Breaking Update: McCain’s Call for a Benghazi Select Committee

UPDATE IV:

Read “McCain Backs Away From Benghazi Conspiracies” here.

But is the bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran-man really backing away?

Of course not. He’ll find some other angle to continue to spout his bitterness and sour grapes.

UPDATE III:

CBS News Reports:

CBS News has learned that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) cut specific references to “al Qaeda” and “terrorism” from the unclassified talking points given to Ambassador Susan Rice on the Benghazi consulate attack – with the agreement of the CIA and FBI. The White House or State Department did not make those changes.

There has been considerable discussion about who made the changes to the talking points that Rice stuck to in her television appearances on Sept. 16 (video), five days after the attack that killed American Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, and three other U.S. nationals.

Republicans have accused her of making misleading statements by referring to the assault as a “spontaneous” demonstration by extremists. Some have suggested she used the terminology she did for political reasons.

Read full story here

UPDATE II:

Digging in more obstinately, McCain is now going even further in expressing his distaste towards U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice and his displeasure at the Obama administration.

According to ThinkProgress, McCain answered a question on future Secretary of State nominations as follows:

Under the present circumstances, until we find out all the information as to what happened, I don’t think you would want to support any nominee right now. Because this is very very serious and it has even larger implications than the deaths of 4 Americans. It really goes to the heart of this whole light foot print policy that this administration is pursuing.

ThinkProgress adds:

McCain’s scapegoating of Rice has been soundly debunked, as the ambassador was simply given talking points provided by the intelligence community. Even other Republican senators have backed away from his plan to block her nomination. Despite the lack of support behind him, McCain appears willing to take his politicization of the Libya attack to new heights in the nomination process.

UPDATE I:

Even one of the former “tres amigos” has now separated from the two angry Senators who want Rice’s scalp and a select Senate committee to investigate and make political hay over the Benghazi tragedy.

On “Fox News Sunday,” replying to a question by Wallace on whether he thought that we need a special committee to investigate Benghazi, Joe Lieberman said:

Yeah I respectfully separate from my two amigos on this one and I agree with Saxby. This was a tragedy but it doesn’t rise to the level of 9/11/01. Our committees can handle this and come up with answers.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) had previously answered in a similar manner:

Well first of all these two guys are two of my best friends and two of Joe’s best friends. We travel a lot together to some very dangerous places but the committees within the United States Senate are very capable of investigating this in the right way and this is one time I have a slight disagreement with my good friends.

Earlier in the segment, according to Politico.com:

Lieberman undermined the central case McCain, Graham and Ayotte made in arguing for the special committee, namely the suggestion that Rice willfully inaccurately described the events of the Libya attack. “As I look at what we now know the intelligence community was saying that week and I look at Ambassador Rice’s statements on television on the following Sunday morning, I don’t find anything inconsistent between those two,”

Well, it looks that the bomb-bomb Iran-Iraq trio has now been reduced to the dos Benghazi desperados.

===

Original Post:

Senator John McCain, the same Senator from whom you did not hear a peep when Condoleezza Rice misled the public on Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction — even nuclear weapons (remember the “mushroom cloud”?) — and who cavalierly promoted, pushed and even wanted to prolong (it “would be fine with” him if the U.S. military stayed in Iraq for “a hundred years”) an unnecessary war based on, at best, faulty intelligence and a war where over 4,000 Americans died, now wants to crucify United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice for appearing on TV to tell the American people what the intelligence community had passed on to her.

Also, the same Senator who was recently holding a press conference to complain that he was being kept in the dark about Benghazi and to condemn Susan Rice and the administration over the Benghazi tragedy while a closed-door briefing was being held on the very same issue, is demanding that a special select committee with extensive authority to investigate the Benghazi events be established — even though several other Congressional and Intelligence investigations are already being conducted.

Today, the Huffington Post perhaps sheds some light on the urgency and the passion on the part of the Senator to form such a Committee and to start such an additional “Watergate-style” investigation:

Just four years ago, John McCain was the leader of the GOP. Today, he’s the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, a perch from which the former fighter pilot is deeply engaged in the national conversation over war, terrorism and intelligence gathering.

But in January, the Arizona senator will lose his top-ranking committee seat due to term limits. The only ranking Republican spot available to him next session will be on the Indian Affairs Committee.

Unless, that is, the Senate creates a brand-new select committee. On Wednesday, McCain, flanked by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), proposed just that: a select committee with extensive authority to investigate the Benghazi, Libya, attack and the U.S. government’s response.

The Republican most likely to hold the ranking spot on such a panel would be, of course, John McCain, giving the Arizona senator a new burst of relevance.

Read more here

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

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49 Comments

  1. that makes me want to puke a little

  2. Whether people here like JM or not, there will be more hearings and investigations and reports, because four Americans died and people would like to know the exact circumstances, causes and explanations. Is that so terrible?

    If the administrations were switched, people would still want to know and the past handling of other potentially embarrassing, or worse, incidents are interesting and perhaps also abhorrent, but they should not give the present one a pass without the transparency that the CURRENT administration rightfully endorses and promised.

  3. Oh God, please don’t put him on the Indian Affairs Committee. Native Americans have been screwed enough.
    They don’t need a truly backward Republican to show MORE partisan lack of concern for them.

  4. dduck your right. BUT Dr. Susan Rice is low hanging fruit that basically repeated what was said to her. McCain/Graham are barking up the wrong tree and look foolish. Rep. Peter King is saying the Rice heard from 7, 8, or 9 federal agencies on what to say. Who are these agencies and who gave the information. Patraeus is saying that information from the CIA was changed by those 7, 8, 9 agencies. Again, who are they? And also, why aren’t we talking more about the September 2008 attack on the US embassy in Yemen? So many weapons were used in that you’d think it was under siege by Alexander the Great.

  5. T, they are using Rice to deflect the blame. The puppet master is who we need to get at, Rice is just being rolled under the bus and gives O a chance to show how protective he is of the poor “victimized” WOMAN. Yes they should go after O, but Rice is in the way.
    BTW: was Rice at this week’s hearings? Why not?

  6. McCain has become a sad figure on the political landscape. Grace and discretion would dictate that he step aside and bask in the glow of past accomplishments. His behavior in recent years is like an aging athlete taking to the filed to prove his youthful agility after that agility is long gone. The sadness is that he risks being remembered for the pitiable and self serving misjudgments of the last years rather than the selfless patriotism that once marked his service.

  7. “filed” should be “field”. Urg…edit function; now you see it, now you don’t.

  8. I supported John McCain in 2000 and he has done everything he could to make me regret that decision since then. There are things that I have found out about him since then that makes it difficult to even think of him as a hero. He is a bitter old man and that bitterness began when the Navy told him he he would never be an admiral like his father and grandfather and only got worse when he was humiliated by Obama in 2008.

  9. I’m curious as to why as we get older (Ron and I are about the same age) makes some feel more concerned and obligated to those with less (Ron and I are on the same page there) while others seem unconcerned, bitter and afraid… Afraid of those with less and afraid of what they perceive to be happening to their “once wonderful” America.

    To paraphrase one of my favorite poets: Aren’t they aware that life (that never grows old) is always beautiful and that nothing beautiful ever hurries.

  10. McCain was/is always a dirtbag. Ask the Tillman family how he used Tillman’s story for political capital, then ignored the family for a final finish to the Pentagon BS.

  11. Well, as one older than you guys old fart, I may not agree to the way JM does things which are grating and perhaps seem in error to Dems and some Reps, but I value his experience as a one who has been in combat and was a prisoner of war. The send him out in the forest to die now that we don’t totally agree with him attitude is not mine. Is he bitter, I guess so, but he is still looking out for the country’s best interest, I think he is.
    And, rudi, you may be correct, but using “dirtbag” for JM is crude and crass.

  12. @DD
    in 200 I would probably have voted for McCain over Gore if that panned out. Knowing what I know now, JM partisan and cheating actions make him actions make him a dirtbag. Clinton is a dirtbag, but was a decent POTUS.

  13. “…because four Americans died and people would like to know the exact circumstances, causes and explanations. Is that so terrible?”

    Duck, if I thought for a nanosecond this was about the deaths of those four Americans, I’d agree.

    It isn’t.

    This is about partisanship, and the attempt to manufacture a “scandal” out of a truly bad situation. If it were anything else, an internal investigation by the agencies involved, with subsequent testimony to their respective oversight committees would be more than satisfactory.

    Instead, McCain wants a “special” committee to investigate that which is certainly already being thoroughly investigated. Why the extra level of investigation? Grandstanding, no doubt. I’d even hazard a guess that there’s a little payback involved.

    That the label “Benghazi-gate” has been thrown around is, in my opinion, not a coincidence. Republicans have been trying to drum up a comparable “gate” to hang around the neck of the Democrats ever since ‘ole Tricky Dick waved goodbye on the steps of Marine One.

  14. C, I like when we get as much of the truth from politicians as is possible. Yes, the tragedy is that four people died and perhaps we can avoid that happening in the future. Ok, so that is being looked into. Yes, we were given a half-truth at best during the first two weeks after the attack. So that pisses me off. The obfuscation is still going on and closed hearings give us biased comments by committee members and an abundance of theories. It is now over two months since the attack, even with the fog of war, i’d like to hear the “whole story”.
    I don’t blame some of you thinking this is just partisanship, but I would want this clarity if it was done under a Rep’s administration.
    And, I think not everyone is politically motivated and I agree some out there are looking for a witch hunt.

  15. If I thought for a second the republicans were concerned about getting to the facts instead of looking to discredit the O administration, I would be more supportive. however, those who called for investigations after 9-11-01, or were sceptical of the “weapons of mass destruction” that we were assured were in iraq were called unamerican, unpatriotic, and traitors. In addition, what of the other embassy attacks during the B administration. Where are those investigations? what was the results of those hearings? This is partican politics at its worst.

  16. cjjack nailed it

    Remember that after the first 9/11 occurred and 3,000 died– we came together as a nation. Nobody at the time blamed Bush, in fact he his highest approval ratings date back to that time. Both Cheney and Bush asked Tom Daschle to hold off on congressional hearings, and he obliged. The 9/11 Commission did not release any findings for 3 years after the attack.

    Can you picture any of that happening today with THIS attack?? Yes, it was tragic. Yes, somebody probably screwed up. But, the GOP are attacking Rice and Obama with more venom than they are the militants who killed the 4 Americans. The focus is not on preventing more deaths but on manufacturing as much scandal as possible for the administration that just won reelection. Rice and Obama did not cause those deaths. Reporting the incident differently would not have saved anyone or made the whole affair less tragic.
    I think calmly waiting for the facts to come out instead of demanding a Watergate style Select Committee would be the way to go, Unfortunately, McCain prefers to grandstand. Maybe he is no longer enjoying his work in the Senate and should resign.

  17. Y and B, you are long on historical rhetoric and that does deflect the focus from the present, but the FACT remains we were fed a known falsehood.

    O ran on a transparency platform as an anti-Bush candidate, don’t you want more honesty from him than the Bush people gave us?

  18. dd, in this era of 24 hour news cycles, the network and cable shows were looking for a statement. Susan Rice had her taking points from the CIA. She went on the shows and gave those points. She also made clear that this was not the last word on the subject as the investigation was continuing. Even I know that some things take time to learn and some things are held back for national security purposes. However, with Fox News, McCain, and Lindsy Graham (who by the way has already released a re=election advertisement on getting to the bottom of Bengazi) drumming up a scandal where none may exist, is beyond the pale.

    I will also add that diplomates don’t just sit in their parlor’s sipping tea. Serious diplomates are on the ground in extremely dangerous areas. That’s how they know what is happening and can report back to Washington with accurate information. Unfortunately, this puts them in danger. To forget that, or deliberately ignore it, is not giving diplomates the credit due them for their sacrifice and service to this nation.

  19. Bluebelle says “cjjack nailed it”

    Fully agree.

    And you, Bluebelle, “nailed it” too, when you say:

    But, the GOP are attacking Rice and Obama with more venom than they are the militants who killed the 4 Americans. The focus is not on preventing more deaths but on manufacturing as much scandal as possible for the administration that just won reelection. Rice and Obama did not cause those deaths. Reporting the incident differently would not have saved anyone or made the whole affair less tragic.

    This political hypocrisy on the part of some Republicans is so transparent and so outrageous that I am surprised it is not seen as such by everyone.

    Let’s have investigations. Let’s “hang” the guilty, but let’s do in a decent way,not in the McCain-Graham self-serving kangaroo court.

  20. Y, _____ the networks, you don’t put out misinformation, 24 hours or 5 days later. Watch the mews shows today, I think the MSM may be waking up.

    Blindness to the facts doesn’t change them.

  21. dd, I’m not even sure how to respond since every administration since the beginning of the republic has put his misinformation. I’m not saying that the O administation put out misinformation based on what they had at the time. Maybe so, maybe not. I didnt watch the morning shows since the whole thing has become an exercise in pinning a “scandal” on the O administration.

    After assuming command in Cambridge, Washington found that only thirty-six barrels of powder remained after Bunker Hill. That was only enough for nine rounds per man. Realizing the disastrous result of a British attack with the munitions so low, Washington sent messengers into Boston with the story that he had eighteen hundred barrels, and this same rumor was circulated in the American camp. Thus, a British attack was temporarily stalled. The Continental Congress had expressly forbidden the burning of New York. However, Washington sent members of Captain Nathan Hale’s regiment into New York to start fires which ultimately destroyed 493 homes, or approximately one-third of the city. Unfortunately the British reaction to the conflagrations raised alertness, and Captain Nathan Hale, a spy sent by Washington to report on British fortifications, was captured and hung. One of Nathan Hale’s best friends, Maj. Benjamin Tallmadge later became Washington’s second-in-command in charge of setting up a spy network critical to the final victory.

  22. Only, Washington, why not go back to Caesar, he put out misinformation, and he didn’t promise transparency.

    “I’m not saying that the O administation put out misinformation based on what they had at the time.”
    Well everyone else says it, including Feinstein.

  23. Oh, and add Maureen Dowd to the crowd jumping on Rice and O’s WH.
    “The president’s protecting a diplomatic damsel in distress made Rice look more vulnerable, when her reason for doing those shows in the first place was to look more venerable. ”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11......html?_r=0

  24. “tres amigos” eh Dorian.

    Great… I can finally jump in without making de duck angry…

  25. Ducks are angry and snapping at your heels all the time :)

  26. MY pleasure.

  27. The send him out in the forest to die now that we don’t totally agree with him attitude is not mine. – dd

    Well, that’s a pretty darned cushy forest, one a LOT of Americans (including plenty of vets who sacrificed as much or more and received much less attention and adulation) would be more than happy to be exiled to. I think McCain will somehow manage, regardless of what other Americans think about him.

  28. What more information do you want Dduck? They have released timelines, done investigations, its out there. The Libyans have helped. Our mission to assist them in forming a new govt continues. There is no scandal here, no monstrous cover up. It’s in the news. It’s not under the rug. It is being looked at with orders of magnitude more scrutiny than any terrorist attack on our people since 9/11. We got hit, we are going to be hit again at some point, of course where we least expect it. No doubt there will be the usual suspects wanting detailed information on why we didn’t see that one coming, and think our intelligence agencies are doing nothing.

  29. Slam, I guess Feinstein, a Dem, holding a Senate hearing on the “talking points”, (more like the BS points), refutes the “it’s all over, move on” attitude.

    You guys want to ignore what you get told by an administration official, Rice, fine, enjoy yourselves.

  30. Z, he went through hell in the Hanoi Hilton, I didn’t so I respect him for that and I respect all the other POWs and those that sacrificed, including you if you were a POW.

  31. The FBI couldn’t get in until October 4 because Benghazi is so dangerous and then they only spent a few hours and got out. Trying to make a coherent statement, or policy, with what is still going on there is not a venue for snap judgements (and we all know McCain’s tendency for snap judgements). If no information had been given five days after the event, the outcry would have been the same with false outrage about being kept in the dark. Hillary Clinton would have been pilloried instead of her spokesperson.

    The fact that all this righteous indignation is about what was told to the public rather than about learning of and correcting any security lapses makes the case for pure political posturing better than anything else FOX, McCain, or Graham could have come up with.

    When their attention shifts to those problems they will regain some respect. If they stay on this ridiculous witchhunt, they will succeed in looking even more foolish. The fact that this administration is killing al Queda almost daily makes the charge that they wanted to mislead because they want us all to think al Queda is all gone is even more laughable.

    As for what Sen. Feinstein thinks – she thinks criticizing Rice “has to stop”.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11......html?_r=0

  32. Ohio, which hunt do you prefer, the one where the “mission” was either under secured or should have shut down, or the one where we were fed BS. Either one requires information that is not incorrect or slanted for the best fig leaf award.

    Feinstein also said she doesn’t understand the “talking points” and wants answers.

    BTW: why do you guys never mention CNN’s “coverage” of the Benghazi attack (original, TP language) and only FOX?

  33. Fully agree with you, T.O.

    McCain, a man to be admired for his military sacrifices a long time ago (for which I still respect the man), is now a man to be despised and pitied for his political self-seeking and bitterness that he lost in 2008

  34. Dd, I respect him also. I do wish politicians were more willing to step aside (along with their egos) when the time comes.

  35. Dorian & z

    Politicians sometimes tend to outstay their competency to function adequately. We have the examples of Robert Byrd and Strom Thurmond in recent history (everything seem fairly recent at 75. :-) McCain’s increasing inablilty to control his spleen is disturbing. I’m not sure whether it’s a result of losing an election or something more serious, but, as I mentioned in another thread, he and Graham seem to feed each other’s malicious streak. It’s a very disheartening and painful situation to watch.

  36. @TO,

    Just happen to be reading comments and watching Rachel Maddow, hate her or love her, but she just spent half her show beautifully illustrating the failure that is McCain today, and the failure of the GOP for entrusting foreign policy to this bomb-bomb-bomb, bitter, narcissist fool. Priceless!

  37. dd

    I think the investigation should center on the entire incident; who was where and why they were there on what was known as a day when fireworks would be erupting all over the world. But I don’t want to know anything that will place more Americans in peril. If that means not revealing classified information, I’m good with that. We already have previously unknown CIA agents in Benghazi exposed, whether through these hissy fits, I don’t know, but the damage is done. Getting a handle on the situation there has been made tremendously more difficult and more people may die because these clowns didn’t want to wait for the security people to report to them through the normal channels, but wanted to play politics. It’s disgusting and they should be ashamed.

    I think the fact that State Department diplomats apparently have to do end runs around the security/CIA/military restraints on them so they can do their jobs must be addressed. Ambassador Stevens must have felt that doing his job this time required him to place himself and his private security guards in peril. I’m sure other diplomats also do that. It may be that in this new type of confrontation we will just have to put up with this type of tragedy. We lost many agents during the cold war. We will never know how many. The fact that this time the loss was a full Ambassador makes a full review imperative. Wasting time on worrying about why Ms. Rice said, always with caveats, what the Security people wanted her to say while things were being sorted out is not only foolish, but damaging. I can’t tell you how disgusted I am.

  38. @SteveK:

    I sometimes read the comments elsewhere, and your “tres amigos” musical video did not appear there, so I was a little puzzled by your comment.

    Now I understand and thanks for posting the video. Cute!

  39. Dorian

    I respect Senator McCain for all of his service and sacrifice and would condemn only his use of his power in ways that diminish the Senate and the country. It is more in sorrow than in anger that I witness his recent actions. He’s a combination of extreme flashes of greatness and of smallness. When he corrected the “crazy lady” in the crowd about Obama not being an Arab or Muslim or whatever, he did what few other politicians would have done in that situation. This current situation is a flash of that smallness and is distressing to those of us who remember the greatness.

  40. TO

    As I commented a while ago, I respect McCain for his military service and sacrifice and perhaps for a few other good things he may have done and said (you gave one example). But such respect for previous service should not, must not, prevent anyone from condemning this man for present and recent performance: Not just Benghazi, Libya, Iraq,Iran, Kosovo, Afghanistan, etc., but — for example — for his stubborn refusal to endorse the New GI Bill under Bush while our guys (and gals) were dying and getting shot up because of the war he planned, peddled, pushed and prolonged. That’s why I despise today’s McCain. Sorry that I can not put it more ‘diplomatically.’

    And, yes, I guess there is some sorrow in having to do this.

  41. My question is..what on earth does McCain hope to get out of this? That they will uncover some great hidden secret that everyone buried to show O’s incompetence? He is obviously hoping for some Ahaaa moment to prove to the world…just what exactly.
    We all know why he is doing this, but I am not sure he does. He is so blinded by some misplaced partisan loyalty that he cannot even see…that ship has already sailed John.

  42. I don’t know about JM, but what I hope to get out “all of this” is a serious look at potential attacks at our embassies and other facilities and the security of said, plus whether facilities in dangerous areas should be closed as the British did. And perhaps making sure fast response teams are close to danger spots.
    Secondly, I don’t give a flying _____, what FOX or CNN says, I am hoping for “we are investigating” instead of information that is not accurate for all future events. Future being the operative word. The blame game may not work, but at least these people can learn from their mistakes.

    Congress will be holding more meetings, so I hope they will be getting accurate information, and then we will see.

  43. McCain (along with a few others) needs to go. He is no longer deserving of the public trust. This has nothing to do with his prior service to the country. It’s about who he is now.

  44. This has nothing to do with his prior service to the country. It’s about who he is now.

    Absolutely… I live in Arizona and I’m ashamed of who John McCain is and what he has become.

    His wife’s beer distributorship and his fathers Admiralty are the only reasons “JOHN MCCAIN III” (the third) even exists in the public eye.

  45. So after much squeezing and pushing, the DNI appears to be the one who came up with the erroneous talking point and someone gave them to Rice, “who had nothing to do with Benghazi”, who then went on the five talk shows with information she THOUGHT to be true. I got it, she was the messenger that JM and others are now killing. Seems to me that someone could have come to rescue the damsel in distress (thanks, Maureen Dowd) a little earlier or she could have defended herself in public or last week during the committee hearings.

    I guess it should have been Clinton out there on that Sunday, but wait, then she would have had to use different talking points. Still smells.

  46. “I participated in hours of hearings in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last week regarding the events in Benghazi, where senior intelligence officials were asked this very question, and all of them – including the Director of National Intelligence himself – told us that they did not know who made the changes. Now we have to read the answers to our questions in the media.”
    I guess CNN gets more accurate information then a Senate committee gets. WOW.

  47. Quite likely, Steve

  48. DDW, let me call CNN, they seem to know more than anyone.

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