McCain, Giuliani on Benghazi: 'What Was the President Doing?'

Thursday, 20 Dec 2012 11:12 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani say they still want to know "what the president was doing" during the September attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, despite the administration's admission that serious security errors were made.
 
"I think the good news is at least they are admitting that there [were] serious errors made," McCain told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren Wednesday night, referring to the newly-released independent report on the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.
 
The Arizona Republican, who has been one of the harshest critics of the administration on its response to the Benghazi attack, said there was nothing new revealed in the report "that we didn't know right away," including the fact that serious security lapses allowed the U.S. consulate to be overrun.
 
But he added, "There are so many unanswered questions in this report."

In a separate appearance on the program,  Giuliani, agreed, saying more questions have to be asked "not just to sort of pick on the president," but because there are important lessons to be learned that could help diplomatic personnel dispatched to other "very dangerous" and "God-forsaken places" in the world.
 
McCain said he still wants to know why the administration changed from blaming the attack on an angry mob upset by an anti-Islam video to acknowledging that it was carried out by a terrorist group with ties to al-Qaida. He said he also wants to know why "military assets" weren't anywhere nearby, especially on Sept. 11, even though there had been "serious warnings" about an attack.
 
"What the president was doing" during the attack, and whether he knew beforehand about "all of these security problems in the consulate in Benghazi," is also a key question McCain added.

"Was he engaged?"
 
McCain suggested the same questions should be asked of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she finally testifies on Capitol Hill. Clinton was supposed to appear at hearings today, but suffered a concussion during a fall. Her appearance has been rescheduled for next month.
 
Asked if he thought Clinton was faking her illness to avoid testifying, as former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton suggested earlier this week, McCain said, "I believe that she is now not physically well enough to testify and she will testify in the middle of January."
 
"She certainly has a lot of responsibility for what happened in Benghazi . . . That report made that very clear." he said. "But I must say, I have never seen Secretary Clinton back down from a fight."
 
Giuliani, said he's eager as well to hear from Clinton.
 
"We don't know what Secretary Clinton knew, have no idea what she knew. We have no idea what the president knew," he said.
 
The Republican said he specifically wants "an answer from the secretary" on "why she didn't give them more security" in Benghazi.
 
"More importantly, we don't have an answer from the president of the United States," Giuliani said. "Did you know about these attacks? If you did know about them, why didn't you insist on more security for your people?
 
"The report is sanitized," he continued. "The report doesn't hold anybody responsible. The report does say that the State Department was grossly negligent, but it doesn't assign responsibility to anyone.
 
"Now it's the job of Congress to figure out what did Hillary Clinton know? What did Barack Obama know? And when they knew it," he added.

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