GOP Leaders Dismiss New York Times Benghazi Report

Lawmakers use Sunday shows to reassert that al-Qaeda was behind the 2012 attack

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Republican House members argued that a New York Times investigation into the 2012 attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, was inaccurate.

The report, published Saturday, contends that local militias — not al-Qaeda — were responsible for the attack that left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Republican Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan told Fox News Sunday that the Times story was based on the wrong sources, while Republican Representative Darrell Issa of California used a Meet the Press interview to reaffirm his criticisms of how the Obama Administration handled the attacks.

Times reporter David Kirkpatrick, who authored the story, defended the monthlong investigation and blamed lawmakers for obscuring the facts. Kirkpatrick said there’s a semantic difference in identifying the forces behind the deadly attack.

“There’s just no chance that this was an al-Qaeda attack if, by al-Qaeda, you mean the organization founded by Osama bin Laden,” he said. “If you’re using the term al-Qaeda to describe even a local group of Islamist militants who may dislike democracy or have a grudge against the United States, if you’re going to call anybody like that al-Qaeda, then O.K.”