Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) rejected the conclusion made by the New York Times that al Qaeda had no part in the attacks in Benghazi that killed four Americans.
Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the idea that the assault evolved out of a protest "doesn’t jibe" with her, according to the Hill.
"I believe that groups loosely associated with al Qaeda were" involved in the attack, she told the Hill last week. "That’s my understanding."
She also disputed the notion that the Sept. 11, 2012, assault evolved from a protest against the video, which was widely disseminated by Islamic clerics shortly before the attack.
"It doesn’t jibe with me," she said.
The months-long Times investigation, which was published late last month, "turned up no evidence that al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault." It concluded, after talking to actors on the ground, that "contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam."
A spokesman for Feinstein’s office disputed the characterization of her comments to the Hill as a rejection of the Times investigation.
"When Sen. Feinstein said ‘loosely affiliated’ she clearly was referring to groups not directly connected to (or taking orders from) core AQ in Pakistan—which was essentially the conclusion of the New York Times as well," said the spokesman. "So to say she ‘rejected’ the conclusion of the New York Times is an overstatement."