Appearing on Fox News last night, Graham made clear that he was unsatisfied with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony last week, saying, “I haven’t forgotten about Benghazi. Hillary Clinton got away with murder, in my view.” Graham’s quest for the truth has now led him to current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
Panetta, who has not testified before Congress about the role he played during the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in the Libya city, is due to step down from his position at the Pentagon in the coming weeks. Graham now insists that Panetta would have to provide answers on what happened that night to the Armed Services Committee, on which Graham is a member. What’s more, as he told Fox News host Greta Van Sustren, Graham now intends to place a hold on Panetta’s proposed replacement, Chuck Hagel, until he gets the answers he wants:
VAN SUSTEREN: Is Secretary Panetta going to testify?
GRAHAM: Well, I’m not going to — I’m going to block Hagel from going forward until he does.
VAN SUSTEREN: So you’re going to block him.
GRAHAM: Absolutely. Why would we not want to understand what happened during the attack itself? How could our secretary — what happened for seven hours? Why were there no military assets available on September the 11th.
Watch Graham’s threat here:
This is the second threat of a hold — an informal threat to filibuster a nomination or bill — that Graham has placed upon a new member of the Obama national security team over Benghazi. Earlier this month, Graham pledged to hold up the confirmation of White House Counterterrorism Director John O. Brennan — or anyone — to be the new CIA Director until he finds out who edited the infamous unclassified “talking points” on Benghazi. Graham was also key to scuttling a potential Susan Rice nomination to be Secretary of State in relation to Libya.
Graham’s dogged pursuit of “the truth” is undercut by the fact that many of the questions he’s asking have already been answered. Panetta and other administrations officials have repeatedly stated that due to the attack coming in two waves, and the distance between Libya and Sigonella Air Base in Italy, the U.S. was unable to send military forces to respond. Likewise, the question of the editing of Susan Rice’s Sept. 16 Sunday show statements has been previously identified as the result of an interagency process, in which the CIA itself removed references to Al Qaeda.