On Sunday’s broadcast of CNN’s “State of the Union,” Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain said statements by the White House and U.N. ambassador Susan Rice in the wake of the deadly attack on the United States embassy in Benghazi earlier this month simply don’t “pass the smell test.”
“STATE OF THE UNION” HOST CANDY CROWLEY: Let me turn your attention to overseas, because I know there are some things that concern you, but let me first ask you about Libya, the deaths of those four Americans, including the American ambassador to Libya, on September 11. Friday we got the administration’s sort of definitive statement that this now looks as though it was a pre-planned attack by a terrorist group, and some of whom were at least sympathetic to al-Qaida. Why do you think and are you bothered that it has taken them this long — from September 11 to now — to get to this conclusion?
MCCAIN: I think it interferes with the depiction that the administration is trying to convey that al-Qaida is on the wane, that everything is fine in the Middle East. And the fact —
CROWLEY: You think it’s political?
MCCAIN: I think there are certain political overtones. How else could you trot out our U.N. ambassador to say this was a spontaneous demonstration?
CROWLEY: Maybe they thought that at the time.
MCCAIN: Five days later? That doesn’t pass the smell test. It was either willful ignorance or abysmal intelligence to think that people come to spontaneous demonstrations with heavy weapons, mortars, and the attack goes on for hours.
McCain also criticized the idea of blaming the anti-Islamic YouTube video directed by an low-budget amateur filmmaker for the Benghazi tragedy.
“[B]y the way, to blame it on the video, it shows the absolute ineptitude and ignorance of the realities,” McCain said. “It’s not the video… It’s the radical Islamists that are pushing the videos which are then spreading throughout the Muslim world. So to blame the video is like blaming a killer — the gun rather than the person who is pulling the trigger.”