With security conditions deteriorating quickly in Iraq, Sen. John McCain is in high dudgeon. Despite having been wrong about nearly every national security crisis in recent years, the Arizona Republican is doing what one might expect him to do: he’s blaming President Obama, condemning the White House, and urging everyone to pretend he still has credibility.
Rachel will have more on tonight’s show about the substance of this, but The Hill had a report with one key tidbit that struck me as noteworthy.
Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, of which McCain is the ranking member, were given a classified briefing this afternoon from military and intelligence officials, keeping lawmakers apprised of the latest developments in the Iraqi crisis.
McCain left the closed-door briefing after only a matter of minutes, telling reporters the security situation in Iraq “is the greatest threat since the Cold War.” [emphasis added]
If it’s the great threat to security in a generation, then maybe McCain should have stuck around for the rest of the classified briefing, instead of bolting and heading for the cameras?
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), arguably McCain’s closest ally and a fellow Senate Armed Services Committee member, later spoke from the Senate floor, saying he was sorry to have missed McCain’s comments. “I was in a briefing,” Graham said.
Right. Exactly. That was the briefing his colleague, John McCain, was supposed to be in, too.
Except McCain left “after only a matter of minutes” so he could go complain about the president in front of the cameras.
If this sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because just last week, McCain attended another closed-door, classified briefing on the prisoner swap that freed an American POW. McCain “walked out shortly after shouting at an official,” roughly half-way through the briefing. He then – you guessed it – headed for the cameras to complain about the president and the lack of compelling information he’d received in the briefing he left in the middle of.
This is the same Republican senator who scheduled a November 2012 press conference to complain about the lack of Benghazi information he’d received from the Obama administration. He held the press conference in the middle of a classified Benghazi briefing held by the officials from the Obama administration. McCain had been invited to the briefing, but did not attend – speaking at his press conference instead.
Ultimately, McCain has a choice: he can complain about developments and then get information or he can receive information and then complain. Putting aside his routine errors of fact and judgment, the senator seems to have a bad habit of doing things in the wrong order.