McCain calls for special committee on Libya, says public outcry will lead charge

Sen. John McCain stepped up his request Saturday for the Obama administration to give a complete account of the fatal attacks last month on U.S. outposts in Libya, urging the chamber’s top Republican and Democrat to create a special committee to investigate the matter.

McCain, Arizona senator and ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Armed Services, told he wants a committee investigation because “that’s the only way for the American people to find out what happened.”

He made the request with fellow Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina, and Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire, who have helped lead the charge on Capitol Hill for more answers.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and U.S. diplomat Sean Smith were killed in a Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  Several hours later, two former Navy SEALs,  Tyrone Woods  and Glen Doherty, were killed by a mortar shell in a second attack on a nearby CIA annex.

The letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, asks for a temporary Select Committee to investigate events that led to the murders and the administration’s response to the attacks.

Five days after the attack, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said on several Sunday talk shows that the attacks were “spontaneous” and sparked by a wave of violence in the region over an anti-Islamic video.

The administration has since said the strikes were terrorist attacks and that it is awaiting the findings of an investigation.

President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have said they as much as anybody want to get to the bottom of the situation.

McCain acknowledge to Fox on Saturday that getting the Democrat-controlled Senate to form a committee will be a challenge but thinks there’s enough outcry from military veterans and other Americans to  force the issue.

He also said the request – three days before the presidential election– throws water on the Obama campaign’s argument that Republicans and others have stayed on the issue to influence the outcome of the race.

“They began politicizing it by saying it was spontaneous and the president staying with that line,” McCain said.

Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Saturday, “when the final report is completed, it will be released.”

“This is a tragedy but this is not the time to politicize a tragedy,” she continued.

The letter also states such a committee  could include members of the House and Senate and cut across multiple executive agencies and legislative committees.