Lindsey Graham threatens to hold up confirmations of John Brennan, Chuck Hagel

February 10, 2013

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday threatened to block the confirmations of President Obama's nominees for secretary of defense and head of the Central Intelligence Agency if the administration does not provide more information about its response to the deadly Sept. 11, 2012 attack on a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.

"I don't think we should allow [John] Brennan to go forward for the CIA directorship,  [Chuck] Hagel to be confirmed as secretary of defense, until the White House gives us an accounting. Did the president ever pick up the phone and call anyone in the Libyan government to help these folks? What did the president do?" Graham said on CBS News' "Face The Nation."

Graham said that he would not attempt to filibuster, but nodded yes when asked if he was willing to put holds on the nominees, which essentially means asking for the courtesy of notification before the Senate majority leader moves ahead on a vote.

White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor responded to Graham by calling on the Senate to "swiftly" confirm Hagel and Brennan, and urged members not to "play politics" with their nominations.

Among other things, Graham is demanding more information about the president's actions on the night of the attack, which claimed the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

"I don't know what the president did that evening. I don't know if he ever called anyone," Graham said. "This was incredibly mismanaged. And what we know now -- this seems to be a very disengaged president."

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said on the same program that holding up the confirmations as Graham described would be "unprecedented and unwarranted " He defended the the administration, calling the idea that president was not engaged "completely wrong."

Sean Sullivan covers national politics for “The Fix.”
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Sean Sullivan | February 10, 2013