White House press secretary Jay Carney on Monday said the Obama administration had made “extraordinary efforts” to work with congressional committees probing the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
“When it comes to oversight and Benghazi, as you know, the administration has made extraordinary efforts to work with seven -- seven, rather, different congressional committees investigating what happened before, during and after the Benghazi attacks,” Carney told reporters. “That includes testifying at 13 congressional hearings, participating in 40 staff briefings and providing over 25,000 pages of documents.”
His comments came in response to a question about Sen. Lindsey Graham’s, R-S.C., threat early Monday to hold all administration nominees unless he received more information about the deadly attack.
Graham in an interview on Fox News vowed that he would “block every appointment” in the Senate until he had access to witnesses and survivors from the attack.
The September 2011 attack on the U.S. Consulate killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens and sparked a number of inquiries on Capitol Hill. Many Republican lawmakers have questioned why the administration initially wrongly blamed the attack on a spontaneous demonstration as opposed to a pre-planned terrorist plot. Lawmakers have also pressed to learn if the mission had been provided adequate security and if all steps possible to rescue the Americans on site were taken.
Carney said that what happened in Benghazi was a “tragedy.” But he added that “some Republicans are choosing to play politics with this for partisan purposes, and we find that unfortunate.”
Asked if he was referring to Graham, Carney said “I’m not.”
“We obviously believe very strongly that the Senate needs to move expeditiously to consider and confirm the many qualified presidential nominees whose nominations are pending,” said Carney about the threat to block nominations in the upper chamber.
“I think it's unfortunate to hold up any nominee or any nomination process, and when it comes to doing so for this reason, I think I've noted the considerable cooperation that the administration has provided on these issues,” Carney added. “That cooperation is ongoing.”