By Justin Sink - 09/13/12 11:42 AM EDT
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) warned Thursday that escalating attacks on American embassies in the Middle East could develop into "real trouble" and said that the United States needed to clearly signal the ramifications of future attempts to breach diplomatic missions abroad.
Rogers's comments come after protesters in Yemen attempted early Thursday to breach the walls of the embassy there just a day after violence in Egypt and Libya left four American foreign service workers dead, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
"These are all opportunities that are stacking up for individuals who want to go after American stations abroad," Rogers said on CNN's "Starting Point." "So this is a very important time for us to have a very clear sense and communicate that to — across the Middle East, what U.S. policy is, how we're going to handle people who cross the wall. This is a pretty serious matter and we've got to stop it now. If we're still talking about other embassies in several weeks, we've got real trouble."
"At least today, I don't have anything that would say that they were working together," Rogers said.
But the Michigan lawmaker said the effort in Libya had "all the hallmarks of an al Qaeda operation."
"The effort on the compound in Benghazi was a clearly coordinated type effort," Rogers said. "This wasn't some folks who grabbed some rifles and said, 'This is a great opportunity, let's go down and shoot up the embassy.' "
Rogers also said that the attacks would demand a thorough review of the American intelligence apparatus, which did not flag any warning signs before the attacks despite the fact that they came on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"We're going to have to go back. A lot of questions to ask in this," Rogers said.
Rogers also warned that a troubled economy in Egypt had the potential to foster anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiment.
"We notice that the easy default is, 'Hey, you might not have a job, have no hope, but let's hate the American or the Israelis across the border,' " Rogers said. "And I think there's some of that going on in Egypt right now, which is very disturbing and will lead to some serious trouble if we don't get this turned around."