Andrea Mitchell Reports, 1/23/13, 7:00 PM ET

Kerry encounters opposition in hearings

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., shares his reaction to Sen. John Kerry’s Secretary of Defense confirmation hearings and remains confident that the Massachusetts...

GOP senators vow to not back down on Benghazi

Updated
By Alice S. Rhee

The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations committee is still demanding answers from the State Department and the Obama administration about the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

In an appearance on Andrea Mitchell Reports Thursday, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., expressed his optimism the investigation will move ahead, and that the recommendations made by the Accountability Review Board will be implemented after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves her post.

“So it will be, actually, John Kerry’s responsibility, as you know, to carry forward with those…there are four people that are on administrative leave. And there’s still no one really has yet been accountable for the fact that they knew there were issues there. You had the ambassador just screaming for help, if you will, security-wise. It was denied.”

Corker’s demands for accountability echoes comments made by fellow Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who on Andrea Mitchell Reports Thursday also said she still had “outstanding questions” even after hearing Secretary Clinton’s testimony.

Corker also expressed some empathy for fellow Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who exchanged heated words with Secretary Clinton during her hearing Wednesday demanding an explanation for the initial incorrect report about a spontaneous protest in Benghazi.

“I think what Sen. Johnson was trying to convey is, it is important for the American people to be told the truth…let’s face it, the way this got off on such a terrible foot were–it was the Sunday morning programs that were out there,” said Corker. “We all knew it was a terrorist attack. You know, Secretary Clinton said the next day it was a terrorist attack. And it did appear, in the height of a political campaign, that maybe there was some shading that took place.”

Corker also found fault with the CIA noting that a Sept. 20th briefing was “one of the most bizarre briefings I have attended in six years,” he said.

“The intelligence community was so vague and–and non-forthcoming, senators on both sides of the aisle left there scratching their heads. So the way this was all presented created a tremendous amount of distrust regarding everything that was happening regarding Benghazi,” he added.

Corker stressed the importance of looking forward and avoiding the tragic loss of American diplomats and staff in the line of duty.

“It was a travesty. People loved Chris Stevens. They respected him. I knew him…And I think people felt it was an unfortunate loss that could have been prevented with better–better actions by the State Department.”

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GOP senators vow to not back down on Benghazi

Updated