(CNN) – Republicans are not baseless when they argue that al Qaeda was connected to the 2012 attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday. Those claims are rooted in intelligence gathering – not pulled out of thin air to advance a Republican storyline, he told CNN.
His comments come in response to a New York Times article that states al Qaeda had no role in the assault, countering a narrative that the Times' says has been pushed primarily by Republicans as investigations unfold.
New York Times report casts doubt on al Qaeda involvement in Benghazi
Lawmakers react to new Benghazi report
But Rogers took issue with the Times' investigation, saying intelligence shows al Qaeda was involved in the planning stages of the deadly attack, which left four Americans dead, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
"I don't think this is only a Republican stance that it was an al Qaeda attack," the Michigan Republican told CNN shortly after his appearance on "Fox News Sunday." "The body of intelligence from the raw reports - the 4,000 of them leading up to the day of the attack, to the events of the day of the attack, to the post-attack – all lead to the conclusion that al Qaeda was involved in the attack."
"That's not a Republicans position - that's a facts-based investigative position," he said.
While Congressional Republicans have been the loudest in finding blame for the Benghazi attack, some administration officials and Congressional Democrats have also linked al Qaeda or its affiliates to the event.
"To have this narrative change is curious to me," Rogers said. "We've been in a very thorough investigation of the House Intelligence Committee that certainly paints a different picture based on the intelligence reports."
"I candidly do not believe that this should be a partisan issue," he added.
Sources: 3 al Qaeda operatives took part in Benghazi attack
Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat who sits on the House Intelligence Committee with Rogers, said Sunday on Fox News that intelligence reports show al Qaeda or affiliates have been linked to the Benghazi attack. But, he added, the terrorist group is not entirely behind the assault, as other militant groups in the area were also involved.
Obama's former national security spokesman, Tommy Vietor, however, was quick to pounce on Republicans after reading the Times' report. He unleashed a series of tweets, including these, condemning Republicans:
- "If Rs spent 1/50th as much time as @ddknyt learning what really happened in #Benhazi, we could have avoided months of disgusting demagoguery."
- "Republicans inflated the role of al Qaeda in #Bengazi to attack Obama's CT record. They were wrong, and handed our enemy a propaganda win."
- "Credit to @ddknyt but also disconcerting that his #Benghazi article offered more insight into what happened than all Congressional hearings."
Responding to Vietor's tweets, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, whose panel has held several hearings on the Benghazi attack, said the investigations were not a waste.
"It's never a waste to try to find out how to make sure American lives are not lost again," he told reporters in Washington after his appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press."
– CNN's Sunlen Serfaty contributed to this report.
And how about Issa apologizing to the people he has smeared – like Susan Rice? And Rand Paul should have to apologize to Hillary Clinton for saying he would have fired her. Rich and arrogant – both of them.
Hey, GOP, if you don't want to be accused of partisanship, then start putting our country ahead your lousy party.
Which intelligence confirms AQ involvement in the attack, and to what extent was the nature of this involvement that would have fronted AQ as the architect. Its time to get these Repubs to, at least retract their statements. They have, under various political disguises disgraced the office of the POTUS, destroyed whatever benefits Obama struggled to create for Americans, stained deliberately the positive images whitehouse dedicated personnels try to build up in their carreers in their genuine bid to serve the nation. These damages and more are immeasurable and most times irreparable. POLITICS SHOULD BE A GAME OF NOBILITY.......AND US BEING THE SUPPOSED LEADER OF WORLD DEMOCRACY SHOULD ALWAYS BE EXAMPLARY.
If the GOP had a record of successful policies that grow our economy, foster good relationships with the international community, create economic stability and gains across all income levels and fostered a national
Climate of tolerance and cooperation so all citizens despite their outward differences were welcome to contribute to our society and long-term prosperity-if the GOP had that going on, they'd be worth listen.
But they don't so they aren't. And leading up to
November 4, 2014, I will be doing everything in my power to educate and encourage voters to vote for Democratic candidates ulnar down the ballot – because they DO have a record of success.
Only a fool would want to continue the useless obstruction the GOP.
The Anerican people will continue to be denied the truth because it severely compromises the Obama Administration.
Obama had a choice, act like a President and take charge and responsibility for the attack or act like a politician and go to Las Vegas to campaign. He chose Vegas.
This administration lies and/or distorts and now even the dems understand how much- The apologists on this blog should be ashamed of themselves for supporting false statements and lies
This is absolutely ridiculous, we have tens of thousands either dead, wounded, life changing injuries, or physiologically damaged as a result of recent wars. And, these idiots are talking about 4 deaths in Benghazi.
I don't give darn hoot at Benghazi, it 10,000 miles away, not part of USA. This is GOP thugs another hue and cry. Nasty stuff.
But wrong you are. The embassy is considered American soil.