Graham plans to delay defense, CIA confirmations

WASHINGTON — Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., still not satisfied with the administration’s answers to questions about the attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya, said Sunday that he would try to delay Senate confirmation of President Barack Obama’s nominees for Defense secretary and CIA director.

Graham, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he would seek to block votes on Chuck Hagel as defense secretary and John Brennan as CIA director until he gets a better explanation of what the president was doing during the attack in September on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

“This is a complete system failure, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it,” he said.

Graham said he would put a hold on the two confirmation votes. Under Senate rules, a hold can be a tough procedural obstacle. Sixty votes are needed to end a hold and bring a motion to the Senate floor.

Republican critics, including Graham, have been hammering at the administration’s response since shortly after the raid in September, criticizing early statements that linked the attack to demonstrations to a video that was critical of Islam. On Sunday, Graham raised asked whether the president intervened to try to speed more help to the besieged compound.

“I don’t know what the president did that evening. I don’t know if he ever called anyone,” Graham said.

Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, also appearing on the program, said that Graham’s threat was “unprecedented and unwarranted.”

He said Graham had the right to ask “legitimate questions,” but not to try to block the nominations from an up-or-down vote. He called it “an overreaction that is not going to serve the best interest going forward of the national security of the United States.”

It’s not clear how much support Graham’s move would have among fellow Republicans. Sen. John McCain said Sunday that he was leaning toward voting against Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, saying he had “grave concerns” about his suitability.

But McCain also said he thought it would be wrong to invoke a filibuster to thwart a president’s Cabinet choices, although he didn’t address the use of holds.

“We’ve never filibustered a presidential cabinet appointee, and I don’t think we should start here,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Elections have consequences, unfortunately.”

More in Local News

District takes steps to secure school campuses

Safety measures have been enhanced at Hawthorne and Silver Firs elementary schools in Everett.

Local police join thousands honoring slain Canadian officer

Abbotsford Const. John Davidson was killed Nov. 6 in a shootout with a suspected car thief.

Hard work is paying off for Mariner High senior

Mey Ly has excelled in school since moving here from Cambodia; she also serves as an intrepreter.

1 arrested after SWAT team moves in on Marysville house

The incident was connected to an earlier robbery.

Darrington School Board race might come down to a coin flip

With a one-vote difference, a single ballot in Skagit County remains to be counted.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

No easy exit from Smokey Point shopping complex

There’s just no easy exit on this one. A reader called in… Continue reading

County Council upholds ban on safe heroin injection sites

At Monday’s public hearing, more than 15 people spoke in support of the ban. No one spoke against it.

Lynnwood, Marysville, Sultan consider ban on safe injection sites

If approved, they would join Lake Stevens and Snohomish County, which have temporary bans.

Most Read