Who was behind attack that killed Amb. Chris Stevens?
Rep. Mike Rogers weighs in
- Duration 11:32
- Date Sep 16, 2012
Rep. Mike Rogers weighs in
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This transcript is automatically generated
There is still more questions than answers about that attack and Libya Tuesday that killed US ambassador Chris Stevens.
And -- other Americans.
For more on where the investigation stands we're joined now by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee congressman Mike Rogers.
-- in his home state of Michigan well congressman you just heard ambassador rice say that.
Her latest indications are.
That the attack on the consulate and Ben Ghazi was a spontaneous.
Demonstration about that video that spun out of control you agree with the ambassador.
I think it's just too early to make that conclusion there are so there's analysts and department of offense and CIA there's operatives in both places.
As an FBI agent I get a look at all of that I come to a different conclusion they are only moderately.
Confident that it was a spontaneous event and it's because there's huge gaps in what we know.
The way that that is the attack took place I have serious questions that seem to be a military style coordinated.
The -- indirect fire coordinated with direct fire rocket attacks.
They were able to watched two different separate attacks on -- locations there near the -- it.
And they repelled a fairly significant Libyan force that came to to rescue the embassy.
In that it was on 9/11 and there's other information classified information that we have that just makes you stop for a minute pause.
And as that -- the first thing you learn as a young FBI agent and is there are coincidences.
But they're not likely and there are a lot of coincidences about this event do I believe that people did show up that had weapons.
And joined who joined the effort probably I do.
But I think to me when you look at all of the information across both departments -- I just suspect.
That they could come to that conclusion so -- of the -- that it was a spontaneous effort given the coordination.
There has been talk about I I didn't extremist group in bank -- ons are -- -- There's been talk that they were in it in talks with the another group -- Friday in North Africa what can you tell us about the.
You know for months al-Qaeda in the Maghreb and that's the across northern Africa which joined on about 2007.
I think it was -- They joined al-Qaeda so they have their own groups across northern Africa -- they've been looking.
It had been looking because al-Qaeda core result what -- and others.
Have told them that you want you need to start attacking western targets to that and looking for opportunities we know there was an idea at this facility just months ago.
So we know that there is some interest by al-Qaeda strong interest -- I should say.
To attack western targets we know that al-Qaeda cells and in Tunisia have been developing in the Libya have been developing.
We can't say for sure and it was an al-Qaeda event.
It just has all the hallmarks -- of an al-Qaeda -- style event.
Given and you just mention the fact that there had been an IED attack at this consulate there had as I mentioned to ambassador rice been five terror attacks.
On the ground against western interest and Ben -- I understand that hindsight is twenty -- way.
But -- we -- as prepared as we should've been given the fact that yes there was a history of violence in that region.
Yes it was the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.
And yes the ambassador was it does not very.
Installation and -- -- should there have been more security there.
Yeah -- that was gonna be hard to assess and I think we need to do movement walk to that conclusion not run.
One of the things we -- US diplomats in places like -- to do remember -- volunteers are dangerous neighbors it's a bit of an expeditionary.
We didn't have an embassy there.
But it was important to have US influence there for a hopefully a better outcome.
That leads to a more peaceful world events in the future he gave his life and that effort and it was expedition -- so we have to look at.
Was the security accurate for what we knew.
In accordance what what the mission was for the ambassador.
-- Ben -- at that time I don't think anyone today can say yes or no.
I think it's gonna take and I know the FBI is on the ground they'll have a great forensic.
When they're done a great -- picture for us.
And then we can make that determination and -- also through the committee and through the intelligence services scrubbing everything we knew up to that point was there a smoking gun that was -- I don't think we know that answer either.
I don't I have not seen anything that indicates that but we just don't know so I think all of those pieces have to be put together before we come.
To the conclusion they didn't have the right security posture -- -- Gaza and let's talk about the broader picture about the wave of anti American violence across the Islamic world this week you've just heard.
Ambassador rice say that this has nothing to do.
With US policy in the Middle East it's all about that video that insults the Prophet Mohammed.
Congressman do you believe about point.
I don't I think this is a convenient effort.
By all of the groups who have other Alter your motives if you remember even I know that ambassador mentioned the profit Mohammed cartoons.
Well there were months that went by before and violence violence was inside and they did that through it their own information operations -- -- an al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
And so we know that that al-Qaeda is clearly trying to use this to incite violence.
So this is a mechanism to do what they have been trying to do all along and what we're finding too in some of the demonstrators now in Egypt.
Is finding that a lot of the folks showing up hadn't even seen the video and this is some of that youth group that really started the change in Egypt.
And now -- that -- the election happened felt immediately disenfranchised have economic problems religious problems cultural differences tribal differences in Libya.
All of those things are simmering.
And we have had aid -- that -- at least what appears to the folks in the Middle East and they can say what they want I traveled there frequently.
The Middle East believes -- countries of the Middle East.
Believe that there's a disengagement policy by the United States and that lack of leadership there or at least clarity on what our position is.
It's causing problems I think.
If we all decide to rally around the video is the problem we -- gonna make a serious mistake and we're gonna make I think diplomatic mistakes as we move forward.
If we think that's the only reason people are showing up -- our embassy.
And trying to -- conduct acts of violence well your.
Not only the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee you're also a congressman let me ask -- a political question not an intelligence question do you think the administration is putting it all on the video.
Because that allows them to -- questions about their policies.
Well I think we have not had a robust the debates in the campaign of presidential campaign about foreign policy it has been on the back burner.
Amid a president doesn't talk a lot about it he hasn't given any speeches really of significant since the 2009 Cairo speech.
I do think that -- -- policies overseas have consequences.
As a matter of fact that I had.
A meeting with a very senior Middle East intelligence official not a while ago.
And I asked -- if I can make you king for a day what would you ask of the United States.
And he stopped for a minute Chris and he said I'd like to know I would tell you to tell us what is your middle east policy.
There is no US leadership.
That's a pretty powerful thing to hear when you have all of this chaos breaking out now on this was of several months ago.
But it just shows that those policies do have some consequence now it's.
It's a combination of all the things I just talked about.
It is a very very difficult problem to solve but you can't solve it by just trying to step back and letting the cauldron simmer on -- zone we have to be a part of it and it doesn't mean militarily it doesn't mean investing billions and billions and billions of dollars it's a combination of showing strength.
And showing up.
We have to be there if Israel is is but -- just -- my frustration I get to this point obviously.
Relationships we're going to be much more complicated after the Arab Spring democracy is replaced dictatorships.
Islamic groups were allowed to protest in the streets where before they have been crossed.
Given -- changing situation include the administration the president have done more to up.
Aggressively advance our interest in this changing Middle East.
I'm not gonna say it's not part I think this is these are hard problems.
But I do think it's important that with US leadership you don't allow these governments to fanned the flames of anti Americanism.
For their own domestic consumption.
And do the wink wink -- should not nudge nudge which exchange public statements about how we all don't like it.
That is not a good policy and it's not gonna solve the problem.
You do you need very direct conversation.
You -- public conversations and I think from the president as well and I hope he does start to engage in a public way and foreign policy.
That helps to set the record straight about the United States' position.
And again -- would saying that we have great relations are saying everything is wonderful saying it's just there's one video causing all of this problem.
I mean obviously the bad guys are gonna use this as a reason.
To do what they've already been doing.
But we need more than that and I that's where I -- -- maybe there's a silver lining in this Chris and we can turn this around.
They shouldn't be about the election it can't be about the election it has to be about standing up for national security issues.
Because it's gonna impact us no matter who wins in November and it has as we can see very serious consequences if we don't get it right at congressman should -- The US and this is -- decision you're gonna have to make as a member of congress should the US either cut off aid to countries like Egypt and and Libya.
Or at least delay -- condition at.
On the idea that you've got to show that you're willing to protect US interest whether it's.
Literally protecting our embassies and diplomats or protecting US or -- advancing US policies.
Well the first thing is they are obligated to protect our embassy I wouldn't make that a condition of anything they need to do that today.
Without without excuse.
And without delay.
On top of that I think we can condition aid -- you know I always say if we just completely pull out of Egypt is America better off.
Or are we worse off when it comes to be able influence a better outcome for peace I think it's probably better that we have some sort sphere of influence in Egypt.
That we can have conversations about hey you'd -- -- don't -- provocative Israel you don't -- it for.
Continue on with this anti Americanism but it has to be conditioned.
We shouldn't just give the money and hope for the best that's not gonna work.
I think that if we condition the spending.
And understand it's OK to ask for something that is in our best interest we shouldn't apologize for that.
We shouldn't say that's offensive to anyone it's our money.
It's taxpayer money and we ought to say here's what we really want to have happen.
And that good influence of the United States really -- you know we'd prefer commerce.
And if we can continue to promote that around the world world's gonna be a better place would have to be there for that to happen.
So I wouldn't run away from the money right away and say we're gonna -- issue immediately.
But we're gonna condition that -- by the way and if you don't do what would we ask you to do that we're gonna take the money away it's -- our best interest to do it.
Congressman Rogers we want to thank you so much for bringing us up today.
On the investigation of that deadly attack in Libya and the whole -- the situation in the Middle East congressman thank you.
Hey thanks perspiration.