Tags: benghazi | rice | investigation | attack

McCain, Graham Push for One Benghazi Inquiry

Thursday, 15 November 2012 08:41 AM

Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham Wednesday stepped up their call for a Watergate- and Iran-Contra-style investigation of the Benghazi attack, as they angrily denounced President Barack Obama for what they suggested was a cover-up of events surrounding the Sept. 11 assault on the U.S. mission in Libya.
In separate appearances on Fox News programs, the two also described the president's defense of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice at his news conference on Wednesday as both "juvenile" and politically-motivated. They continued to criticize his decision to make Rice the initial front person for answering questions about the attack, saying her depiction of it as a protest against an anti-Islam video that turned violent was misleading to the American people.
"I believe she's a close political ally of the president. She went on national TV, four or five days after the attack, when there is no credible information that the video scenario was real, and she either, through incompetence or an intentional effort to mislead the American people, tried to spin a story that would help the president," Graham said on Fox News' Sean Hannity show.

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"I am going to hold her accountable. She volunteered for this assignment . . . But the person I blame the most is the president."
"It's interesting for the president to say something that juvenile. I'm not picking on anyone," McCain said in response to Obama's claim that Republican criticism of Rice was "outrageous."
"Four Americans died! Is that picking on anybody when you want to place responsibility and find out what happened so that we can make sure it doesn't happen again?" McCain told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren.
"And you know, it's not a bad life being ambassador to the U.N. You have a nice suite in the Waldorf-Astoria and look pretty good," he added. "And so . . . why they used her as their spokesperson on all the major networks that Sunday is still beyond me, but they did."
But the senators said the president would ultimately have to explain why more wasn't done to protect U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans killed in the attack.
"He is responsible, and he has . . . given contrasting versions of events to the American people," said McCain, who lost to Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign.
"I blame the president for leaving the consulate open in a fashion that it became a death trap," Graham told Hannity, noting that two previous attacks had occurred on the Benghazi consulate. "He should have closed the consulate or heavily reinforced it."
At least four different Senate and House committees have already begun inquiries into the attack. Former CIA Director David Patraeus, who went to Libya a few weeks ago to conduct his own investigation, is expected to testify this week before at least two committees, despite the controversy surrounding his resignation over an extramarital affair.
But McCain and Graham suggested that separate committee investigations would simply add more confusion, making it even more difficult to get to the real facts about what happened in Benghazi and the administration's response to it.
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They called for creation of a select committee made up of Senate and House members to conduct one inquiry into what Graham described as "a national security breakdown of monumental proportions."
"How in the world can you get to the truth if you got three or four committees going off in separate directions? Have a select committee," Graham said, suggesting that the House ought to take the lead on putting it together.
"What we need is what we had after Watergate, Iran-contra, that we would then put together a select committee which would have jurisdiction over all the issues," McCain said on Van Susteren's program. "That's the only way you're really going to address this terrible tragedy and debacle."

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Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham Wednesday stepped up their call for a Watergate- and Iran-Contra-style investigation of the Benghazi attack.
Thursday, 15 November 2012 08:41 AM
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