Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) had some cutting remarks for The New York Times Monday evening, accusing the paper of publishing an inaccurate, politically motivated report on Benghazi ahead of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's potential bid for president.
"First of all, I want to congratulate The New York Times. It only took 15 months for them to figure out how to spell Benghazi," Gowdy said on Fox News’ "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren." "So, in another 15 months, maybe their reporting will actually catch up with the truth.”
Flying in the face of Republican leaders' long-held beliefs, the in-depth investigation found no evidence linking al Qaeda to the 2012 attack on a U.S diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The report also concluded that the attacks were sparked by an anti-Islam video produced in the U.S., contradicting the narrative put forth by members of the House Intelligence Committee portraying the incident as methodically planned.
"Whether it was al Qaeda or a subsidiary or a holding company or a limited partnership, to quote Hillary Clinton, 'What difference does it make?'" Gowdy rebutted on Fox News. "Who cares whether it was al Qaeda proper or a subsidiary? Four Americans are dead, and it wasn't a spontaneous reaction to a video. It was planned."
Refuting the investigation's findings, Gowdy referenced the attacks on the Benghazi headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross that occurred prior to the video’s release.
“What in the world explains the violence in Benghazi prior to the video being translated and released?” Gowdy said. “Our consulate was attacked way before the video was released.”
Gowdy also advised the American public to listen to House Intelligence Committee members Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who reiterated their shared belief on "Fox News Sunday" that al Qaeda was involved in the attack.
“[The American people] should believe Mike Rogers, who is a former FBI agent, and Adam Schiff, who happens to be in a different party, but I respect him greatly,” Gowdy said.
He concluded that the Times’ publication of the report, which does not mention former Clinton, was designed to bolster her rumored 2016 presidential run.
"I've read this New York Times article, Dana, six times," Gowdy told host Dana Perino. "I want you to read it six times and tell me if you can tell who the secretary of state was when Benghazi happened."
“Oh, heavens no. That couldn't possibly have been their motivation, would it be, to support a Democrat who was running for the White House? Oh, heavens, no,” he added.
During an earlier Monday appearance on Fox News, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) posited similar theories, suggesting that by publishing the report, the Times was “trying to absolve [Clinton] from the lack of security that was sent over there, the number of requests for security that was turned down."
"This thing is eventually going to fall back on the State Department, when all the truth gets out there,” Westmoreland said. “Of course, Secretary Clinton was in charge at the time and there is just now a lot of rumors going and pushing about her running for president in 2016… So I think they’re already laying the groundwork.”
Responding to GOP criticism of the report, Andrew Rosenthal, the editor of the paper's editorial page, called the claims "particularly hilarious" in a Monday blog post.
"Since I will have more to say about which candidate we will endorse in 2016 than any other editor at the Times, let me be clear: We have not chosen Mrs. Clinton," Rosenthal wrote. "We have not chosen anyone. I can also state definitively that there was no editorial/newsroom conspiracy of any kind, because I knew nothing about the Benghazi article until I read it in the paper on Sunday."