September 23rd, 2012
12:20 PM ET
8 years ago

Intelligence chairman doubts Libya attack linked to video

(CNN) - The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday there's no proof indicating this month's consulate attack in Libya – which killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans – was related to protests over an anti-Islam video.

"I have seen no information that shows that there was a protest going on as you have seen around any other embassy at the time. It was clearly designed to be an attack," Rep. Mike Rogers said on CNN's "State of the Union."

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While he still thinks there may be evidence that the attackers could have known Ambassador Christopher Stevens was on the property at the time, he said, "9/11 is probably more important to that equation than even the ambassador."

His explanation of the events is at odds with the administration's comments about the September 11 assault. On Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said there was no verification at the time that it was a "preplanned attack" and attributed the event to the controversial video.

"This was the result of opportunism, taking advantage of and exploiting what was happening as a result of reaction to the video that was found to be offensive," Carney told reporters on Air Force One.

However, Carney did acknowledge for the first time that the events in Benghazi amounted to a "terrorist attack."

Rogers said Sunday the administration's statements have been "confusing." He criticized President Barack Obama for attending a campaign event in Colorado the night after the attacks.

"This is as serious an event as I have ever seen, and it's been confusing to try to follow where the administration has been. I'm disappointed the president didn't say, 'I'm not going to the fund-raiser. I am going to go on national TV and put this right,'" Rogers, a Republican, told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

READ MORE: U.S. officials appear less certain of events ahead of Libya attack

Robert Gibbs, a senior campaign adviser to Obama's re-election campaign, was pressed Sunday on whether the administration was changing its tune in the aftermath of the attack.

"As we have learned more and as this investigation continues, I anticipate, we will continue to learn more facts about the awful assassination, murder of our great ambassador in Libya," Gibbs said on Fox News.

He continued: "You saw the White House say that this was a terror attack. And nobody wants to get to the bottom of this more than the president and the secretary of state, so that we can protect our missions in our consulates throughout the world and remain engaged."

Gibbs also defended the president against criticism of Obama's decision not to meet with world leaders while he's in New York City this week to deliver a speech at the United Nations General Assembly, though he is scheduled to tape an interview on the TV program "The View."

"They have telephones in the White House. Last week he talked to the president of Egypt. He talked to the leader of Libya," said Gibbs, a former White House press secretary under Obama. "We don't need a meeting in Washington just to confer with leaders."

- CNN's Greg Clary contributed to this report.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Libya • Mike Rogers • Robert Gibbs • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. w l jones

    You know what your intention but impossible other people thinking. Said enough.

    September 23, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. vic , nashville ,tn

    CNN No offensive I follow BBC on this story
    Election year here I notice some political spin on CNN story
    Before this incident there were few attacks against westerners in Benghazi, No one took serious including our media so I don’t buy “It was clearly designed to be an attack,"

    This is terrorist attack no doubt, this time terrorist got luck on their side

    September 23, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |

    Obama continues to prove that he woefully inept and deserves to be removed from office in January. He surrounds himself with people designed to make him look "smart", but they also are not qualified to hold the positions they do – reference Hillary Clinton.

    September 23, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |

    "This is terrorist attack no doubt, this time terrorist got luck on their side" – No, they have Soetoro on their side.

    September 23, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. Indy

    This was a terrorist attack against every American, it was not an attack on Obama,it was not an attack on Republicans or Democrats it was an attack on the entire country and you either stand up with the President against these terrorists or you fan the flames for the terrorists.

    September 23, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Keeping it Real

    vic , nashville ,tn "This is terrorist attack no doubt, this time terrorist got luck on their side"

    Luck had nothing to do with it. It was well planned, and it now seems that we had intel that an attack was possible. At least as much warning so that American ambassador Christopher Stevens wrote of it in his personal journal. Obama has done everything he can to characterize this as a spontaneous attack. To make it look like he had a handle on foreign relations. This is a complete failure by Obama, and a disgrace that he has misled the country and failed those at the embassy.

    September 23, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. Howard

    True leaders in history have shown us time after time that strength, not Obama weakness, is what creates respect from bullies, like the Islamic terrorists. You fools keep turning truth on its head. Romney was right about the Lybian terrorists, but you and Obama continue to push the lie. Also, anybody in their right mind would choose an extremely successful person to fix our economy, rather than a two bit community organizer ... who was fabricated ... packaged ... and sold to the American public ... only to squander 6 TRILLION of OUR dollars, and keep unemployment well over 8% for 44 months. The only thing that kept this radical traitor from COMPLETELY destroying America, was his concern over reelection ... and you fools want to give him another 4 years, without oversight, or accountability ??? It's fools like you, who not only enable evil to prevail ... you actually assist it. Obama is destroying America ... you Obama stooges love Obama more than you love America ... America is more important than Obama ... Obama is expendable and replaceable ... America is not.

    September 23, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. nkrempa

    I think that Mr. Rogers' assertions are disingenuous at best. He has every reason to characterize the administration as inept and bungling when, in reality, the administration has simply released their view of what occurred based on the facts, as known. When asked for his opinion at the outset, even Mr. Rogers (so incongruous calling HIM that) even stated that it did not appear to be a coordinated attack. So, what's his rationale for changing his tune now? Oh, yeah, emerging facts, right? And how is that any different than what the administration has done all along?

    It's real easy for Mike Rogers to claim that he would've done this or that when he's looking at things from the outside.

    September 23, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  9. Newmalthus

    See this story on NBC webpage: State Department slams CNN for reporting on slain ambassador's diary

    Network says 'public had a right to know' about 'warnings of a terror threat' in Libya

    "We think the public had a right to know what CNN had learned from multiple sources about the fears and warnings of a terror threat before the Benghazi attack which are now raising questions about why the State Department didn't do more to protect Ambassador Stevens and other U.S. personnel," CNN said in a written statement emailed to Reuters.

    "Perhaps the real question here is why the State Department is now attacking the messenger," CNN said in the statement.

    September 23, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. Say

    No one (Republicans) whined when the goverment bailed out the banks and auto industry... It was more of a pleading for help, if I recall it right. It's amazing to me how the big businesses have a short term memory when it comes to the assistance they have received. It appears that the 47% , (you know, the ones who take no responsibility for their lives) saved wall street. Talk about taking responsibility and being independent from govenment.

    September 23, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. Yonni

    Let me guess he is Republican, because he is making conclusion based on gut feeling.

    September 23, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Joan

    The interview with Republican Rogers was like a pro-Romney Super Pac ad. Talk about using a tragic event for political purposes. Since there were several different groups represented at the protest, obviously a good number of them were there because of the film. It would not be surprizing if another group had more sinister plans and used the film outrage as a cover. Since the protesters numbered in the hundreds to a few thousand at each of the protests around the world, that is a pretty small number in countries with millions of people. It shows that these were small radical groups not representative of their countries. Now that peaceful Libyans are rallying against the militant groups and supporting the US that is a very positive sign. CNN's reporting has been all over the place. It is not reliable to keep quoting "anonymous sources" or high positioned Libyan leaders. How do you know they don't have an agenda? On NBC I heard them say that CNN had said the Ambassafor had written in his journal that he was on a hit list but that his family had doubted that story. Shouldn't CNN wait for reliable and truthful information instead of trying to get a scoop? I also listen to other news outlets, especially the BBC, to get an all around, rationale view of the situation.

    September 23, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. ConcernedParticipant

    I truly believe this is the end result of a long time of planning. Wake up America and realize you are being duped!

    September 23, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |