News / Middle East

Benghazi Suspect Arrest Could Provide Valuable Information

Victor Beattie
The capture of Libyan terror suspect Ahmed Abu Khatallah could provide valuable information about the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.  While viewed as a political victory for President Barack Obama, the volatile issue of how his administration handled the attack appears unlikely to go away anytime soon.

The president said Tuesday that the Khatallah's capture near Libya’s second-largest city on Sunday sends a message around the world.

"When Americans are attacked, no matter how long it takes, we will find those responsible and we will bring them to justice, and that’s the message I sent the day after it happened and, regardless of how long it takes, we will find you, and I want to make sure that everybody around the world hears that message very clearly," the president said, adding that Khattalah will now face the "full weight" of the American justice system.
According to Colin Clarke, a counter-insurgency analyst with the RAND Corporation,  this first arrest, two years after the Benghazi attack is symbolically important.

"Just because of the magnitude of the Benghazi attacks, all the political follow on that’s occurred in the United States," he said. "But, if this individual, as alleged, was a key member of this attack, then certainly was some operational expertise, some terrorist tradecraft he was capable of striking again.  So, I think both operational and symbolically important."
 
Ahmed Abu Khatallah
 
  • Thought to be 43
  • State Department says he is a leader of Ansar al-Sharia
  • Formed an Islamist militia
  • Jailed for several years by Moammar Gadhafi
  • Denies involvement in 2012 attack on U.S. consulate in Benghazi
  • The U.S. had named him a 'specially designated global terrorist'

A Reuters news agency report said that U.S. ambassador at the U.N., Samantha Power, told the Security Council that Katallah had been planning to attack more Americans and that justified his capture.  

The White House said Khatallah, identified as a senior leader of the terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, will not be sent to the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Instead, he will face murder charges in a civilian court, where other terror suspects have been tried.

Clarke hopes that pre-trial interrogation of the suspect will yield valuable intelligence on his accomplices.

"What intel can be gleaned from the suspect is to be determined, but this is probably one of the best chances the United States has, once they get to interrogate this individual, to learn some more information and put together a more detailed sketch of what this [terror] network looked like," Clarke noted.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that “the most valuable thing we can get from this terrorist is information about who else was involved” in the attack.  He said “we’ll be watching closely to see how much information they glean from him and how they’re handling it.”

Congress has been holding numerous investigations into the handling of the Benghazi attack by the Obama Administration, which originally said it was the result of the release of an anti-Muslim video.  Later, it acknowledged it was a terrorist attack.

Hillary Clinton, then the Secretary of State, has been accused of providing inadequate security at the consulate.  Clinton, seen as a potential 2016 presidential candidate, said Tuesday she is pleased with the capture of Khatallah.  She said he has been very much on the mind of U.S. officials since the attack and should help piece together what happened.

Pat Smith, mother of one of the slain Americans, Sean Smith, said, when told of the arrest, she still has not received a telephone call from the government about why her son died.  He said she deserves to know and hopes such a tragedy doesn’t happen to anyone else.

University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato says Katallah’s capture is good news for the White House and Clinton.

"Benghazi isn’t going to go away.  Grabbing somebody now, a couple of years after the fact, is not enough for those who believe the whole Benghazi episode was mishandled and those American lives didn’t have to be lost," Sabato said. "Having said that, it’s certainly good news that one of the principals involved in this will be brought to justice.  Now, others are criticizing the fact that we’re going to try him apparently in civilian courts.  I don’t think that’s finalized yet, but many Republicans want him to go to Guantanamo.  Well, Guantanamo is highly controversial abroad and President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo.  By the way, it is a pledge that he has utterly for at least five and one-half years."

Sabato says the United States is in the midst of a campaign season leading to congressional elections in November that could see opposition Republicans take control of the Senate, along with the House of Representatives, thus rendering Obama less influential in his final two years in office.

Sabato says he does not expect the arrest to have any major impact on ongoing congressional hearings into Benghazi, except to give Democrats some debating points.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mark from: Virginia
June 18, 2014 3:08 PM
As usual, this capture, future trial and expected punishment has turned from a matter of justice to one of political debate and possible political gain in forthcoming Congressional elections. Instead of saying "Justice will be served and questions will be answered," it is "hmm, what can I do to exploit this for political gain so I can keep my pitiful seat in Congress and keep getting paid an obscene amount of money for doing very little in the way of help for the American people."

The solution is simple; treat him as the animal that he is, and execute him for the animal that he is after ripping apart his brain to find the answers we seek. But no, the humanitarian lobbies will keep him alive, forbid any 'cruel and unusual' treatment to get information and keep him alive at Gitmo for years at taxpayer's expense to he can be someday traded over in a prisoner swap because a careless soldier gets himself captured.
Of course, if we do execute this terrorist, we would HAVE to do so as humanely as possible, and make it as comfortable as possible so no one's conscience is disturbed that an animal was put down. Forbid that we make his last moments drawing breath as one of fear and terrible, fleeting pain....


by: meanbill from: USA
June 18, 2014 10:54 AM
Is there one person in this whole-world, that could believe that this guy is smart enough, to plan and lead the 09-11-2012 attack on the US compound in Benghazi Libya, (and kill ambassador Stevens and Smith by smoke asphyxiation, and Doherty and Woods, who were helping in the Stevens Libyan investigations, by mortar rounds), when it would have been a lot simpler to just kill them by bullets, since everybody had guns? Everybody had a gun that night in Benghazi, and everybody was shooting them, (but), not one building was shot-up, and not one single person was shot, killed or wounded?-- Somehow, with everybody shooting guns, two Americans were asphyxiated, and two others killed by mortar rounds? -- and nobody got shot, killed or wounded?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid