In his largely fictional missive about Benghazi, New York Times writer – and Cairo Bureau chief – David Kirkpatrick argued that neither al-Qaeda nor groups outside Libya were involved in the attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound. He seemed to concede Ansar Al-Sharia was, but in so doing, Kirkpatrick decided to play semantics. As Walid reported here, the idea for the Ansar Al-Sharia name came from none other than Osama bin Laden himself. The now deceased al-Qaeda leader thought the Ansar Al-Sharia moniker would help boost recruitment because if the U.S. waged war on such a group, it would be perceived as waging war on Sharia law itself.
By arguing that Al-Qaeda was not involved in the Benghazi attacks last year, Kirkpatrick is engaging in semantics. Every single group that was involved rolls up under the Muslim Brotherhood umbrella. Ansar Al-Sharia = Al-Qaeda = February 17th Martyrs Brigade = the Brigades of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman = Hamas = ISNA = CAIR = MSA, etc. etc. etc.
The focus on all of these splinter groups is a tactic employed by said members of said groups to lead westerners down rabbit trails. At this point, it’s beyond obvious that western leaders are being willfully ignorant – for some reason.
So is Kirkpatrick. In fact, in this exchange between him and NBC’s David Gregory of Meet the Press, Kirkpatrick seems to inadvertently make that very point at the end when he actually says that anyone who insists Al-Qaeda was involved in the Benghazi attacks is engaged in semantics.
In attempting to dismiss his critics, Kirkpatrick actually makes their point and blows up the credibility of his own report.
Kirkpatrick’s disingenuousness and political hackery was not lost on Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who sits on the House Oversight Committee and is a former prosecutor. In an interview he did with Dana Perrino, who guest-hosted for Greta van Susteren, Gowdy made the same point, saying that any attempt to argue Al-Qaeda wasn’t involved is a non-sequitur. Gowdy also makes an excellent point that trashes another one of Kirkpatrick’s arguments, namely, that the anti-Islam video was actually involved.
Gowdy’s point was that if the video, which was translated into Arabic in early September, was the impetus for the attack, what explains all of the other attacks in Benghazi prior to the one that ended with the deaths of four Americans.
Even the liberal Daily Beast is challenging Kirkpatrick’s piece now. Eli Lake even brings up the involvement of the Jamal Network. As we wrote here, that group’s founder – Muhammad Jamal Abdo Al-Kashif – is from Egypt and was arrested near Cairo in the weeks after the Benghazi attack. Kirkpatrick is the New York Times’ Cairo Bureau Chief and decided to omit any mention of the Jamal Network in his article.