Published on Feb 10, 2013
2/10/13 – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared on CBS News’ Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer on Sunday where he pledged to try to block the nominations of both Chuck Hagel and John Brennan in an effort to get more information about the 2012 attack on an American consulate in Benghazi out of President Barack Obama. Graham told Schieffer that he thought it was unfortunate that Obama did not place a personal call to officials in the Libyan government on the evening of September 11, 2012, when an American consulate in Libya was overrun by militants.
“I do believe, if he had picked up the phone and called the Libyan government, these folks could have gotten out of the airport to the annex and the last two guys may very well be alive,” Graham said. “If he failed to call on behalf of those people under siege, then I think that’s a massive failure of leadership by the commander-in-chief.”
“This seems to be a very disengaged president,” Graham said. “I’m not going to stop until we get an accounting.”
“If they don’t give you an answer, what can you do?” Schieffer asked. Graham replied that he was not prepared to vote to confirm either Brennan as CIA Director or Hagel as Secretary of Defense unless the White House comes forward with more information about the president’s actions on the night of the Benghazi attack.
“Did the president ever pick up the phone and call anyone in the Libyan government to help these folks? What did the president do?” Graham asked.
“What did he do that night?” Graham asked regarding the president’s activities on the night of the attack. “That’s not unfair. The families need to know, the American people need to know.”
“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?” Schieffer asked.
“Yes,” Graham replied, though ruled out filibustering the president’s nominees on the Senate floor. “This is complete system failure, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it,” Graham declared.
White House: Obama Called Libyan President Day After Benghazi Attack
By Jonathan Karl Feb 14, 2013 2:47pm
ABC News has learned that the White House, in a bid to clear the way for a vote on Chuck Hagel’s delayed nomination to be Defense Secretary, has turned over more information on the President’s activities during the 24 hours after the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi.
Among other things, the letter points to an accountability review conducted by the State Department which found the response from Washington to the attack was “timely and appropriate.” The letter argues the “intensive response” was “directed by the President.” On the day of the attack – Sept. 11 – then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the Libyan President Magariaf. President Obama called Magariaf the next day, Sept. 12, according to the White House.
The information on the President’s involvement in the response to the Benghazi attack comes in the form if a letter from the White House Counsel addressed to Senators McCain, Ayotte and Graham — who had demanded it.
Here is a key passage from the White House letter:
“This intensive response, which was directed by the President, included 13 meetings of interagency Principals and Deputies within a week of the attack and involved continuous outreach by senior administration officials to the Government of Libya, includingby the President and members of his Cabinet. As to the specific question in your February 12 letter, Secretary Clinton called Libyan President Magariaf on behalf of the President on the evening of the September 11, 2012 to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya and access to the Libyan territory. At that time, President Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government’s full cooperation. The President spoke to President Magariaf on the evening of September 12th.”
Hagel was not in government service when the consulate was attacked, but Republicans lead by Sen. Lindsey Graham have used the Hagel nomination as a way to further investigate the Benghazi attack.
Graham insisted that outgoing Defense Sec. Leon Panetta testify on Capitol Hill with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey about the reaction to the attack, which claimed the lives of four Americans, including Amb. Chris Stevens.
At that hearing, Graham asked Panetta and Dempsey if they had personally heard from President Obama on the night of the attack and implied that the President was not enough engaged in the response.
It is unclear if this new disclosure by the White House will clear the way to a vote on the Hagel nomination, but it is an effort to do just that.
Senator Graham: “Benghazi Was About Breakdown of Security, Failure of Leadership, and a Prez Who Was Virtually Disengaged” (Video)
February, 14, 2013 — nicedeb
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) held a press conference, today, to make a statement in response to Obama’s letter acknowledging he did not call anyone in Libya on September 11, 2012 during the 8 hours the U.S. mission was under attack. He didn’t pick up the phone to call any government officials in Libya until Sept. 12, after everyone was dead.
If it were not for the three of us and other colleagues, you would still believe – the American people would still believe that this was a spontaneous event caused by a hateful video, Graham told reporters. “That’s what was being told by Susan Rice five days after the attack, that’s what was being said by the POTUS for weeks. The reason we know that’s not true, is because we dug, and we pushed, and we prodded. And now we know, that during the entire attack, POTUS never picked up the phone to put the weight of his office into the mix, and there’s no stronger voice in the world than the President of the United States.”
Graham noted that during the three and a half hours the rescue team was waiting at the Benghazi airport to get to the annex, “Sec. Clinton said that she was on the phone yelling at the Libyan government to help, and my belief is that if the POTUS had picked up the phone and lent the weight of his office, it could have made a difference because the last two guys died within the last hour of the attack.”
And finally, he asked, “who changed the talking points? How could the President and Susan Rice tell the country that there’s no evidence of coordinated, pre-planned terrorist attack when the Sec. of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs described in detail how they knew that night it was a pre-planned coordinated terrorist attack.”
“The record needs to be clear”, Graham continued, “this was not about a hateful video, it was about a breakdown of national security, it was about an ambassador who was begging the State Dept. to send reinforcements for months, this was about a deteriorating security situation, this is about a attack you could see coming, this is about a complete failure of leadership in a Sec of Defense who never talked to the Sec of State, and a President who as far as we know was virtually disengaged.”
He concluded, “America needs to learn what happened, and we need to learn from our mistakes.”