaths of four Americans, but also the manner in which the administration willfully mislead the public on the nature of the attack for some time after — and that they have been “stonewalling” about the entire affair ever since.

On Monday, Sen. Graham objected, not necessarily to John Brennan, but rather to going forward with a new CIA confirmation in general. The fact that something went badly wrong somewhere between the State Department and the intelligence community on multiple counts still needs to be resolved, and he isn’t ready to move on until we get this thing sorted out:

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina didn’t single out Obama’s nominee, John Brennan, for criticism, but he accused the administration of ignoring requests for more information about the Sept. 11 attack, which also targeted a CIA annex in Benghazi.

“I have not forgotten about the Benghazi debacle and still have many questions about what transpired before, during and after the attack on our consulate,” Graham said. “In that regard, I do not believe we should confirm anyone as director of the CIA until our questions are answered.”

Graham is specifically concerned about U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s talking points in the days after the attack, when she said that the attack seemed to be “spontaneous” violence growing out of protests over an anti-Islam film. She later admitted that some of that information was incorrect, though she said her comments were based on the information available at the time from the intelligence community.

On that note, the State Department has yet again officially insisted that Secretary Hillary Clinton is indeed going to testify herself about the security failings in Benghazi, although we still do not have a specific date:

The State Department said Monday that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will testify before Congress about security failures in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“She will testify while she is still sitting secretary of state,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said of Mrs. Clinton, who is slated to step down in the coming weeks, pending Senate confirmation of Sen. John F. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, as her replacement. …

“We have a new Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” she said. “So we’re working now with the committee on scheduling of both the Benghazi hearing [and] the confirmation hearing, getting the sequence agreed with them.”


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