By Ramsey Cox
Republicans used the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Benghazi terrorist attack against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in speeches on the Senate floor Thursday.
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) called for accountability one day after a bipartisan congressional panel concluded that the deadly terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, could have been prevented.
Graham questioned whether some decisions were made for political reasons to ensure Clinton wasn’t damaged by the attack if she decides to run for president in 2016.
“[Clinton] couldn’t be on TV to talk about what happened at the State Department because she was distraught? I don’t believe it ... and if that is true people need to consider that,” Graham said. “I believe they picked someone very loyal to the president who would say whatever needed to be said. ... It needs to be investigated.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice appeared on the Sunday morning shows days after the 2012 attack and used briefing points that blamed an anti-Islamic film for the attack. Clinton declined to make appearances on the shows that initial weekend.
Graham even compared the situation to the recent Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) debacle, dubbed Bridgegate, saying that at least Christie reacted by firing an employee that planned a revengeful traffic jam. Christie is considered a leading contender in the GOP presidential primary for 2016.
“You want to talk Chris Christie? Fine, he did what needed to be done,” Graham said. “Name one person who has been fired in the State Department.”
Wednesday’s Senate Intelligence Committee report concluded that under Clinton’s watch, the State Department failed to increase security in Benghazi despite intelligence reports that the situation there was deteriorating and warnings that U.S. facilities were at risk.