House Intel Chairman on NYT's Benghazi Report: 'That Story Is Just Not Accurate'

December 29th, 2013 2:18 PM

The New York Times on Sunday published a highly controversial report claiming the September 2012 attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, did not involve al Qaeda, and was as the Administration originally stated a spontaneous demonstration in response to an American-made anti-Islamic video.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) completely refuted the article saying, "[T]hat story is just not accurate" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: Before we get to the NSA, "The New York Times" has an extensive investigation this morning into the Benghazi attack on its front page. It reports, quote, "No evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault." It goes on, "And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at, yes, an American made video denigrating Islam."

Congressman Rogers, I think it's fair to say that "The Times" report directly contradicts what you've been saying.

CONGRESSMAN MIKE ROGERS, CHAIRMAN HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE (R-MICHIGAN): Yes, I don't know, it was an exhaustive investigation. We have gone through some 4,000 different classified cables leading up to the event, talked to people on the ground during the event, done the postmortem on the event through the committee investigation.

WALLACE: What did they get wrong?

ROGERS: That al Qaeda was not involved in this. There was some level of preplanning, we know that. There was aspiration to conduct an attack by Al Qaeda and their affiliates in Libya. We know that.

The individuals on the ground talked about a planned tactical movement on the compound even -- this is the compound before they went to the annex. All of that would directly contradict what the "New York Times" definitively says was an exhaustive investigation, tells me they didn't talk to people on the ground who were doing the fighting, the shooting and the intelligence gathering.

When you put that volume of information, I think it proves that story is just not accurate.

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you one specific thing. There was this one group that everybody says was involved, Ansar al-Sharia. They say it's really an independent radical Islamic group, but it doesn't have links to Al Qaeda.

ROGERS: I dispute that, and I think the intelligence to a large volume disputes that al-Sharia. Now, do they have differences of opinion with Al Qaeda core? Yes. Do they have affiliations with al Qaeda core? Definitely.

WALLACE: Do you think that there is a political motivation to this "Times" report? Some people have suggested, well, this is trying to clear the deck for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

ROGERS: Yes. I don't know, but I found it was interesting that there's this rollout of stories, including Susan Rice, would go on TV and have a direct discussion on this when we still have an ongoing investigation in the House Intelligence Committee.

WALLACE: But, again, do you think that's to protect?

ROGERS: I find the timing odd. I don't want to speculate on why they might do it. But I can tell you that the information that's being presented in a way that we heard before and through the investigation have been able to determine is not accurate in its portrayal.

It sure is interesting that Wallace would go there with Rogers, as people all over the Internet have been making the same accusation that the Times is trying to rewrite history to give cover to Hillary Clinton's involvement in this matter.

Conservative talk show host Monica Crowley tweeted about this Sunday:

With this in mind, it seems quite likely that much of the media will happily report the Times analysis with little skepticism.

Stay tuned.