The Slatest

In Debate over Benghazi Attack, Darrell Issa Stands by al Qaida Link

Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Rep Darrell Issa, R-CA, speaks during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Benghazi attacks in Washington, DC on September 19, 2013.

Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

It’s Sunday, so let the games begin. Meet the Press had a stacked list of guests today ready to re-re-rehash the fight over Benghazi, in light of a new investigative report published by the New York Times.  

First up, David Kirkpatrick, author of the Times piece. “I think honestly if you asked anyone in the U.S. Intelligence business, they would tell you the same thing,” Kirkpatrick said when asked about his conclusion the attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi bore no link to al Qaida. “It’s just obvious.”

Kirpatrick said the only way one could claim al Qaida involvement was, “If you’re using the term al Qaida to describe even a local group of Islamist militants who dislike democracy or have a grudge against the United States. If you’re going to call anybody like that ‘al Qaeda,’ then, okay.”

Next up, Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), one of the harshest critics of the White House’s handling of the attack. “There was a group that was involved that claims an affiliation with al Qaida,” Issa said, standing by his earlier assertion of an al Qaida link.

And what of the infamous video, Innocence of Muslims, which Susan Rice and now the New York Times say spurred the event? There is no evidence a video motivated the attack, Issa said, and any claims of such were, “at best a coverup.”

One thing the two could agree on: There were warning signs leading up to the attack that were not dealt with properly. “Instead of increasing security, we reduced security,” Issa said. “There was a real intelligence failure here,” Kirkpatrick added.

Watch the back and forth for yourself over at Meet the Press.