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Bridget Johnson


November 12, 2012 - 7:47 am

On Thursday, one Senate committee and two House committees will hold hearings into the Benghazi scandal.

One House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing was held over the campaign recess, and the Armed Services and Judiciary committees are expected to delve into the deadly terrorist attack, as well.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) suggested that these divergent investigations be consolidated into a congressional panel a la Watergate.

“From the Congress’s point of view, instead of doing this in a stovepipe way, you’ve got the Department of Defense that needs to explain themselves, the intelligence community. God knows the State Department needs to answer for their behavior regarding Benghazi,” Graham said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation.

“I would suggest that we have a joint select committee of House and Senate members and we do this together, not have three different committees going off in three different directions, so we can get to the bottom of it like we did in Watergate and Iran Contra,” he said. “I think that would be smart for the Congress to combine resources.”

And even though he’s inclined to “move on” from David Petraeus’ extramarital affair — providing there was no compromise of national security — “at the end of the day, the one thing that has to happen, in my view, is we’ve got to get to the bottom of Benghazi.”

“I hate what happened to General Petraeus for his family and the families for those involved, but we have four dead Americans in Benghazi,” Graham said. “We have a national security failure long in the making. I don’t see how in the world you can find out what happened in Benghazi before, during, and after the attack if General Petraeus doesn’t testify, so from my point of view, it’s absolutely essential that he give testimony before the Congress so we can figure out Benghazi.”

And before the Benghazi probes even get under way with this week’s return of Congress, Graham is counting out one name on the shortlist for secretary of State in President Obama’s next term: U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice.

“I cannot imagine promoting anybody associated with Benghazi at this point. It’s not just what she said after. How did the place become a death trap for months? Why did we keep it open or not reinforce it?” he said.

“There are too many questions to be answered. I don’t quite, frankly, trust her rendition of Benghazi. So I think Susan Rice would have an incredibly difficult time getting through the Senate. I would not vote for her unless there’s a tremendous opening up of information explaining herself in a way she has not yet done.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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