Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rogers: Benghazi "Gross Negligence"

House Intel chairman on Benghazi: "Gross negligence"

(CBS News) As members of Congress continue to seek additional answers to the sequence of deadly events that transpired on September 11 in Benghazi, Libya, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" that the State and Defense Departments did not take appropriate precautions to prevent the attacks.

"The intelligence said they're looking for western targets. That they want to be more aggressive. All of that is right," Rogers said Sunday. "What I find absolute gross negligence in is they did not take the right precautions" to protect the U.S. compound in Benghazi.

His counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., echoed his remarks about the response to the attacks that killed four Americans. "[I]n my view, you can't blame the intelligence. I think you have to blame the decision makers who didn't really make the right decision," she said on "Face the Nation".

Feinstein said American officials listened to some of the concerns reported by U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens about weak security, but they didn't do enough to protect him and his colleagues. "Some improvements were made. They were, clearly, inadequate improvements," said Feinstein, who has been briefed by top intelligence and administration officials about the Benghazi attacks.

"Somebody was absolutely negligent in not providing the right security to the ambassador and the employees that lost their lives that day. And somebody should be held accountability for that and we shouldn't walk away from that," Rogers added.

As for U.N. ambassador Susan Rice's role in the days after the attack when she called the attacks "spontaneous," Feinstein said the CIA edited the talking points and removed the part that said al Qaeda played a role because they feared compromising a contact or security. "And so al Qaeda was pulled out of it," she said.

"I do not believe the intelligence community should prepare these talking points," Feinstein added.

Rogers, however, blamed the Obama administration for the faulty narrative. "[I]t's not a crime" for the president to alter the explanation for the public, but he said it is "irresponsible" and "many have risen to the level of negligence."

"[I]t really is beyond the talking point, it's beyond Rice, because it was a political narrative designed not around...the intelligence," he said.

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