Graham has been at the forefront in seeking emails, communiques and videos while threatening to delay both Hagel’s nomination and that of CIA Director-nominee John Brennan, who also has become entangled in the Libya dispute.
During a stop in Easley, S.C., this past week, Graham insisted that his effort has nothing to do with politics.
“It’s not because he’s a Democrat and I’m a Republican,” he said, referring to Obama. “It’s because it really was system failure and we need learn from it. We have not gotten the information, and we’re going to get it if I have to die trying.”
The White House has agreed to give the Senate Intelligence Committee additional documents related to the Benghazi attack, according to a congressional aide said. The material includes emails between national security officials showing the debate within the administration over how to describe the attack.
Graham also has been intense in opposing Hagel, portraying the former GOP senator as an out-of-the-mainstream radical. Some of the toughest questions of Hagel during his confirmation hearing last month came from Graham, who seized on Hagel’s “Jewish lobby” remark and asked him to “name one dumb thing we’ve been goaded into doing due to pressure by the Israeli, Jewish lobby.”
Hagel was often tentative in his response in the face of GOP grilling.
“He’s leading, he’s governing,” Glenn McCall, the chairman of the York (S.C.) County Republican Party and a GOP committeeman, said of Graham. “More and more I talk to Republicans — and even those that are conservative Democrats — I think folks are looking for leadership.”
Both Tompkins and McCall cited a Winthrop University poll released last week that showed Graham with strong support from registered Republicans in the state, with 72 percent holding a favorable opinion of the senator.