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February 12, 2013

Lindsey Graham Planning To Place Hold On Hagel And Brennan Over Benghazi

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Senator Lindsey Graham is planning to place a hold on the nominations of Chuck Hagel and John Brennan if the Obama Administration does not grant his demands for more information on the response to the Benghazi embassy attack.

Graham indicated that he is reserving the right to put a hold on the nominations of Hagel and John O. Brennan, Obama’s choice to be the next CIA director, until the administration provides more details on the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that left four U.S. diplomats dead.

“I don’t know what the president did that evening. I don’t know if he ever called anyone,” Graham said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “This was incredibly mismanaged. And what we know now — this seems to be a very disengaged president.”

According to the interview the central issue of Graham’s complaint is an altering of talking points that removed references to Al Qaeda.

SCHIEFFER: Let me just make sure, because you’re about to make some news here, I think. 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? Now, John McCain has already said he doesn’t think the Republicans ought to filibuster this. What will you do? You’re just going to put a hold on it? [...]

GRAHAM: I want to know who changed the talking points. Who took the references to Al Qaeda out of the talking points given to Susan Rice? We still don’t know…. I want to know what our president did. What did he do as commander in chief? Did he ever pick up the phone and call anybody? I think this is the stuff the country needs to know.

The point of re-litigating the Obama Administration’s response to the Benghazi attack now is elusive. Previously the goal was to demonstrate that political considerations were trumping honest communication – that the Obama Administration was leaving out Al Qaeda references to defuse a political vulnerability to the charge that he allowed a terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9/11. While this may or may not have been the case the election is over and President Obama is termed out begging the question – what does Graham really want?

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