Former CIA director David Petraeus will testify tomorrow morning on Capitol Hill before both the House and Senate Intelligence committees. Ahead of those appearances, NBC News national affairs writer Tom Curry reports:
McCain on Wednesday introduced a resolution to create a special eight-member select Senate committee to examine the attack on the consulate in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, and Sean Smith, were killed.
But McCain’s proposal got a mostly chilly reception Wednesday from his several of his fellow senators NBC News spoke with, even from some Republicans who have been his allies in the past.
A State Department Accountability Review Board (ARB) is investigating the attack. That panel includes former Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Pickering and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, now retired from the military.
But McCain argued that the Obama administration had no credibility to carry out an investigation of its own actions or inaction.
Joining McCain in calling for the special committee was Sen. Lindsey Graham, R- S.C., who said “a segmented, stovepiped investigation – where you have three different (Senate) committees going off in three directions and not comparing notes…is going to lead to failure.”
The bipartisan opposition to McCain’s idea was rooted in the prerogatives of Senate committees that are already conducting their own investigations of the attacks. Senators serving on those committees defended their ability to conduct a thorough inquiry and seemed to see McCain’s efforts as potentially encroaching on their turf.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R- Ga., senior Republican on the Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday, “I told him (McCain) today that I’d just seen his resolution and I’m not sure whether it’s not just a duplication of what we’re doing.”
Chambliss’s committee will hear testimony from acting CIA director Michael Morell and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper about the attack in a closed session Thursday.
Another Republican on the Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina said, “Listen, I think it’s way too early to be calling for a special committee. I think you’ve got to allow the structure we have of oversight to function. And I think that the Intelligence Committee is more than capable of handling this.”
Another opponent to McCain was the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who said of McCain’s proposal, “I really don’t view it as being necessary. The Intelligence and the Homeland Security Committees are already investigating.”
Read more of Tom Curry’s report at NBCPolitics.com.