The 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya was an “Al Qaeda-led event” according to multiple on-the-record interviews with the head of the House Intelligence Committee who receives regular classified briefings and has access to the raw intelligence to make independent assessments.
“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. 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,” Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., told Fox News in a November interview.
“Not a video, that whole part was debunked time and time again,” Rogers added of the attack which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service officer Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, “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.”
The comments challenged the findings of a New York Times “investigation” which pointed instead to local militias and claimed an anti-Islam video played a role in inciting the attackers.
Asked in November what might explain the initial narrative that an anti-Islam film triggered the attack, Rogers did not answer directly but said all evidence points to the State Department, whose leadership skirted the security requirements for the Benghazi mission. “We think we can fairly sense what was going on here and I will tell you, the answers, I think, are going to lie within the State Department and the decision-making in the State Department,” he said. “Lots of questions to be answered there.”
In the same interview, Rogers also suggested there were attempts to connect between the assailants and the Al Qaeda senior leadership in Pakistan. “I can tell you we know the participants of the event were clearly Al Qaeda affiliates, had strong interest and desire to communicate with Al Qaeda core and others, in the process — we believe before and after the event.”
While there was no immediate response from the White House, State Department, National Security Council or Rogers to a New York Times investigation that “turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault,” the Republican congressman who leads the House Intelligence Committee has consistently maintained, in on-the-record interviews, that the attack was premeditated terrorism and not linked to the anti-Islam film initially blamed by the Obama White House.