December 30, 2013
Republican and Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee on Sunday questioned a central assertion in a major New York Times investigative report, that neither al-Qaeda nor “other international terrorist groups” were involved in the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The Times report by David Kirkpatrick focuses on Ansar al-Shariah – a group that has long been implicated as having played a key role in the deadly attack – but disputes that it has links to al-Qaeda.
“Republican arguments appear to conflate purely local extremist organizations like Ansar al-Shariah with al-Qaeda’s international terrorist network,” he wrote.
House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) told “Fox News Sunday” that the assertion Ansar al-Shariah does not have links to al-Qaeda was wrong – disputed by “the intelligence, to a large volume.”
“Now, did they have differences of opinion with al-Qaeda core? Yes. Do they have affiliations with al-Qaeda core? Definitely,” he said. (“Core” al-Qaeda is the Pakistan-based, Ayman al-Zawahiri-led part of the terrorist network, which has affiliates in Yemen, Iraq/Syria and north and east Africa.)