Rogers on Benghazi: This should not be a 'partisan issue'
December 29th, 2013
04:32 PM ET
4 years ago

Rogers on Benghazi: This should not be a 'partisan issue'

(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.

Filed under: Congress • Libya • Mike Rogers
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. rs

    Benghazi should not be political. Unfortunately, with the GOP everything is political- even state funerals.

    December 29, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    You can defend Issa all you want Mike, which is what you are doing. But he comes off as a fool, because he is
    a fool. Pure partisanship on his part, and he keeps digging that enormous hole which some day he will fall into.

    Saw him on "Meet the Press" and he came off as hard-headed and mean. Like I said, it takes character to
    admit you are wrong. Character is not a word to be used in the same sentence with Issa.

    December 29, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    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.

    December 29, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. current state of the union

    They can't let go, its all they got, sad though

    December 29, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. wendel

    boy are they changing the story now. Once again the repos jumped the gun made up a story now they are doing damage control. Anything to put this administration in a bad light, What are ya gonna use against Hilary now you clowns????

    December 29, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. GOP = Greed Over People

    Justice should never be a partisan issue, however between the Issa Inquistion and the yammering on Fox Fables they have been blinded to the facts, as NYT just proved.

    Not to mention, some members Of Issa's commission, has accused him of releasing "selective facts"!

    December 29, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Another GOP house of cards crumbles. When will you Republican sheep stop buying into all their lies, smears and fake scandals?

    December 29, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. Fair is Fair


    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.
    I suppose you don't give darn hoot about Iraq or Afghanistan... they're 10,000 miles away too, and not part of USA.

    December 29, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. bill

    gurgyl wrote she dont give darn hoot at benghazi. say that if it was one of your brothers that died there. please try to put a coherent sentence together.

    December 29, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. Peace

    As good news on Obamacare are coming out, now they are switching back to Benghazi. What recyclìng of issues for republicans?

    December 29, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Smitty

    Fact is the USA is in worse shape under Oblunder

    December 29, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. king

    how many fake scandals have issa and his right winged minions have came up with against this president and his administration. everything that happens to ameria, these fools use their master fact twisters, who mainly work at fox news, to turn it into a scandal. the problem is that the media who suppose to know better, eats it up and spew it out to the already gullible americans. i shook my head plenty of times and wonder how far down the road of dumbness have the american people gone. alquaeda is in the terror business against america. if they had pulled this crap off, they would want the world to know that what terrorist do, and they would ask the whole middle east to bask in their glorious victory, against the american infidels. i haven't heard that alquaeda took responsibility yet. the repubs in search for scandals swoosh that part over the ever growing gullibility of the american people head. look up terrorism, and it will tell you that they just dont do this for nothing, they do it for the world to know that they have the capability to hurt the most powerful country on the planet, and their is nothing they can do about it. trust me if alquaeda had done this they would have told some body by now.

    December 29, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  13. Obama - Liar of the Year - Democrats Doubling Down on the Lies

    And just when you thought the looney lying leftist Democrats had learned their lesson and started telling the truth. Nope. It is in their blood to simply concoct lie after lie, doubling down every time they are caught. It is very clear this is the first round in trying to wipe the blood of four dead Americans off the hands of Hillary Clinton so she can be anointed in 2016. After this joke of a report, people don't need any more proof of the MSM colluding with and being the propaganda wing of the Democrat Party,

    OK, so the Obama administration has already admitted this attack had nothing to do with this bogus video. Is this reporter now saying they their wrong yet again? Of course all of this is really doesn't matter as it is all about trivia. The FACT of the matter is that the Ambassador and many others had begged over and over for added security and were not only denied additional security, they had their security CUT. Repeated attacks and threats had been including assassination attempts on officials from other governments (exactly as threatened).

    The story about Benghazi is all about how incompetent people (Hillary being one of them) back in Washington got some of our front line people killed for no good reason. Benghazi was a horrendously dangerous place anyways but even more so on the anniversary of 9/11, after being threatened and with reduced security.

    The fact is that Hillary Clinton's 3am phone call came and she failed miserably, even after having been given a LOT of early warning.

    December 29, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  14. davidfarrar

    From the very beginning, the allegation from Admiral Lyons was that these group’s main aim, on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood, with Obama’s prior knowledge, if not consent, was to kidnap Ambassador Stevens so that Obama could exchange him for Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman (the blind sheikh). If you remember, this was the first sworn political objective of Mohamed Morsi’s.

    (AP) CAIRO – In his first public speech addressing tens of thousands of mostly Islamist supporters, Egypt’s president-elect Mohammed Morsi has vowed to free the blind sheikh jailed in the U.S. for a plot to blow up New York City landmarks.

    The next thing the New York Times will be reporting is that the riot at the Cairo embassy over the video was real, but that Al Qaeda wasn't involved.

    This is just another attempt to whitewash the blood off of Hillary Clinton's hands before the next presidential election.

    ex animo

    December 29, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  15. don in albuquerque

    Watched him on TV today. Very obviously this is a madman.

    December 29, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  16. John

    The truth is probably everything. Some Muslims do go nuts about a video. And some are Al Queda, lurking about looking for opportunity. Because chaos WAS part of the events, we may never see any coherent explanation that wraps it up neatly.

    What is the lesson? If you are NOT going to pack up and leave, if you want to maintain diplomatic relations, then do not skimp on security. Err on the side of caution. And do not cut funding for it, as seems to be part of this story.

    That done, pay your respects, and tern your attention to the future.

    December 29, 2013 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  17. just me

    Still wating to hear when those dozen embasst attacks under Bush are going to be investigated. People died in those, also. Where's your outrage, Issa?

    December 29, 2013 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  18. Cosmo

    Unfortunately, to the left, it is always political. They will deny this is a scandal and defend the the administration who lied to their face about it. So sad that politics is more important to them then what happened to the 4 dead Americans.

    December 29, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  19. danicalifornia

    Sorry – this is all about clearing the way for Hillary's presidency and Susan Rice as Secretary of State

    December 29, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  20. S. B. Stein

    The problem is that there is little need from the GOP/conservative side to see all the problems with the situation. I think that part of the blame belongs on the ambassador who went to an unsecured location. If that hadn't happened, there would be less of a problem.

    December 29, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  21. Steve

    uh, i think this comment shows that both the administration and the NY Times (which is now like the National Enquirer) are the ones that made this political.

    "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

    December 29, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  22. ladies first

    it's going to come out who is responsible for the negligence that occurred the night that Chris Stevens and the Seals lost their lives. KARMA ALWAYS FINDS A WAY OF CONNECTING THE DOTS.

    December 29, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  23. Evergreen

    Maybe Fox News should send their reporters to Benghazi and do their own investigation instead of sitting in the safety of their air conditioned studio and complaining about the NY Times reporter's investigation.

    December 29, 2013 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  24. roro

    The Repugs and Fox News are proven wrong once again. Issa is on a witch hunt and he's like a dog with a bone. He's mean and nasty and wrong once again. How much taxpayer money has he wasted on all these investigations that prove nothing. He should have to reimburse us. After all, he is the richest man in Congress, or so I've heard.

    December 29, 2013 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  25. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Now we have to brace ourselves, once again, for another round of GOP/Tea Party madness. Let the spinning frenzy begin to crucify Presient Obama and adivisers (again!!) while ignoring urgent national issues and the good of the country.

    December 29, 2013 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
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