WASHINGTON – A key Republican senator, still not satisfied with White House answers on the attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya, said Sunday that he would try to delay Senate confirmation of President Obama’s nominees for Defense secretary and CIA director.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he would seek to block votes on Chuck Hagel as defense secretary and John Brennan as CIA director until he gets a better explanation of what the president himself was doing during the attack in September on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
“This is a complete system failure, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it,” he said.
Graham said he would put a so-called hold on the two confirmation votes. Under the Senate’s often-arcane rules, a hold can be a tough procedural obstacle. As with a filibuster, 60 votes are needed to end the hold and bring the motion to the Senate floor.
Republican critics, including Graham, have been hammering at the administration’s response since shortly after the terrorist raid, criticizing early statements that linked the attack to demonstrations against a video that was critical of Islam. On Sunday, Graham raised questions about whether the president intervened to try to speed more help to the besieged compound.