Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was the big newsmaker on Sunday's "Face the Nation," threatening to block the confirmation of former Senator Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to Secretary of Defense and John Brennan to Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on Sunday. He told Bob Schieffer, "I don't think we should allow Brennan to go forward the CIA directorship, Hagel to be confirmed for Secretary of Defense, until the White House gives us an accounting." The Senator was referring to an accounting of the President's actions on September 11, 2012 during the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya which ended in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Graham pushed, asking "Did the President ever pick up the phone and call anyone in the Libyan government to help these folks? What did the President do?"
Schieffer pushed Graham to clarify what exactly the Republican Senator was planning to do. Graham said, "No confirmation without information." But, that doesn't mean he'll seek a filibuster. He told Schieffer, "I'm not filibustering." But he continued, saying he won't stop until he gets his answers, saying, "This is a national security failure of monumental proportions and I'm not going to stop until we get to the bottom of it."
Senator Jack Reed, D-R.I., also appeared on "Face the Nation" with Sen. Graham and responded to Graham's threats. Agreeing that the "the issues of Benghazi are important," but saying that holding up the nominations of Hagel and Brennan would be both "unprecedented and unwarranted."
Reed elaborated, saying, "These are critical offices. The secretary of defense, at a time when we're looking at sequester, looking forward -- we're looking at crises across the globe, to dwell on a tragic incident and use that to block people is not appropriate."
(For more on Senator Graham's comments on holding up President Obama's cabinet appointments, visit The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, the Daily Beast, or The Huffington Post.)
Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., shifted the focus away from Libya and onto another topic coming to the forefront thanks to the nomination of Brennan to lead the CIA. Brennan has spent the last four years as the senior counter-terrorism official, overseeing the use of drones. While it was a hot topic on the Senate side this week, Rogers was quick to tell Schieffer he thinks "there is plenty of oversight here," in the use of drones.
Chairman Rogers was less confident, however, in the current policy regarding cyber terrorist attacks. "We have got huge, dangerous challenges approaching the United States, and I don't believe we've configured ourselves, our resources, or our policy to confront them in a way that will make an impact." Later on the show, in a panel devoted to cyber security, Rogers promised to reintroduce a cyber security bill "as early as this week," warning that "95% of our networks here in the United States, private sector networks, are incredible vulnerable.
Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars President Jane Harman, Center for Strategic and International Studies Technology and Public Policy Program Director James Lewis and CBS News Justice and Homeland Security Correspondent Bob Orr appeared with Rogers
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick also joined "Face the Nation" this Sunday to talk about the blizzard that hammered the Eastern seaboard this week. Patrick said that Massachusetts was still dealing with power outages and road closures, but that ultimately, the state was prepared for the inclement weather. "We have really, really terrific coordination by our own state emergency management with all of the state agencies, local agencies and the federal government. So I think it's too soon to say exactly what we need from the federal government, but they continue to check in and have routinely to make sure that we have what we need as we go along."