WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) — A senior Republican senator said President Obama’s Cabinet nominations should be shelved pending more detailed information about the Libyan consulate attack.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” he did not believe the confirmations of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary and John Brennan as head of the CIA should proceed until the Obama administration comes clean as to what took place in the White House while the compound in Benghazi was under attack.
“What did he (Obama) do that night?” said Graham, “That’s not unfair. The families need to know. The American people need to know.”
Graham told CBS one of his priority questions was how aggressive Obama was in sending U.S. personnel to relieve the consulate. He said a squad of State Department agents tried to get to Benghazi from Tripoli but was held up for hours at the airport by Libyan officials. Obama, he said, failed to personally intercede with the new Libyan government to allow the agents to take off.
“This is a complete system failure, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it,” Graham vowed.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., countered the White House had its hands full with anti-American demonstrations in Egypt, and that U.S. military leaders were too far away to mount a timely rescue mission. “The idea that the president was not engaged is, I think, completely wrong,” he said. “He directed the secretary of defense … to begin moving assets into the region to provide any response.”
Reed called the idea of blocking the Hagel and Brenner nominations “unprecedented and unwarranted,” but Graham said the Democrats had used similar tactics when President George W. Bush nominated the outspoken John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations.
“I’m going to ask my colleagues, just like they did with John Bolton,” Graham said. “(Sen.) Joe Biden said no confirmation without information. No confirmation without information.”
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