The Campaign Spot

Benghazi’s Perpetrators, Still Running Free

Today’s Morning Jolt features a look at Lois Lerner pleading the Fifth, Anthony Bourdain’s recent trip to Libya, some transactional journalism at the White House, and then this development . . . 

Benghazi: The Story the Obama Administration Would Prefer We Forgot About

Sorry, families of Benghazi victims. We know who killed your loved ones, but we just don’t have enough to prosecute yet:

The U.S. has identified five men who might be responsible for the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year, and has enough evidence to justify seizing them by military force as suspected terrorists, officials say. But there isn’t enough proof to try them in a U.S. civilian court as the Obama administration prefers.

The men remain at large while the FBI gathers evidence. But the investigation has been slowed by the reduced U.S. intelligence presence in the region since the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks, and by the limited ability to assist by Libya’s post-revolutionary law enforcement and intelligence agencies, which are still in their infancy since the overthrow of dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

The decision not to seize the men militarily underscores the White House aim to move away from hunting terrorists as enemy combatants and holding them at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The preference is toward a process in which most are apprehended and tried by the countries where they are living or arrested by the U.S. with the host country’s cooperation and tried in the U.S. criminal justice system. Using military force to detain the men might also harm fledgling relations with Libya and other post-Arab-Spring governments with whom the U.S. is trying to build partnerships to hunt al-Qaida as the organization expands throughout the region.

Hey, you know what else harmed fledgling relations with Libya? Susan Rice going on the Sunday shows and contradicting the other big guest on the shows that week, Libyan president Mohamed Yousef El-Magariaf, who was telling anyone who would listen that weekend he had “no doubt” the attack was pre-planned by individuals from outside Libya. You’ll recall Gregory Hicks’s testimony that Rice’s contradiction of their president infuriated the Libyan government and impeded further cooperation on the investigation for more than two weeks.

Hey, President El-Magariaf, sorry about that.

Anyway . . . now Obama gets gun-shy on droning bad guys who kill Americans? Now?

The Heritage Foundation has a good Ben Howe-produced video that points out how Obama’s claim that “we have been very clear about, throughout, that immediately after this event happened, we were not clear who exactly had it carried out, how had been, how it had occurred, and what the motivations were” just doesn’t match the facts at all.

For perspective, in Pakistan and Yemen alone, experts estimate that the U.S. launched about 450 drone strikes, killing 2,300 to 3,700 militants and hundreds of others, some determined to be civilians, others whose combatant status is unclear.

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