Why Obama would rather discuss Benghazi than drones

The White House plans to stiff Democrats and coddle Republicans to get CIA nominee John Brennan confirmed. What could possibly go wrong?

President Obama doesn't want a Chuck-Hagel filibuster repeat for John Brennan.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

With Defense Secretary–designate Chuck Hagel's nomination under Republican filibuster at least until the Senate returns to work Feb. 25, lawmakers are turning their sights on President Obama's nominee to lead the CIA, John Brennan. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says he will try to block Brennan's nomination until he gets more information from the Obama administration about the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya. And Democrats like Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) are threatening to vote against the CIA nominee unless Obama gives lawmakers access to more classified legal documents underpinning Obama's drone policy.

It seems odd at first blush, but Obama is deliberately stiffing the drone-document demands of his fellow Democrats while his team is "currently in discussions with Republican members of the Intelligence Committee about providing the trail of emails that were the basis of 'talking points' from the intelligence agencies regarding the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi," say Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti in The New York Times. Obama didn't have to bend much to tee up Hagel's confirmation, so why is he willing to feed the GOP obsession with Benghazi for the much-less controversial Brennan vote?

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.