Lindsey Graham doubles down on threat to block nominees over Benghazi

(L-R) Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, hold a news conference about Benghazi at the U.S. Capitol October 30, 2013 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is holding firm on a threat to block President Obama's nominees from being confirmed by the Senate unless the administration makes survivors of the Sept. 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, available to Congress for questioning.

"My request has been going on for a year, to talk to the five survivors," Graham said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. "I want to perform oversight. I'm not trying to prosecute a crime."

Graham said he met with the State Department on Thursday about the request. They previouslytold him in a letter that allowing the witnesses to testify or releasing their statements could jeopardize a criminal investigation. Graham said he met with the State Department Thursday about his request to interview the witnesses.

Republicans havelong sought more informationabout the Benghazi attack, with many believing that the administration deliberately misled the public by saying the attack was a result of a spontaneous uprising, not terrorist activity. The administration has been investigating the attack, but Graham said the administration cannot investigate itself on "something this bad and this big of a national security failure."

He said that he wants to question witnesses about whether there was a protest outside the embassy, what they told the FBI in the days following the attack, and whether they believed there was adequate security at the compound.

Graham's plan to hold up nominees was bolsteredby a "60 Minutes" report in late October, and he is standing by the threat even though reporter Lara Logan saidshe was misled and wrong on the report, and apologized to viewers.

The nominees that will come before the Senate for confirmation in the near future include Janet Yellen, who was selected to chair the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, and Jeh Johnson, who was nominated to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.