Sen. Mike Johanns says it is appropriate for Congress to hold formal investigations into the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus and whether his affair with his biographer compromised national security.
“Therein lies the issue. If national security is at stake, then the Senate and the House have a right to get to the bottom of this and find out what happened,” Johanns tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Several members of Congress say the administration needs to be more forthcoming about the investigation into Patraeus’ extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, and whether her possession of classified documents harmed national security.
Wrapped up in that is the lingering question of what went wrong on September 11th when militants in Libya attacked the United States compound in Benghazi, killing four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, and two other Republicans senators called for the establishment of a temporary joint committee
Johanns, a Republican, says Congressional hearings could help clarify what happened and why.
“This is not fitting together. The explanation that came out immediately after the Benghazi attacks was that this was spontaneous, a bunch of people got mad at a You Tube video and they started shooting guns and Americans died,” Johanns says. “We now find out that that was not the case at all. This was a premeditated, planned terrorist attack.”
McCain and South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham have both criticized United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice for statements she made on national television programs immediately after the attacks. Both say they will oppose any effort the president might make to promote Rice to Secretary of State should Hillary Clinton decide to leave the Obama Administration.
President Obama strongly defended Rice during a White House news conference.
Johanns says he wants to know more.
“Fine for the president to defend her. I’m not bothered by that. In fact, I’d expect it,” Johanns says. “But, having said that, we also have the right to ask the very questions that John McCain is asking about and we have a right to ask her to explain why was she so out front for the administration offering this explanation that has now been totally disproven.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin speaks with Sen. Mike Johanns about the Petraeus affair and other issues. [3:50]