A leading House Republican criticized the Obama administration Sunday for running ads in Pakistan denouncing the anti-Islamic film that allegedly sparked violent and deadly protests across the Middle East and North Africa, calling the roughly $70,000 project a “horrible idea.”
“I think it was a horrible idea,” said Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. “It gave credibility and it gave a permission slip to Al Qaeda, to Pakistani officials.”
The ad features President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denouncing the 14-minute Internet film trailer “The Innocence of Muslims,” purportedly by South California filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.
The State Department reportedly paid seven Pakistani stations to run the ad.
“I don’t know who gave them the advice,” Rogers said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It was horrible advice. It has exacerbated the situation.”
The administration has said the attacks that began Sept. 11 and spread to more than 20 countries were in response to the film and not directed at the U.S. government.
At least 40 people reportedly have been killed as a result of the attacks including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have since called the attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans died, an act of terror. But they also have said investigations so far show the attacks were not pre-planned.
Rogers has been among the most outspoken skeptics of that analysis.
He recently told Fox News he has "no doubt" the attack in Libya was planned and had nothing to do with the film.
On Sunday, he suggested the administration had to run the ads after pinning the blame on the film.
“The administration gave credibility to this video that certainly nobody in America had seen and very few across the Middle East,” he said.
Rogers also argued that Pakistan Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour personally offering $100,000 for the death of the person who produced the film is further proof the administration made a mistake by running the ads.
“This is a minister of the government of Pakistan,” Rogers said. “As you have seen, it hasn't been effective.”