“It doesn’t jibe with me,” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) said of last month’s New York Times report that claimed al-Qaeda was not behind the 2012 Benghazi attacks on an American diplomatic facility. “I believe that groups loosely associated with al-Qaeda were” involved, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman told the Hill.
A Feinstein spokesman expanded on the senator’s statement, explaining that she doesn’t believe the groups associated with the attack were taking direct orders from or in connection with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan; the Times report had indicated that “purely local extremist” Ansar al-Sharia was behind the attack. Feinstein also said that intelligence indicates that the violence was not triggered by a YouTube video.
Both Democrats and Republicans have taken issue with the story. Last month, after the news report was published, House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) questioned its accuracy, especially its claim that al-Qaeda was not involved.
“There was some level of pre-planning; we know that,” said Rogers. “There was aspiration to conduct an attack by al-Qaeda and their affiliates in Libya; we know that.”