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Graham Threatens Nominations Logjam Over Benghazi

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lindsey Graham threatened on Monday to throw a wrench into Senate operations over the investigation of last year’s attack on Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

“Fourteen months later … the survivors, the people who survived the attack in Benghazi have not been made available to the U.S. Congress for oversight purposes. So I’m going to block every appointment in the United States Senate until the survivors are being made available to Congress,” Graham said. “I’m tired of hearing from people on TV and reading about stuff in books. We need to get to the bottom of this.”

The South Carolina Republican could cause a bottleneck for routine executive branch appointments that require Senate confirmation on which Senate Democrats wouldn’t want to burn through the time needed to overcome an objection. Such procedural maneuvering wouldn’t have the same effect on high-priority nominations, though, such as that of Janet L. Yellen to chair the Federal Reserve.

Graham added praise for the investigatory efforts of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California.

He called for the House to form a select committee to do away with what he had called “stove-piping.” So far, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has resisted that idea.

The comments by Graham, which came Monday morning on “Fox and Friends,” followed a report that aired Sunday on the CBS News program “60 Minutes” about the circumstances of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Graham repeated familiar GOP criticism about the whereabouts and involvement of then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton when additional security assistance was being requested and the talking points given to current National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice (at the time the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations).

He also said that he thought the circumstances surrounding the security in advance of the attack were being kept classified for political reasons.

“We’re just beginning on Benghazi,” Graham said.

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