Meet the Press   |  December 29, 2013

New report finds al Qaeda not behind Benghazi attack

The New York Times’ David Kirkpatrick discusses his investigation that found al Qaeda was not behind the 2012 attack on an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> the narrative, it changes the report on benghazi, and let me lay out the context of what you conclude. months of investigation, you write, by the "new york times" centered on extensive interviews with libyans in benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that al qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. the attack was led instead by fighters who had benefited directly from nato's air power and logistics support during the uprising against colonel ka gaud i. and contrary to claims by some members of congress, it was fueled by islam. two key points. how do you know it wasn't al qaeda ?

>> well, i don't think i'm out on a limb there. i think honestly if you asked anybody in the u.s. intelligence business, they would tell you the same thing. i've talked to some of the people who i believe were lead perpetrators, and it's just obvious from them and the people around them, they're purely local people. their pasts are known, their records are known, when they were in prison, who they hung out with in prison, who their associations are. there is just no chance that this was an al qaeda attack if, by al qaeda , you mean the organization founded by bin laden . i've tried to understand some of the statements coming out of congress blaming al qaeda for this, and the only way they make sense to me is if you're using the term al qaeda a little differently. 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 okay. certainly there were some anti-western islamist militants involved in this attack. but to me that's a semantic difference and not a useful way of answering the original question, which is, did the group founded by osama bin laden