“I really admire him,” Graham said of Allen. “I think he’s done a good job. I’m not going to rush to judgment. He says there’s nothing untoward in the communications. So I’m going to accept that until I hear something different.”
Graham is worried that the salacious nature of the expanding scandal will overshadow a crucial cause he’s championed for two months – what really happened during the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. consulate and a related CIA annex that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans?
“My fear is that the media is going to be talking about the next (romantic) email chain and not about the requests for security (at the consulate) over months that were denied,” Graham said. Referring to a popular 1950s novel and movie and a television show of the ‘60s, he added: “My fear is that we lose focus. My big concern is that people will look at Benghazi as sort of a ‘Peyton Place’ episode. I think it’s a symptom of a greater foreign policy and national security problem.”
Graham and fellow Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire on Wednesday introduced a resolution calling for creation of a special committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks, but the initiative is not expected to gain traction as the Obama administration conducts an internal inquiry and a handful of congressional panels hold hearings on the incident.
Petraeus was scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday, and Graham thinks he’ll have to answer some tough questions.
“As big a fan as I am of Gen. Petraeus, he needs to answer questions about why did he tell the Intelligence Committee (in an earlier briefing) this was a riot mob a few days after the attack,” Graham said. “It makes no sense to me. How could the (CIA) annex be so unsecured given the level of threats that had been noticed for months? Why was there no plan to reinforce the consulate on September the 11th?”