Intelligence Chair: Obama and Clinton ‘Gave Permission Slip to Al Qaeda’
by TERRANCE JEFFREY
September 25, 2012
House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers (R.-Ala.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in broadcasting a television ad in Pakistan apologizing for a privately produced YouTube video that criticized Islam, had given al Qaeda and other "bad actors" a "permission slip" to do bad things.
Rogers also said there was a "high degree of probability that it is an al Qaeda or al Qaeda-affiliated group" that attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, killing U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
After the Obama-Clinton ad was broadcast in Pakistan last week, Pakistani Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour said on Saturday that he would personally pay $100,000 to anyone who could kill the maker of a video, Innocence of Muslims, that had been posted on YouTube and that had inspired the apologetic Obama-Clinton ad.
"I think it was a horrible idea," Rogers said of the Obama-Clinton ad. "It gave credibility, and then it gave a permission slip to al Qaeda, to Pakistani officials. You saw the minister come out and say he was offering $100,000 for the death of the person who produced the video. This is a minister of the government of Pakistan. It gave a permission slip because of this attention and credibility that was given to this video that should not have been given by our president and our secretary of state.
"And as you have seen, it hasn't been very effective," Rogers told CNN's Candy Crowley.
"I'm not sure who gave them the advice. I thought it was horrible advice," said Rogers. "I think they have actually exacerbated the problem, and I think hopefully we shake ourselves out of this.
"This is a national security issue that we'll have to deal with, whomever wins in November," said Rogers. "This is a big deal for the national security to the United States of America."
Later in the interview, Rogers repeated his assertion that the Obama-Clinton ad gave "permission slips" to people aiming to do bad things.
"I had a very senior Middle-Eastern Arab nation intelligence official after our meeting, I said what would you ask of the United States if I could make you king for a day," said Rogers. "He said please tell me what your Middle East policy is.
"That's caused that confusion," said Rogers. "That lack of this sense of disengagement, is causing us huge problems, and that's why I thought the reaction to what happened with the president and the secretary creating a television ad in Pakistan was just adding, was fomenting, the problem and giving permission slips for all of the bad actors to do bad things."