Republicans continue political fight over Benghazi

"I do not believe all that [information] has been provided," Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenators introduce bill aimed at protecting Ukrainian civilians Kyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy and the politics of rage Hillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two MORE (R-S.C) told reporters on Tuesday, saying lawmakers want access to the State Department survivors of last September's attack. 

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The South Carolina Republican is planning to draft a letter to Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryA presidential candidate pledge can right the wrongs of an infamous day Equilibrium/Sustainability — Dam failures cap a year of disasters Four environmental fights to watch in 2022 MORE, demanding access to the survivors. 

He is also requesting the FBI files of their accounts of last September's attack,"to see what they said" and how it was possibly used to draft up administration's now infamous initial talking points on the terrorist strike. 

House Republicans, led by Rep. Frank WolfFrank Rudolph WolfBottom line Africa's gathering storm DOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling MORE (R-Va.), have also demanded for access to the Benghazi survivors and renewed calls for a congressional select committee to look into the attack and the subsequent response from the Pentagon and White House. 

Graham and Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainRedistricting reform key to achieving the bipartisanship Americans claim to want Kelly takes under-the-radar approach in Arizona Senate race Voting rights, Trump's Big Lie, and Republicans' problem with minorities MORE (R-Ariz.) had planned to block former White House counterterror chief John Brennan's nomination to lead CIA, over the administration's refusal to disclose how it initially deduced the attack was the result of a anti-American protest gone wrong. 

Only weeks later did the Obama administration acknowledge the strike was a planned, coordinated attack by Islamic extremist groups in the country.

"How could this narrative [of] there is no evidence of a terrorist attack, how did it ever get started. What [exactly] did the survivors tell us," Graham said Tuesday.

Prior to Brennan's confirmation, White House documents on the strike sent to the panel clearly indicated Brennan's role in drafting that initial protest scenario. 

Both lawmakers eventually backed off those plans and voted for the Brennan bid, but not before Graham said he would continue to press the issue with the administration.

That said, when members of the Senate intelligence panel on Tuesday asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper what lessons had the White House learned from Benghazi, Clapper responded coyly: "Don't do talking points on classified talking points."

Sen. Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerDemocrats look to scale back Biden bill to get it passed Humorless politics a sad sign of our times Bottom Line MORE (D-W.V.), the No. 2 Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, told The Hill Tuesday the fight over Benghazi was over and congressional Republicans were simply milking the issue for political gain. 

"Benghazi is over and done with," the West Virginia Democrat said. Rockefeller roundly dismissed GOP claims that there are still a number of outstanding questions over the Benghazi attack, saying "as far as they are concerned . . . this has always been for [Republicans] a political issue and that is the way they will continue to [pursue] it." 

Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichEight senators ask Biden to reverse course on Trump-era solar tariffs Defense bill creates new office to study UFOs This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead MORE (D-N.M.) pressed Clapper, who testified alongside Brennan and other top U.S. intelligence officials, on whether the Benghazi attack had been "unduly politicized," Clapper emphatically replied "absolutely not." 

Graham could not say whether the information he requested on Benghazi would lead to the creation of a new select committee to investigate the Benghazi attack, which he and other GOP members have demanded since the attack. 

"I do not know where [this] leads, but I do know without that information, [Congress] cannot make an intelligent decision," Graham said. 

But even if the Obama administration provides the kind of access to the Benghazi survivors Republicans are asking for, the chances for a select committee remain "slim" at best, McCain said Tuesday. 

"We want it, but obviously chances of it are very slim, because [Senate] leadership . . . does not want it," McCain said. 

That said, McCain told reporters GOP-led efforts to gain further insight into the Benghazi attack and its aftermath has not been rendered moot by congressional Democrats and the Obama White House. 

"There are others [on Capitol Hill] that would love to see it moot, but I don't think so . . . all the questions are still unanswered."