Thursday, November 27, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

US seizes Benghazi suspect in deadly Libya attack

By
From page A1 | June 18, 2014 |

WASHINGTON — U.S. special forces seized a “key leader” of the deadly Benghazi, Libya, attack and he is on his way to face trial in the U.S. for the fiery assault that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, the Obama administration announced Tuesday. It was the first breakthrough in the sudden overseas violence in 2012 that has become a festering political sore at home.

President Barack Obama said the capture on Sunday of Ahmed Abu Khattala sends a clear message to the world that “when Americans are attacked, no matter how long it takes, we will find those responsible and we will bring them to justice.”

“We will find you,” Obama declared.

As recently as last August, though, Abu Khattala told The Associated Press that he was not in hiding nor had he been questioned by Libyan authorities about the attack at the diplomatic compound. He denied involvement and said that he had abandoned the militia. Administration officials said Tuesday that despite his media interviews, he “evaded capture” until the weekend when military special forces, including members of the Army’s elite Delta Force, nabbed him.

Whatever the path to his capture, he was headed for the United States to face what Obama called “the full weight of the American justice system.” Obama called the Libyan an “alleged key leader” of the attack.

U.S. officials said Abu Khattala was being held on the Navy amphibious transport dock ship USS New York, which was in the Mediterranean Sea. The officials spoke only on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss Abu Khattala’s whereabouts.

The Libyan was the commander of a militant group called the Abu Obaida bin Jarrah Brigade and is accused of being a senior leader of the Benghazi branch of Ansar al-Shariah in Libya, which the U.S. has designated a terror group.

On Capitol Hill, Republicans urged the administration to get as much intelligence out of Abu Khattala as possible before anyone reads him his rights to remain silent, supplies him with a lawyer and prepares him for trial in a U.S. courtroom. In fact, Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, said interrogation of the Libyan already was underway and “we hope to find out some positive things.”

Abu Khattala is charged with terror-related crimes in U.S. District Court in Washington and will be tried like a civilian, the administration said. The Obama administration policy is to treat terror suspects as criminals when possible and not send them to the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, like hundreds of terror suspects captured during the administration of President George W. Bush.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the U.S. should skip the legal niceties and focus on interrogation.

“The most valuable thing we can get from this terrorist is information about who else was involved in this,” McConnell told reporters. “We’ll be watching closely to see how much information they glean from him and how they’re handling it.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., added: “We should have some quality time with this guy — weeks and months. Don’t torture him; have some quality time with him.”

Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi declined to comment on whether Abu Khatalla had been read his “Miranda rights” or when that might happen.

“As a general rule, the government will always seek to elicit all actionable intelligence and information we can from terrorist suspects in our custody,” Raimondi said in an email.

The Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, on the 11th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador to be killed in the line of duty in more than 30 years. In the immediate aftermath, political reaction formed along sharply drawn lines that hold fast to this day.

With the presidential election near, Republicans accused the White House of intentionally misleading voters about what sparked the attack by portraying it as one of the many protests over an anti-Muslim video made in America, instead of a calculated terrorist attack on the president’s watch. Obama, for his part, accused the Republicans of politicizing a national tragedy.

After 13 public hearings, the release of 25,000 pages of documents and 50 separate briefings, more congressional hearings are yet to come. One element in the ongoing political situation: The attacks unfolded while Hillary Rodham Clinton, now considered a likely Democratic presidential candidate, was secretary of state, and Republicans have faulted her words and actions in many respects.

According to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday, Abu Khattala is charged with killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility and conspiring to do so; providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists that resulted in death, and discharging, brandishing, using, carrying and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence. Officials said he could face the death penalty if convicted of the first charge.

His arrest may well not be the last. “Even as we begin the process of putting Khattala on trial and seeking his conviction before a jury, our investigation will remain ongoing as we work to identify and arrest any co-conspirators,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. FBI Director James Comey, speaking in Minnesota, said Abu Khattala’s arrest sends a message to others who need to be held accountable that “we will shrink the world to bring you to justice.”

Some Republicans said Abu Khattala should be headed for Guantanamo so that he could be interrogated at length.

“The president is more focused on his legacy of closing Guantanamo Bay than preventing future terrorist attacks like what happened in Benghazi,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., countered that Abu Khatalla can be brought to justice in U.S. courts “just as we have successfully tried more than 500 terrorism suspects since 9/11.” He said sending the Libyan to Guantanamo would be taking “the easy way out.”

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in an email statement: “We have not added a single person to the GTMO population since President Obama took office, and we have had substantial success delivering swift justice to terrorists through our federal court system.”

A witness interviewed by AP following the attack said Abu Khattala was present at the building when it came under attack nearly two years ago, directing fighters. Abu Khattala admitted being there but said he was helping rescue trapped people.

As for the circumstances of his capture, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, credited U.S. forces with “carrying out a dangerous and complex capture operation resulting in no casualties.”

The Pentagon press secretary, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, said that regardless of how openly the Libyan was said to have been living, the important point was that he now is in custody.

“Let’s just say for argument’s sake he was living in plain sight; he’s not anymore,” Kirby said. People should not think this was a situation where “he was going to McDonald’s for milkshakes every Friday night and we could have just picked him up in a taxi cab,” he said. “These people deliberately try to evade capture.”

As the U.S. raid took place on Sunday, forces loyal to a renegade general attacked Islamic militant camps in Benghazi as part of a new assault against the groups. Airstrikes targeted the camps on behalf of Gen. Khalifa Hifter, who was a top military official under dictator Moammar Gadhafi but later defected and lived for years in the U.S.

It isn’t clear what the strikes targeted. The general later said the clashes killed five of his fighters. Hifter’s forces have targeted Ansar al-Shariah.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • rlw895June 18, 2014 - 6:49 am

    So now we get to revisit the claims that Obama was doing nothing to apprehend the perpetrators.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • patrickJune 18, 2014 - 11:51 am

    obama caught one and let five go. that's lousy math.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895June 18, 2014 - 2:09 pm

    That's just proof you're so irrationally anti-Obama you can't give him credit when it's due. Anyone else?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Middle Green Valley plan moves forward

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1

     
    School district continues look into Armijo grade-change scandal

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Veterans ready to serve Thanksgiving dinner

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    New focus on achievement gap of black males

    By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

     
    Vacaville art gallery schedules open house

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

    What’s the matter with Kansas Street?

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    Sandbags available in advance of storms

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Governments shut doors for holiday

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

     
    Fairfield police log: Nov. 25, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Suisun police log: Nov. 25, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    Weather for Nov. 27, 2014

    By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

     
    .

    US / World

    Passengers in Russia’s Arctic give airliner a push

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Court: No warrant needed to draw parolees’ blood

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

    Armored vehicle nixed by Davis ends up in Woodland

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    Snow makes Thanksgiving travel ‘a little hairy’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Union focuses on security guards at Apple

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Homeless man beaten to death in San Francisco

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Obama administration sets stricter smog standard

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Obama gets the bill for White House Thanksgiving

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Heart stent for Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg, 81

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    American among hostages targeted in Yemen raid

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Sierra Leone official: Ebola may have reached peak

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Hong Kong police arrest key protesters, clear site

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Canada police arrest ex-radio host in sex case

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Impoverished Lebanese city is target for IS group

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Spy balloons give police new view of Jerusalem

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Grand jury documents rife with inconsistencies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

    Small crowd protests in Oakland for third night

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

     
    Ferguson residents clean up, hope for calm night

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

    Prosecutor faces new criticism over Ferguson case

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: Nov. 27, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Nov. 27, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscope for Nov. 27, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

     
    Nursing homes full of opportunities for giving

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Tom Hanks, wife to host Christmas tree lighting

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    With shake-ups, AC/DC perseveres with album, tour

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    875 hours of holiday programming on TV last year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    Missing model-restaurateur B. Smith found in NYC

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    Garth Brooks cites Ferguson for cancellation

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

    University in Tennessee cancels Cosby appearance

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

     
    .

    Sports

    Seahawks, 49ers meet for 1st time this season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Panda heads put away with Sandoval’s departure

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    All City football: Vikings sweep top honors

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    San Francisco’s bid for 2024 Olympics taking shape

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    NFL might not flex any Sunday night games in 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Curry, 3s too much for Magic; Warriors win 111-96

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Sharks sign emergency backup goalie

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Spurs’ Popovich undergoes medical procedure

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    AP source: Tomas in process of deal with D’backs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Harden leads Rockets past Kings 102-89

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Smith to start at QB for Jets vs. Dolphins on MNF

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Butler knocks off No. 5 North Carolina, 74-66

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    RG3 benched: Redskins to start Colt McCoy vs. Indy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Raiders’ Woodson expects to play in 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Atletico Madrid, Arsenal reach knockout phase

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

     
    .

    Business

    FBI data show thousands of gun sales beat checks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    US new home sales up 0.7 percent in October

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    US agency threatens to act against air bag maker

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Twitter now tracks other apps you’ve installed

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    Health insurance sign-ups coming to shopping malls

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Esther Ringler

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Dora Maria Aranda

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

    Adrian Looy

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Holiday Gift Guide 2014

    Why millennials prefer electronic gift cards

    By The Washington Post | From Page: HGG2

    How to give holiday gift cards

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG2

    How to establish gift spending limits

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG3

    Teen gifts: ideas for hard-to-buy-for big kids

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG3

    Novice crafter? There’s a project for that!

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG6

    Gift ideas for the special seniors in your life

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG6

    Time and money-saving holiday gift ideas

    By Statepoint Media | From Page: HGG7

    Oy vey, holidays! Does Hanukkah wannabe Christmas?

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG7

    How to save on high-tech gifts

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG10

    Shop top finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG11

    Sharing music: a personal gift made easy by tech

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG12

    Great gifts for music lovers

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG13

    Kitchen gift-giving made easy with personality profiles

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG14

    Great gifts for the family foodie

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG14

    Holiday shows abound in Solano County

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: HGG17

    Great gifts for people who love to read

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG19

    An oft-elusive yet gifty treat: coffee table books

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG19

    Steps to take before giving pets as gifts

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

    2014 holiday toy predictions

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

    Eco-friendly gift ideas for ‘green’ giving

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

    Things to consider before buying this holiday season

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

    Trend-setting gifts for the women on your holiday shopping list

    By Brandpoint Content | From Page: HGG23

    Gifts to keep kids engaged

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG25

    Gift wrap tricks to save time

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG26

    Save time and energy with a family gift this holiday season

    By Brandpoint Content | From Page: HGG27

    Gift exchange dos and don’ts

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG30

    Right at Home: gifts you can use – and use up

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG30

    How to send gifts to faraway friends and family

    By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG30