Sen. Lindsey Graham: 'There Are More Benghazis Coming'

February 5, 2013 - 7:40 AM

Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says he has questions for outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at Thursday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - "I've never seen the world more dangerous than it is now. There are more Benghazis coming," Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News's Greta Van Susteren Monday night.

"And before we confirm a new secretary of defense, we have to find out what happened in Benghazi and find out exactly what Chuck Hagel has been saying all these years."

Graham said Hagel's testimony at his confirmation hearing was "disturbing," and Graham said he hopes the Obama administration will "reconsider his nomination."

"He is a good man, but these are dangerous times. What kind of signal are you sending to the Iranians when your secretary of defense seems to be clueless about what our policy is?" Graham asked.

This Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee, on which Graham sits, will press current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for answers on Benghazi.

Panetta on Sunday told CNN's Candy Crowley that "it takes time" for the government to respond to an emergency such as the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi:

“This is not 911,” Panetta said. “You cannot just simply call and expect within two minutes to have a team in place. It takes time. That is nature of it. Our people are there. They are in position to move, but we've got to have good intelligence that gives us a heads-up that something is going to happen."

Panetta said on Sept. 11, 2012, "we did not" have enough time to respond.

Sen. Graham says the Armed Services Committee will ask Panetta about the government's failure to send help:

"We'll find more about it. I think he has done a generally good job, seven hours on September 11th, a day of heightened concern -- name one place in the world where it was more dangerous than Benghazi, Libya? There are a few, but not many. And what better intelligence could you have about the threat in Libya than from the ambassador from Libya telling us on August 16th, if we are attacked in a coordinated fashion, we can't defend the consulate, and there are al Qaeda flags flying over government offices in Benghazi? There is no government to help us. We were blind. And what better intelligence could you give about the situation in Benghazi than from (U.S. Ambassador to Libya) Chris Stevens himself?"

Graham said the questions for Panetta include: "Why, Mr. Secretary, weren't you informed by the State Department about the threat that existed in Libya? Were you aware that militias were growing in influence? Were you aware that our consulate was bombed in April and June?"

Graham noted that the United States "came to the aid of British ambassador when his convoy was attacked. You know who rescued the British ambassador? U.S. forces. We got there in 20 minutes."

Three months before the 9/11 terror attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, a vehicle carrying Britain's ambassador to Libya was attacked in that same city on June 11. A few days earlier, a bomb exploded next to the wall of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi without causing any injuries.

As the Associated Press reported on June 11, 2012: "The attacks were reminders of how chaotic, insecure and fragmented Libya remains eight months after an armed rebellion toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi."

Also See:

Why Obama Sent No Rescue: Benghazi Lasted ‘8 Hours’ But Was ‘Over in ... 30 Minutes’

Someone's Wrong: CIA and State Dept. Accounts of Benghazi Contradict Gen. Dempsey’s Explanation for Why DOD Sent No Help

Obama Met With Panetta and Biden at WH As Benghazi Terror Attack Unfolded