Captured Benghazi Suspect Says Attack Was Retaliation For Video
Yesterday, it was announced that a suspect in the 2012 Benghazi attack, Ahmed Abu Khatallah, had been captured by U.S. special forces.
Khatallah was taken into custody in Benghazi Tuesday, where the New York Timesreports the Islamic fundamentalist leader lived “openly.” Currently held on a ship, Khatallah is being transported to the U.S. despite Libya’s objections that he should be tried there.
Libya Demands US to Handover Benghazi Suspect: Libya denies knowledge of US seizure of top suspect in Benghazi… http://t.co/YE9r2Rwize
— News In General (@NewsInGeneral) June 18, 2014
As with much regarding Benghazi, the development has been a controversy down party lines — and new information from Khatallah himself indicates that the attack, as originally believed, may have spun out of a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam film.
In response to news of the capture, former Rep. Allen West (R-FL) responded:
“Squirrel! Benghazi suspect conveniently captured to deflect attention from all the other nightmares.”
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) lashed back, saying of the pushback:
“They’re so obsessed with criticism, criticizing anything that President Obama does, they’ll go so far as to sit here and insult the men and women in uniform and in law enforcement… They’re insulting these good men and women who did some courageous things, heroic things, in order to criticize President Obama.”
Sen. Reid adds:
“I think they’ve lost touch with reality… It’s really pathetic. There’s no other word for it.”
Yesterday, the Times reported upon the possible motivations of the Benghazi attack:
“On the day of the attack, Islamists in Cairo had staged a demonstration outside the United States Embassy there to protest an American-made online video mocking Islam, and the protest culminated in a breach of the embassy’s walls — images that flashed through news coverage around the Arab world… As the attack in Benghazi was unfolding a few hours later, Mr. Abu Khattala told fellow Islamist fighters and others that the assault was retaliation for the same insulting video, according to people who heard him.”
The paper’s David Kirkpatrick also reports:
“What he did in the period just before the attack has remained unclear. But Mr. Abu Khattala told other Libyans in private conversations during the night of the attack that he was moved to attack the diplomatic mission to take revenge for an insult to Islam in an American-made online video.”
Far prior to the Benghazi attacker’s capture, the impetus of the attack became an election cycle talking point, and the issue arose during pre-election debates.