Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, challenged some of the claims stemming from a controversial New York Times investigative piece on the Benghazi attacks, primarily those that insisted an anti-Islamic video provoked hostilities there in September 2012.
Acknowledging that the Times did some good work on the article, Issa nevertheless insisted that “interviewing people in Benghazi after the fact, after the world has been told about this video, is really not real time,” Issa said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.
“So we have seen no evidence that the video was widely seen in Benghazi, a very isolated area, or that is was a leading cause.”
On Saturday, the Times published a report contending that there is “no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault.”
Instead, the Times reported that the attack was led “by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi,” noting that it was “fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”
Issa came directly against the latter assertion. “The fact is people from this administration, career professionals, have said under oath there was no evidence of any kind of a reaction to a video and, in fact, this was a planned attack that came quickly,” Issa added.
“That’s the evidence we have by people who work for the U.S. government and were under oath.”
“Meet the Press” host David Gregory and MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell pressed hard to get Issa to retreat from previous statements he made on the program noting Al Qaeda’s involvement, but Issa wasn’t having it.
“There was a group that was involved that claims an affiliation with Al Qaeda,” he said. “Now, Al Qaeda is not a central command and control. It was, in fact, a loose group that could take general statements and act on them…”
Here’s the NBC News interview clip with Issa via YouTube: