Harry Reid delivered a brutal smackdown to John McCain and the Republicans regarding their blatant, dangerous politicization of the attacks in Benghazi and misrepresentation of classified information for political purposes, starting off with, “I refuse to allow the Senate to be used as a venue for baseless partisan attacks.”
In a letter in which he denies Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte’s request for a Congressional Select Committee to investigate the Benghazi Attack, Senator Reid tore McCain and the Republicans apart.
Reid rejected McCain’s call for a special investigation, calling out Senator McCain for missing the classified briefing on this very issue, writing, “You already have the opportunity to engage more fully in the fulsome and ongoing investigations into the events in Benghazi currently being conducted by the Senate committees of jurisdiction. For instance, on Wednesday, Senator McCain failed to attend a classified briefing held by the Senate Homeland Security Committee on this very issue.
I am concerned that a Select Committee, as you propose, would duplicate and, ultimately, undermine the numerous investigations into the attack that are already proceeding in the Senate Committees of jurisdiction, and may serve to further politicize an issue that has already been manipulated by Members of both the House and Senate in service of partisan agendas.”
Reid pointed out that Republicans should know all about waiting for information by pointedly using Condi Rice’s quote to condemn their efforts to confuse the process, “As former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said, ‘It’s easy to try and jump to conclusions about what might have happened here. It’s probably better to let the relevant bodies do their work.'”
Reid detailed the many ways Republicans have complicated the matter and recklessly endangered national security, “Unfortunately, the approach taken by many Republican Members has been the opposite – instead of ‘letting the relevant bodies do their work,’ many Republicans have undermined and complicated their efforts. In the weeks following this terrorist attack, Members of the Republican Party in both the House and Senate have misrepresented the facts as presented in numerous briefings by the United States Intelligence Community through a constant stream of falsehoods, exaggerations, and leaks of sensitive national security information.”
Reid noted that a senior staff member for Representative Mike Rogers was actively working for Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign as Rogers was launching partisan attacks on Obama over Benghazi, sometimes misrepresenting the facts and possibly exposing classified information.
Furthermore, “One of you, Senator McCain, has gone so far as to make the outrageous claim that this event was “worse than Watergate”– despite the fact that there is no evidence that any crime was committed, no evidence of any cover-up, and no evidence that the administration has characterized the incident in any way that has not been consistent with the Intelligence Community’s contemporaneous assessments.”
Reid pointed out that Issa’s clown show shed “no new light” on the incident, but did succeed in “exposing sensitive and potentially classified information, as well as grossly misrepresenting the facts.”
Harry called the Republicans out for politicizing national security during the election, “The elections are over; it is time to put an end to the partisan politicization of national security, and begin working together to strengthen our efforts to dismantle and destroy the terrorist networks that threaten us.”
Reid offered an olive branch at the end of the three page takedown, “The most important task facing us at this juncture is to make sure that we collect the facts in a clear-eyed, nonpartisan fashion, and take whatever action they merit. Your considerable experience in these matters would be an enormous asset to this effort, if more judiciously deployed.”
John McCain will not be getting his super special committee. He will have to find another way of staying relevant as he loses his super important status as the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee this January. He won’t be allowed to whip up a Wategate fiction in order to play Big Man in the Senate.
On the other hand, Harry Reid is not fooling around anymore, and as the Senate Majority Leader, he really does have power. McCain needs to stop playing games or face the wrath of Harry.
Read the entire letter here:
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.