Pointing to a newly disclosed email from senior administration official Ben Rhodes, Graham said the White House created a “political smoke screen” on an issue that could damage Obama's commander-in-chief credentials.
“They were trying to create an impression to the American people that this wasn't a broader foreign policy failure and it was totally disconnected from reality on the ground,” Graham said on CBS' “Face the Nation.”
“They were trying to protect the president's re-election,” he added. “They saw Benghazi … as a threat to his re-election. It wasn't a fog of war problem they had.”
In the email, Rhodes advises then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy” and “show that we will be resolute in bringing people who harm Americans to justice, and standing steadfast through these protests.”
House Republican leaders have since announced the formation of a special committee to investigate the administration's response to the Benghazi strike. Democrats, however, have hinted they won't participate in the group's work.
But Graham said the White House couldn’t be trusted to tell the truth on Benghazi.
“If it weren't for an independent judiciary,” Graham said, “we would never know about this email.”