- Associated Press - Monday, October 28, 2013

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham threatened Monday to hold up all nominations for federal government positions until survivors of last year’s deadly attack on the diplomatic post in Libya appear before Congress.

The State Department disclosed that it already had sent to Capitol Hill for a deposition an employee who was in Benghazi the night of last year’s attack, and the White House said Republicans were playing politics with the issue.

Mr. Graham, a Republican, started off the day’s back-and-forth with a tweet on his official Twitter account: “Where are the #Benghazi survivors? I’m going to block every appointment in the US Senate until they are made available to Congress.”

Prominent nominations announced by President Obama and awaiting Senate confirmation include Janet Yellen for chairwoman of the Federal Reserve and Jeh Johnson for secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

There have been a number of Capitol Hill hearings on the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. And there was a review led by former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen. But Mr. Graham is among lawmakers still dissatisfied with information they have received so far and he has threatened previous nominations over the issue.

Mr. Graham said he wants a joint select committee formed from several individual Senate committees to investigate.

“The State Department is blaming the CIA, the CIA is blaming the State Department. Where was the Department of Defense?” the South Carolina lawmaker said earlier Monday on the news show “Fox & Friends.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration had already made “extraordinary efforts to work” with a number of congressional committees investigating what happened before, during and after the Benghazi attacks. “That includes testifying at 13 congressional hearings, participating in 40 staff briefings and providing over 25,000 pages of documents,” Mr. Carney said.

“Let’s be clear that some Republicans are choosing to play politics with this for partisan purposes, and we find that unfortunate,” Mr. Carney said, denying he was referring to Mr. Graham specifically and saying it has been the case among Republicans “in general.”

Former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified for several hours before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this year about the military’s actions related to Benghazi. Both men answered questions from Mr. Graham, a member of the panel.

Mr. Graham and other Republicans repeatedly have called for a special select committee of Congress, but Republican and Democratic leaders have resisted. In the House, GOP leaders have said the five committees examining the attack are well-equipped to handle any investigation.

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