During the Senate hearing into the Benghazi attack, Senator John McCain grilled Hillary Clinton about cables she read, when she knew they needed more security, and what the administration was doing during the attack and after, why the President didn’t disclose sensitive information to the public regardless of what the Intellgience asked for, etc. In the midst of this questioning, John McCain says that he knew Chris Stevens well, and that on July 7th, Stevens expressed to McCain his “deep and grave” concerns over security in Libya.
Starting around the 5:00 minute mark, Senator McCain expresses that Chris Stevens told him directly of his deep concerns over the security in Benghazi.
Watch here via NBC News:
Senator McCain: “You knew Chris Stevens very well. I knew him very well. I knew him on July 7th when I went to Libya to observe the elections and at that time, on July 7th, he expressed to me his deep and grave concerns about security particularly in Benghazi. He continued to communicate with the State Department and I don’t know who else as proven in those cables of his deep concern about the security there and the need for additional assistance.”
Why didn’t McCain do something about this information? He certainly knows Hillary Clinton well enough to have sent an email. He knew the House Republicans were holding up funding for security in Libya. Why didn’t McCain say anything then?
Conservative policy makers were so alarmed by House Republicans’ actions that they wrote them a letter, warning them that they were emboldening the enemy. They summed their letter up with this, “To cut off funding for current efforts would, in short, be profoundly contrary to American interests.” Surely McCain remembers his friend Lindsay Graham (R-SC) saying House Republicans obstructed Libya because Obama was President.
Should McCain not be held to the same standards to which he’s holding the Secretary?
It’s not like McCain is not on the Sunday talk shows almost every other weekend. Certainly if McCain had information he thought was relevant, he could have raised a fuss on TV. He could have brought attention to the matter.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even brought up the congressional holds to aid to Libya and the House holds on bilateral security assistance (my emphasis):
“With respect to helping the Libyans, and that also goes to the question Sen. Rubio asked, we will provide a list of everything we were doing and were attempting to do, but I will also tell you that since March 2011 congressional holds have been placed for many months for aid to Libya. We’ve had frequent congressional complaints. ‘Why are we doing anything for Libya? It is a wealthy country. It has oil.’ Disagreement from some sources that we should have never been part of any UN mission in Libya. Currently, the House has holds on bilateral security assistance, on other kinds of support, for anti-terrorism assistance. So we gotta get our act together between the administration and the congress.”
If it’s fair enough to grill Hillary Clinton for an entire day over how she doesn’t read each cable sent to the State department, shouldn’t we also be asking why a Senator with relevant information didn’t express the information that he had to anyone who could do something about it? McCain was the Chairman, at the time, of the esteemed Armed Services Committee. He is also on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Certainly he had access to both cameras and to people who could have addressed this issue.
We should be asking why McCain and other Republicans aren’t coming down on the House for their holds on security and aid, especially in light of McCain’s concerns over continued militia forces in Libya. And we should also be asking John McCain to whom he forwarded these “deep and grave concerns”. After all, if he believes that this is so important that intelligence should be breached in order to serve transparency, surely he is willing to put up his own emails and cables for examination.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
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 has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.