Congressman: Benghazi Report Underscores that Future Threat Comes from al-Qaeda Affiliates
The former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said the Benghazi attack underscores that the threats the U.S. faces in the future will probably all come from affiliates of the terror powerhouse.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said on Fox this morning that he found the report in the New York Times to be "entirely misleading."
"The fact is that Ansar al-Sharia is affiliated with al-Qaeda," he said. "We're never gonna be attacked probably by al-Qaeda core again. We've known that for years, going back to Christmas Day bombing in 2009, the Times Square bombing in 2010, that was not core al-Qaeda. These were affiliates of al-Qaeda."
"So to say that it was an affiliate, rather than al-Qaeda itself, means absolutely nothing. I mean, from the start, the question I had was: Was Ansar al-Sharia involved? They were. So I consider that an al-Qaeda attack. That's the new face of enemy we face."
King disputed the reporter's implication that if it's not directly ordered from Ayman al-Zawahiri that it's not an al-Qaeda attack.
"That core al-Qaeda has been very much weakened. As a result of that, al-Qaeda is splintered, has metastasized, is morphed. And in many ways, is more of a threat now than it was on September 11, 2001," he continued.
"And if our -- if our State Department people didn't realize that in Benghazi, then that is even more of an indictment than what we knew before. If they're trying to say that they were not ready for an attack from Ansar al-Sharia because they didn't know was affiliated with al-Qaeda, then they really fell down in the drum more than we even thought they did. And Ansar al-Sharia has a training camp right near that compound in Benghazi."
King said he felt the Times "is certainly covering for the State Department."
"Obviously Hillary Clinton was the secretary of State at that time. I think they're also trying to defuse what they believe is a Republican issue in the next presidential campaign. And I'm not talking about a partisan issue. I'm talking about a legitimate policy issue," he said. "And if they're gonna claim that these affiliates of al-Qaeda are not al-Qaeda, and therefore we don't have to be as concerned about them as we do about al-Qaeda, and do not have to maintain our anti-terror efforts to the same extent against these affiliates that we do against al-Qaeda, then that is a very, very real policy issue that has to be discussed."
"Because we saw four Americans were killed because of this group. And if somehow that is not considered al-Qaeda, and we're gonna let our guard down, then that's gonna put our country at risk."
Yesterday on Fox News Sunday California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff acknowledged that "the intelligence indicates that al-Qaeda was involved."
"But there were also plenty of people and militias that were unaffiliated with al-Qaeda that were involved," Schiff continued. "I think the intelligence paints a portrait that some came to murder, some people came to destroy property, some merely came to loot, and some came in part motivated by those videos. So it is a complex picture. There was some planning... but it was not extensive. I don't think it's either accurate to characterize this as a long-term preplanned core al-Qaeda operation or something completely unaffiliated."