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McCain claims massive cover-up

Posted at 8:19 AM, Feb 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-18 08:19:06-05
McCain: ‘We have had a massive cover-up’

By Jonathan Helman

(CNN) — Sen. John McCain said Sunday that he is still looking for answers to what he called “a massive cover-up” in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, in September.

“The information has not been forthcoming,” McCain said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I know that it hasn’t, and I will be glad to send you a list of questions that have not been answered.”

Among those questions, he said, were inquiries about the president’s actions and whom he spoke to the night of the attack. McCain also wants to know why people who were evacuated from the consulate the next day were not interviewed at the time.

“They would have known that it was not a spontaneous demonstration,” he said. Initial talking points from the government stated that the attack stemmed from a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam film, but the intelligence community later defined the violence as a planned terrorist attack.

The Arizona Republican has been an outspoken voice since the attack, which left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. He has gone to great lengths to get answers from the Obama administration.

Last week, McCain joined Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Lindsey Graham to demand answers from the White House before they were willing to commit to a vote on Chuck Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary.

The White House responded with a letter to Congress on Thursday that answered some questions about the president’s communication with the Libyan president.

While McCain said he was satisfied with the answers provided Thursday, he still believes there are many unanswered questions.

“Why did the president … for two weeks, during the heat of the campaign, continue to say he didn’t know whether it was a terrorist attack or not? Is it because it interfered with the line of ‘al Qaeda is decimated and everything is fine in that part of the world’? Maybe. We don’t know. But we need the answers. Then we’ll reach conclusions. But we have not received the answers, and that’s a fact.”

In a separate appearance on “Meet the Press,” White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said that the president is still committed to finding out what exactly happened in Benghazi.

“The president of the United States sends these diplomats, our military, overseas in these tough spots. He is not going to send them and have them be exposed. He made darn certain that we are doing everything we can to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”