Graham threatens to hold up Hagel vote over Benghazi attack


Senator Lindsey Graham is dragging the Benghazi embassy attack into the debate over the appointments of John Brennan to be CIA chief and Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation this morning, Graham threatened to hold up confirmations of both of Obama’s nominees until the president”details his actions” the night September 11, 2012 when our embassy in Libya was attacked. CBS:

Graham said he’s going to urge the message among his colleagues, “No confirmation without information,” and will place a hold on the confirmation votes – an action any Senate member reserves the right to take – until the White House explains its garbled talking points following the Libya attack…….

“I’m not going to stop until we get to the bottom of it,” Graham said. “We know nothing about what the president did on the night of September 11, during a time of national crisis, and the American people need to know what their commander-in-chief did, if anything, during the eight-hour attack.

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

Appearing in the same segment, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., called Graham’s threat to stall the nominations “unprecedented and unwarranted,” and said he hopes the Senate gets a chance to vote on Hagel and Brennan. House

This desperate move suggest that rightwingers are tapped out on ways to go after Hagel, so they’re pulling out all the stops. And it’s not Brennan they’re after.

Another issue the Republicans are using is alleged foreign investment in several companies Hagel worked for over the years. The New York Times reports:

In a strongly worded letter to Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the committee’s top Republican, [Senate Armed Services chair Senator Carl]  Levin said that he had “read with some concern” a Wednesday letter from Mr. Inhofe and 25 other Republican senators. Mr. Levin said the letter appeared “to insist upon financial disclosure requirements that far exceed the standard practices of the Armed Services Committee and go far beyond the financial disclosure required of previous secretaries of defense.”

The letter, which was drafted in the office of Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, asked Mr. Hagel to provide, among other things, the amount of foreign financing over the past decade for seven companies he had worked for. The letter also asked Mr. Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, to disclose the amount of foreign financing over the past five years for the Atlantic Council, a centrist foreign policy group, where Mr. Hagel has served without compensation as the chairman of the board of directors.

The Times says that Hagel is likely to be confirmed on a party line vote in committee, 14-12, and that Levin, a Democrat from Michigan, wants to hold the vote early this week. But Tom Ricks of Foreign Policy says it’s 50/50 that Hagel will withdraw. He pushes the name of interventionist Michele Flournoy:  

He has the votes, but not much else. His big problem is that no one much wants him running the Pentagon. Congressional Republicans consider him a traitor. Congressional Democrats see him as anti-gay and anti-abortion, undercutting their support for him. And Northeastern Democrats (and some others) worry about his stance on Israel. Democratic support in the Senate appears more dutiful than passionate.

Notice that Hagel’s criticism of Israel is concerning to Northeastern liberals. Chris Matthews and Saturday Night Live can’t say this.

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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19 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    February 10, 2013, 6:23 pm

    re the “foreign financing over the past decade” for seven companies he had worked for.
    politico reports (my bold):

    Senate Republicans are demanding that Hagel disclose the sources of all his compensation worth more than $5,000 over the past five years — and that he make assurances that organizations he’s been affiliated with, such as the Atlantic Council, have not received foreign funding over the past decade.

    “Your request for financial information regarding certain private corporate and non-profit entities … is not mine to provide,” Hagel wrote in a letter to Republican senators earlier this week.

    iow, hagel told them access to the Atlantic Council funding is not his to turn over. but guess what the crazies are doing with that!!!

    Hagel Receiving Donations From ‘Friends of Hamas’

    …..senate sources told Breitbart News exclusively on Thursday that they have been informed that one of the reasons Hagel has refused to release the documents on his sources of foreign funding is that one of the names listed is a group purportedly called “Friends of Hamas.”

    Breitbart, seeking further information on the story, encountered many difficulties: “Called for comment and reached via telephone, Associate Communications Director at the White House Eric Schultz identified himself, heard the question, was silent for several seconds, and then hung up the phone immediately without comment. Called back via the White House switchboard, Schultz’s phone rang through to his answering machine. Called on his cell phone, Schultz’s phone rang through to his answering machine.”

    what freaks! and then the next day lobby puppet graham goes on face the nation and says he’s holding up confirmations over benghazi!!!!!

    • jimmy
      February 10, 2013, 6:59 pm

      freaks with massive power annie….and you know what….

      they are not going to give up that power without a major battle…

      name calling… lawsuits name it…they will employ it

      but I am going to be annie here and say it will end….maybe sooner than I think

      keep up the great work …mondo..people

    • Shingo
      February 11, 2013, 4:58 pm

      This reads almost identical to the Kevin Spacey movie. Come up with some false accusation and hope that it gains enough momentum to be damaging even if it’s not true

  2. Blownaway
    February 10, 2013, 6:52 pm

    Let’s see what BS reason that isn’t Israel can Lindsey make up?

  3. Tom Callaghan
    February 10, 2013, 8:20 pm

    The low-brow wing of the campaign to stop Hagel is throwing so much “stuff” against the wall they’re going to need shoulder surgery before they can take on the next Adelson target.

    Soon, they’ll tell us that Bin Laden’s Will has been discovered and that Hagel is the principal beneficiary. Oops, probably shouldn’t have said that…it’ll be up on Drudge in a heartbeat and Sean Hannity will book Tucker Carlson who will come in with security guards carrying the actual will

    Sheldon, you more than anybody should know that when you hire cheap help, you get what you pay for.

  4. Kathleen
    February 10, 2013, 9:56 pm

    What a fruggin hypocrite that whiny Graham is. Did you ever hear him trying to get to the bottom of all the Bush administration lies in the run up to the invasion of Iraq? He is an amoral creep

  5. mcohen
    February 11, 2013, 3:48 am

    michele flournoy
    christine lagarde

  6. American
    February 11, 2013, 9:22 am

    Congressional Republicans consider him a traitor. Congressional Democrats see him as anti-gay and anti-abortion, undercutting their support for him. And Northeastern Democrats (and some others) worry about his stance on Israel.”

    LOL.. Hagel is a traitor? United States of ORWELL. ..white is black, right is wrong, up is down.

    Gay, abortion, Israel—-yep, definitely what should decide who runs the pentagon.


  7. quercus
    February 11, 2013, 9:31 am

    I suspect the strategy is to make this process so terribly onerous for Mr. Hagel — he is now being asked to prove that no organization with which he is affiliated has received foreign funding — that he will ask to have his name withdrawn from nomination.

    Please Mr. Hagel, stand firm against the lunatics, your country needs you.

  8. just
    February 11, 2013, 9:52 am

    Graham is just one of too many of the AIPAC beholden who has access to the media with his mealymouthed ‘opinions’. McCain paid “lip service” in his introductory remarks about Senator Kerry, but he had done their bidding in advance. Now, he is thinking of opposing Mr. Hagel as well. We might as well have the 3 Stooges deciding who should be in President Obama’s Cabinet. It’s an embarrassment to our country that the concerns of a single foreign country have taken precedence over ours and others.

    Chuck Hagel is one of the too few Republicans that I still have respect for. I wanted Mr. Obama to be even more inclusive in his Cabinet this time, suggesting Dick Lugar, Chuck Hagel, even Colin Powell, Richard Clarke, etc. Seems AIPAC and their interests prevail over ‘simple’ and involved citizens.


  9. Ellen
    February 11, 2013, 10:10 am

    In battles for attention, influence and control, these are methods of the losers. It is only a matter of time.

    That Graham, Inhof and Co., play the game shows that they are so narcissistic they do not see which way the wind is blowing. And Cruze? He is not a bright bulb and will not survive the next election.

    As for Ricks Foreign Policy piece? It was filled with wishful thinking, projection and distortion.

    There may have been real reasons to question Hagel, but allegiance to a foreign country is not one of them, and Flournoy has zip chance of a nomination. That Ricks concludes with his case for the apparatchik and gopher of the beltway says it all about his pathetic arguments.

  10. irmep
    February 11, 2013, 10:13 am

    This is *exactly* how history indicates AIPAC would kill the Hagel nomination.

    1. Find a stalking horse seemingly unrelated to Israel, with broad support (conservatives, Benghazi)
    2. Mount a reliable asset on the horse. (Graham)
    2. Sweeten the deal to an even broader audience by connecting it in another troublesome nominee. (Brennan, progressives).
    3. Remain the anonymous figure behind the scenes, use intermediaries. (Standard operating procedure on this type of thing).

    An AIPAC official quoted in The National Journal once said “…there is no question that we exert a policy impact, but working behind the scenes and taking care not to leave fingerprints, that impact is not always traceable to us.”

    Mainstream and alternative media keep bleating that AIPAC is out of the Hagel battle…because they aren’t issuing press releases…Great research.

    PS, if you don’t believe AIPAC does that kind of thing, consult the shenanigans of AIPAC executive Michael Goland… If AIPAC is behind this, the damage will be done, even if the cover is blown years down the road. Even proven election fraud didn’t magically unwind Cranston’s horrible legislation.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 11, 2013, 11:29 am

      i completely agree grant.

    • seanmcbride
      February 11, 2013, 11:32 am


      Mainstream and alternative media keep bleating that AIPAC is out of the Hagel battle…because they aren’t issuing press releases…Great research.

      Nearly all mainstream media outlets and pundits, and many alternative media outlets and pundits (including liberal and progressive Zionists), are essentially arms and tools of the Israel lobby. They work together to systematically suppress and censor news and facts about the Israel lobby.

      How does Rachel Maddow at MSNBC cover the Israel lobby? Robert Siegel at NPR? The New York Times? The Washington Post? The Wall Street Journal? Daily Kos?

      They cover it by studiously not covering it — by pretending that it doesn’t exist.

      Two factors motivate this behavior: 1. among many, a passionate emotional and ideological attachment to Jewish nationalism. 2. among others, fear of arousing the wrath of the Israel lobby and destroying their careers and lives.

  11. HarryLaw
    February 11, 2013, 11:51 am

    Not only are the whack jobs trying to stifle Hagels appointment, it seems they are trying to get him imprisoned for life for being associated in some way with Hamas, this is so funny, surely the American public must catch on sooner or later.

  12. Citizen
    February 11, 2013, 2:14 pm

    Graham is truly frightening. He’s an icon for what’s wrong with America. What’s even more frightening is Graham likes Obama’s stance on drone warfare. I bet Huckabee does too.

  13. Rusty Pipes
    February 11, 2013, 4:39 pm

    As the Republicans are throwing tantrums on national TV about putting holds on Obama’s two cabinet picks, it’s worth remembering how many other Obama nominations for other staff positions in many federal departments have, since 2009, remained unfilled (or staffed by Bush leftovers) because the Republican congress has refused to act on them.

  14. Shingo
    February 11, 2013, 10:25 pm

    How does Graham plan to hold up the vote? He doesn’t have the votes to block it or even filibuster.

    This is simply grandstanding for AIPAC.

    • piotr
      February 12, 2013, 2:16 am

      I wrote before that on the issue of Hagel, AIPAC is but a hollow shell. In a contrast with the issue of BDS, big portion of American Jewish commentariat went on the record either supporting Hagel nomination or at least branding the efforts to smear Hagel “the work of the extremists”. Hagel is actually an Establishment favorite, and is opposed by extremist: Jewish Republicans and extremists organizations like those supported by Adelson, and to some degree by GOP.

      I think that the circulation of SNL skit as copyrighted material on Hulu is a corporate decision. Perhaps it is more omission rather than commission, but corporate censors can be effective when they want to be.

      Similarly, when GOP leadership is serious they can impose quite rigid party discipline, which they did not. It is not only Obama who has to count battles to engage in. A resolute opposition to Hagel could make GOP look ridiculous.

      It remains to be seen if Hagel nomination will have substantive impact. The most optimistic and yet realistic reading of the situation is that the Administration is sending mixed messages, basically signaling some openness to the input from activists. While BDS remains a marginal phenomenon — even if less politically isolated than before — there is also the initiative of 15 churches etc.

      And the nomination made a nice precedent — Hagel nomination was floated “unofficially”, and it was commenced only after very encouraging reactions covered Obama’s lass (or a rhyming word).

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