Sen. Graham threatens more gridlock if Benghazi survivors don’t testify

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Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday the administration is to blame for not preventing last week's terror attack at the Boston Marathon finish line. (credit: CNN)

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said he will block all Obama nominees until he is satisfied with the investigation into attacks in Benghazi. (credit: CNN)

WASHINGTON — A top critic of the U.S. response to the terror attack on the Benghazi diplomatic compound said Monday that he would block all Obama administration nominees before the Senate until survivors of the deadly assault testify before Congress.

“I think the story was about the fact that our guys died in a different way than explained by the administration,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Fox News in Monday following a dramatic CBS “60 Minutes” interview with a man described as a British security officer who witnessed last year’s attack.

“They died as a result of an al Qaeda planned attack that you could see coming,” Graham said.

The South Carolina Republican was an early skeptic of the administration’s initial assessment the September 2012 in eastern Libya that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans appeared to be the result of a demonstration over an anti-Muslim film produced in the United States.

Graham has pushed forcibly ever since to uncover details of what happened and why the administration appeared to bungle the response.

“Where are the survivors? Fourteen months later,” Graham said. “The survivors, the people who survived the attack in Benghazi, have not been made available to the U.S. Congress for oversight purposes.”

Graham said he would use Senate rules to stall approval of presidential nominees until he gets the testimony he wants.

“I’m gonna block every appointment in the United States Senate until the survivors are being made available to Congress. I’m tired of hearing from people on TV and reading about stuff in books. We need to get to the bottom of this,” he said.

If Graham were to block a nominee, Democrats, who control the chamber, could make procedural moves to get around his objections. Doing so would require 60 votes to succeed.

An aide to Graham noted that the Senator previously blocked the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA until the White House produced information on when President Barack Obama first contacted Libyan government officials about the attack.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday the administration has made “extraordinary efforts” to meet congressional demands for information about the attack.

“The State Department has worked in good faith to meet the Hill’s many requests and will continue to review legitimate incoming requests. But let’s be clear, some Republicans are choosing to play politics with this for partisan purposes and we find that unfortunate,” Carney said. “What happened in Benghazi was a tragedy; it is the case that there was not adequate security.”

An aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had no reaction to Graham’s threat or say how it might impact the Senate schedule.

The Senate is expected to take up several high-profile judicial appointments and other nominations in the near future.

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