A Democratic congressman who was accused of suggesting that Al Qaeda may want to harm a prominent White House official told FOX News he meant "no ill" by the comment.
Massachusetts Rep. Bill Delahunt made the remark Thursday while questioning David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, during a House subcommittee hearing on interrogation policies.
Addington said he couldn't discuss certain interrogation techniques because "Al Qaeda may watch C-SPAN," which was televising the hearing.
Delahunt responded: "Right, well, I'm sure they are watching, and I'm glad they finally have a chance to see you Mr. Addington."
Megan Mitchell, spokeswoman for Cheney, said Delahunt’s remarks were "inappropriate."
Republican Rep. Steve King, Iowa, went so far as to say Delahunt was "inciting Al Qaeda to violence," and suggested Delahunt should guard Addington’s family "until the war on terror is over."
Delahunt told FOX News that King has "a good sense of humor" but "under no circumstances" was he implying during the hearing that Al Qaeda may target Addington.
"That’s absurd. That was not my intent," he told FOX News. "And I’m sure Mr. Addington knows that was not my intent."
Delahunt said he was just trying to express that he was glad to see Addington. Delahunt said he recalls saying "I," not "they," during the testimony – though the video, broadcast on C-SPAN, shows he was talking about Al Qaeda.
"I'm sure that he understood," Delahunt said. "I would be surprised if he had any other interpretation other than the one that I suggested I intended. And if he believes in any way I wish him ill, I assure him that's not the case and I'd be happy to have another conversation with him."
FOX News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.