With information about the deaths of four Americans still forthcoming nearly half-a-year after a terrorist attack in Benghazi claimed their lives, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) is suggesting that the truth is being concealed by a ďmassive cover-up."
Sen. McCain, a ranking member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services and a former presidential hopeful, made his remarks during Sundayís edition of the CBS television program Meet the Press. Sen. McCain was asked about the confirmation hearings for defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel on the show when he opened up about the September 11, 2012 incident in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including US Ambassador Chris Stevens. Sen. McCain has expressed contention in confirming the Obama nominee because in part of Mr. Hagelís lack of explanation regarding the attack. When asked by Meet the Press host David Gregory to divulge more into what exactly he wanted to know about the incident, Sen. McCain fired back with skepticism about how the attack has been handled.
ďAt the end of the day here on Benghazi, if the worst thing is true, what is that truth about how the president handled this crisis?Ē asked Gregory.
ďWell I donít know the answer to that question,Ē responded the senator. ďI do that there are so many answers we donít know.Ē
"Weíve had two movies about getting bin Laden and we donít even know who the people were who were evacuated from the consulate the day after the attack. So there are many, many questions. And weíve had a massive cover-up on the part of the administration."
ďBut a massive cover-up of what?Ē fired back Gregory, cutting off an impassioned McCain who appeared adamant to make his point.
"Iím asking you, do you care whether four Americans died?" McCain said. "And shouldnít people be held accountable for the fact that four Americans died?"
Gregory, relentless, attempted to egg McCain on and have the lawmaker open up as to what exactly he thinks is being withheld from the public. ďBut a massive cover-up of what?Ē he asked again.
"Of the information concerning the deaths of four brave Americans," McCain fired back. "The information has not been forthcoming. You obviously believe that it has. I know that it hasnít. And Iíll be glad to send you a list of the questions that have not been answered, including íWhat did the president do and who did he talk to the night of the attack on Benghazi?í"
The truth regarding the Benghazi assault has continued to raise questions since the incident and matters have only been made worse by conflicting accounts coming from the White House, the US ambassador to the United Nations and the American intelligence community. Last week, Republicans in Congress halted the confirmation process for Hagel, by waging the first defense secretary nomination filibuster in the history of the country. Along with McCain, other Republicans have stressed that Hagel and other Obama nominees need to do more to explain the Benghazi attack before they could be confirmed.
ďI donít think we should allow . . . Hagel to be confirmed as secretary of defense, until the White House gives us an accounting,Ē Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said days earlier on CBSí Face the Nation. ďDid the president ever pick up the phone and call anyone in the Libyan government to help these folks? What did the president do?Ē Graham said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has defended the presidentís choice by saying, "Chuck Hagel had nothing to do with the attack in Benghazi.Ē After his appointment was put on hold last week, Sen. Reid called the Republican Partyís efforts ďunfortunate,Ē adding, "It is tragic that they have decided to filibuster this qualified nominee.Ē
US President Barack Obama remains confident that his pick will be approved, however, and said, "My expectation and hope is that Chuck Hagel, who richly deserves to get a vote on the floor of the Senate, will be confirmed as our defense secretary."
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