WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Until there are answers regarding the terrorist attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to block two of President Obama’s top national security nominees.
On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Sen. Graham – a South Carolina Republican — said he is not going to allow Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense or John Brennan for CIA director to move ahead until he gets answers. Graham stated that he wants more information on the president’s involvement in the response to the consulate attack that resulted in the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.
“I don’t think we should allow Brennan to go forward for the CIA directorship, Hagel to be confirmed to secretary of defense until the White House gives us an accounting,” Graham told Bob Schieffer. “Did the president ever pick up the phone and call anyone in the Libyan government to help these folks? What did the president do?
“We know he talked to the Israeli Prime Minister from 8 to 9 on September the 11 , about a dust-up of the Democratic platform, and the fact that he didn’t meet the Prime Minister of Israel when he came to New York to visit the U.N., but that’s not related to Libya,” Graham added. “What did he do that night? That’s not unfair. The families need to know, the American people need to know.”
“Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer pressed Graham on his plan, asking, “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?”
Graham replied, “Yes.”
How he will block the nominations is still unknown considering that Sen. Graham insisted previously that he would not stage a filibuster. Graham said recently, “Filibustering is something I do very reluctantly.”
Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin – a Democrat from Michigan — postponed the vote on Hagel’s confirmation last week, after 26 GOP senators demanded more information from the former Republican Nebraska senator. The request for information on Libya, however, is not directly related to Hagel’s nomination.
In response to Sen. Graham’s remarks on Sunday, Sen. Jack Reed – a Democrat from Rhode Island — who also appeared on “Face the Nation,” said it was “unprecedented and unwarranted to stop, or attempt to try and stop” the nominations of Hagel and Brennan.
Republican Sen. John McCain, one of Graham’s closest friends in the Senate, has insisted that it would be inappropriate to filibuster Hagel. In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Sen. McCain said he was still undecided on whether would vote for the president’s defense secretary pick, but said he was leaning against it.
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