As NewsBusters previously reported, the New York Times on Sunday published a controversial front page piece about the events surrounding last September's attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It immediately evoked harsh criticism from House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) who said on Fox News Sunday, "[T]hat story is just not accurate."
On Monday, Congressman Peter King (R. N.Y.), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterintelligence and Terrorism, shared Rogers' disgust with the Times while telling Newsmax TV's Steve Malzberg the paper is trying to "help Hillary Clinton and also to take an issue away from Republicans no matter who the Democratic nominee is" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CONGRESSMAN PETER KING (R-NEW YORK), CHAIRMAN HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY SUBCOMMITTEE ON COUNTERINTELLIGENCE AND TERRORISM: If there’s anyone that has an agenda, it’s the New York Times. This story is totally misleading and untrue. First of all, the headline saying al Qaeda was not involved. Ansar al-Sharia is affiliated with al Qaeda. As a practical matter, there is no core al Qaeda. There hasn’t been for a number of years. It’s been, I’d say, over the last three, four, or five years, the attacks that have been carried out have not been by core al Qaeda. They’ve been carried out by these affiliates because al Qaeda realizes how strong we have become. We have weakened them.
So they’ve metastasized, they’ve morphed, and the real threat comes from these affiliated groups: al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, and certainly Ansar al-Sharia. That is the al Qaeda supporter in Libya. They have a training camp near Benghazi.
And for the Times to say that that is not al Qaeda, if that is the mentality of this administration, that they feel that attacks by these groups are not terrorist groups by al Qaeda, then all of our people are in trouble because they’re the groups we should be looking at. That is the face of al Qaeda in 2013 and 2014. And we’ve known that for a number of years now. When the president says al Qaeda is decimated, he’s talking about core al Qaeda. We’ve know that for four, five, six years.
A few minutes later, Malzberg asked a great question:
STEVE MALZBERG, HOST: Do you believe this is an attempt to rescue Hillary, to wipe this off, out of the lexicon for the future going forward so that the liberal media won’t bring it up, and anyone like you or a presidential opponent who does they’ll say, “Oh, that’s been settled?” I mean, do you believe there was a motivation here to help Hillary?
KING: Yes I do. I think it’s both help Hillary Clinton and also to take an issue away from Republicans no matter who the Democratic nominee is. Whether or not it’s Hillary Clinton or not, they want this issue taken away, and they are, it’s part of a systematic effort. You had Susan Rice was on, you know, earlier in the week, last week, whenever it was, basically trying to downplay the whole thing. And now you have this. And the Times to put it on the front page.
You know, when they said no al Qaeda presence, I really thought that they were going to say there was not Ansar al-Sharia, that they couldn’t, because that is al Qaeda. So, when I saw that, I said, “This story is meaningless and baseless,” and by putting that headline on it. And I’m disappointed in how much the media went along with it, by the way.
Disappointed? Sure. But it was totally predictable.