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

Mom gives her $25,000 windfall to Marysville high schools

Among the beneficiaries is the drama club, which gets much-needed audio equipment.

Why Republican legislators voted against a property tax cut

You’ll no doubt be hearing about it in campaign ads next fall.

Driver hospitalized after I-5 rollover crash near Arlington

A medical problem is believed to have caused the accident.

Man struck, killed by Everett Transit bus Friday night

He was in the roadway between 75th Street SE and Beverly Boulevard when he was hit, police said.

Sky Valley honors its own

Civic and nonprofit groups in Sultan, Gold Bar, Index and Skykomish gather to recognize volunteers.

Rotary Club of Everett honors outstanding seniors

The Rotary Club of Everett honored its February Students of the Month:… Continue reading

ORCA places third at Orca Bowl

A team from Everett Community College’s Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA) for… Continue reading

Edmonds man gets prison for Navy cadet program embezzlement

Michael Leighton, 49, also must pay over $75,000 in restitution.

New books donated to Edmonds schools highlight diversity

The Edmonds Diversity Commission donated children’s books to local elementary schools that… Continue reading

Most Read