This morning on “Starting Point,” Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, talks with Soledad about new CNN reporting detailing emails in the aftermath of the U.S. consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Rogers says the emails confirm the consulate was a target, and was perpetrated by a terrorist affiliate of AQIM, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
“When you look at the entire timeline, Soledad, we know that there were threat streams from AQIM, Al Qaeda in the Maghreb and Ansar al Sharia, this group that was claiming responsibility that they referenced in the e-mail, is an affiliate of that Al Qaeda group,” Rogers says. “This was clearly a targeted place, somewhere they wanted to have some terrorist success on the compound. So what you saw in the e-mails in that real time was a real description. And, as you noticed, there was no talk of demonstrations or other things. And it was clearly very early identified with a terrorist affiliate of AQIM.”
Soledad also asks Rogers about conflicting reporting from the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal on what exactly happened.
“I think somebody latched onto what they wanted to hear in intelligence that was provided,” Rogers says. “Remember, if you’re an analyst and you do this for a living, you see all of this threat information about the consulate long before the September 1th attack on the consulate. We know twice that it’s been attacked, which it tells you, by the way, Al Qaeda sponsored events, they want to – they’ll continue hitting the target until they’re successful. We saw that with the twin towers in the ‘93 attack, and then if successful 9/11 attack in 2000 – their success, not ours.”
Rogers adds, “take a look at all of that stream of information, and then these e-mails that you just highlighted, it’s really difficult to come to the conclusion up front that it was a spontaneous, not planned, part of a protest when none of that was in the early hours of reporting. So we’re still trying to figure out what happened.”
What I believe happened, Soledad, is that somebody saw something that they thought was the way that they wanted to talk about it, versus what the facts on the ground were, because, think about it, even when that narrative was starting to develop, oh, this was spontaneous, it wasn’t planned, it wasn’t really a terrorist attack, on September 13th we had another jihadist attack on an embassy in Tunisia. It was very serious, four people killed, not Americans, we had to evacuate the embassy, and they also went and stormed the American school there. So you see this pattern of activity is really hard to come to this conclusion that was just spontaneous, and just kind of happened.