The head of the House Intelligence Committee who has contended the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi was led by Al Qaeda said Sunday that an extensive report published by the New York Times contradicting that claim is “just not accurate.”
“What did they get wrong?” host Chris Wallace asked Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) on “Fox News Sunday.”
“That al-Qaeda was not involved in this,” Rogers replied. “There was some level of pre-planning, we know that. There was aspiration to conduct an attack by Al Qaeda and their affiliates in Libya, we know that.”
“…would directly contradict what the New York Times definitively says was an exhaustive investigation.”
“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,” he continued. “All of that would directly contradict what the New York Times definitively says was an exhaustive investigation.”
Rogers, who as chair of the House Intelligence Committee receives regular classified briefings and has access to raw intelligence, said his committee has done an “exhaustive investigation” into the events surrounding the Benghazi attack which conflicts with the Times’ findings.
“It tells me they didn’t talk to the people on the ground who were doing the fighting and shooting and the intelligence gathering,” he told Wallace. “When you put that volume of information, I think it proves that story is just not accurate.”
“It tells me they didn’t talk to the people on the ground who were doing the fighting and shooting…”
In November, Rogers said the attack was undoubtedly the role of Al Qaeda.
“I will tell you this, by witness testimony and a year and a half of interviewing everyone that was in the ground by the way, either by an FBI investigator or the committee: It was very clear to the individuals on the ground that this was an Al Qaeda-led event,” he told Fox News. “And they had pretty fairly descriptive events early on that lead those folks on the ground, doing the fighting, to the conclusion that this was a pre-planned, organized terrorist event.”
At the time, Rogers was also adamant that an anti-Islam video did not trigger the attack.
“Not a video, that whole part was debunked time and time again,” he said, “which just leads to questions of why the administration hung with that narrative for so long when all the folks who participated on the ground saw something different.”
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.”
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter