Will Obama Administration Stop Khatallah’s Interrogation When All These Benghazi Accomplices Are Still On the Loose?

by Andrew C. McCarthy

In my earlier post, I pointed out that it could take months to exploit fully whatever useful intelligence Ahmed Abu Khatallah may be able to impart. That becomes even clearer when one looks at Tom Joscelyn’s report at the Long War Journal — which also makes one wonder why only Khatallah has been apprehended despite the fact that the Benghazi Massacre occurred, dude, like two years ago. Tom writes:

Dozens of terrorists who helped overrun the US Mission and Annex in Benghazi, killing four Americans, remain free.

In January, the State Department added Abu Khattalah to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists, describing him as a “senior leader” of Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi. Two other jihadists were designated at the same time: Abu Iyad al Tunisi, who heads Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, and Sufian Ben Qumu, who leads Ansar al Sharia in Derna, Libya. . . . Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi and Derna were both “involved” in the Sept. 11, 2012 “attacks against the US Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya,” according to State. Ansar al Sharia Tunisia was responsible for the assault on the US Embassy in Tunis three days later, on Sept. 14, 2012.

Ben Qumu is an ex-Guantanamo detainee and was previously identified by US military and intelligence officials as an al Qaeda operative. According to a leaked Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) file, Ben Qumu’s alias was found on the laptop of an al Qaeda operative responsible for overseeing the finances for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The information on the laptop indicated that Ben Qumu was an al Qaeda “member receiving family support.” Some of Ben Qumu’s men from Ansar al Sharia in Derna were among the Benghazi attackers, according to US intelligence officials. Neither Ben Qumu, nor his fighters, have been detained.

Like Ben Qumu, Abu Iyad al Tunisi (whose real name is Seifallah Ben Hassine) has a lengthy al Qaeda-linked pedigree that stretches back to pre-9/11 Afghanistan. . . .

In addition to Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi and Derna, jihadists from at least three other al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups participated in the Sept. 11 assault in Benghazi. On Jan. 15, the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its report on the terrorist attack. “Individuals affiliated with terrorist groups, including AQIM [al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb], Ansar al Sharia, AQAP [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula], and the Mohammad Jamal Network, participated in the September 11, 2012, attacks,” the report reads. AQAP, AQIM, and the Mohammad Jamal Network all established training camps in eastern Libya after the rebellion against Muammar el Qaddafi began in 2011. . . .

Some of Jamal’s fighters took part in the Benghazi attack, but there is no indication that any of them have been killed or captured. Likewise, none of the terrorists “affiliated” with AQIM or AQAP who took part in the attack have been captured.

Still other individuals reportedly involved in the assault remain free. . . .

Abu Khattalah is . . . the first alleged participant in the Benghazi attack to be held by the US. Most of his accomplices remain free.

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