Sen. Graham: Obama Told Me to 'Take a Hike' on Benghazi

Tuesday, 05 Nov 2013 04:17 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Sen. Lindsey Graham says President Barack Obama told him to "take a hike" when he pressed for access to eyewitnesses to the Benghazi massacre, and Graham will ask House Speaker John Boehner to appoint a select committee to investigate the 2012 terrorist attack.

"The speaker needs to put a select committee together. You can't stovepipe this. You just can't talk to the military, intelligence, and State Department people separately. You need to get them all together where you can compare notes," Graham, a South Carolina Republican, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"The CIA's beginning to allow people to talk, but the State Department, in two letters I wrote to Secretary [of State John] Kerry . . . basically told me for the Congress to interview the survivors would be a national security problem and would compromise their safety. Give me a break," he said Tuesday.

Story continues below video.



Graham said Congress has spoken to only one survivor since the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

"One survivor. There were six to eight State Department employees at the consulate when the attack began . . . Ambassador Stevens said, 'We're under attack,"' Graham said.

"The survivors were interviewed two days later, and this administration will not allow the Congress as part of oversight to have access to the FBI interviews . . .

"They told the American people five days after the attack there was no indication of a preplanned al-Qaida attack, that al-Qaida had been decimated in Libya."

Graham said Congress wants to ask the survivors questions to pinpoint just how the deadly assault was carried out in the wake of inadequate U.S. security.

"What I really want to hear from the survivors themselves [is]: Did you believe that your government was going to come to your aid when you were under attack? And when you found out that nobody was coming, how did you feel?" Graham said.

"I want us all to hear that to make sure we never allow this to happen again."

But when Graham, who is on the Armed Services and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees, approached Obama, asking him for more access, he says he was told to "take a hike."

"I'm not trying to impede a criminal investigation. I'm not looking to figure out who to blame or who to prosecute. I want to hear from the survivors," Graham said.

"Can you imagine what [former Sens. Hillary] Clinton and Obama would be saying if this were the Bush administration denying access to the witnesses? There would be a riot in the street."

Graham thinks the details surrounding the Benghazi attack were swept under the carpet because the presidential election was just weeks away.

"The bottom line was the storyline from the White House is that bin Laden is dead, al-Qaida is on the run, the war in Iraq is over, and we're getting out of Afghanistan. What's not to like?" Graham said.

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"Well, here's really the 30,000-foot view of Libya. How could Secretary [of State] Clinton and the president miss the rise of al-Qaida in Libya that eventually led to the overrunning of a consulate?

"They were absolutely deaf, dumb, and blind in Washington about the growing al-Qaida threat because it interfered with their storyline. I really regret that Gov. [Mitt] Romney did not challenge President Obama more . . . Huge mistake."

Clinton, who is now mulling a possible run for president in 2016, must be held accountable, Graham said.

"Hillary Clinton will have a lot of good things to say about her life in terms of her accomplishments," he said. "But she hasn't been held yet accountable, in my view, for the security lapse in Benghazi. It was her job to protect this consulate."

See the Steve Malzberg Show on Newsmax TV each weekday live by Clicking Here Now




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