U.S. officials announced on Tuesday that a suspect in the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya that killed 4 Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens on the eleventh anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks is now in U.S. custody.
The suspect, identified as Ahmed Abu Khattala, a high ranking member of Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, was accused of playing a key role in the grenade attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American consulate workers from the start, however, this is the first arrest since the brutal attack.
Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed that the U.S. military and law enforcement personnel captured abu Khatallah on Sunday. Ahmed Abu Khattala is en route to the U.S. to face charges.
On September 12, 2012, U.S. President Obama, and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a news briefing outside of the White House to condemn the Benghazi attack. President Obama vowed to track down those responsible. Obama said “make no mistake. justice will be done.”
Since the Benghazi terrorist attack, the lack of security measures in place at the U.S. Embassy in Libya has raised concerns about the safety of United States workers at other U.S. embassies worldwide. CNN reported that a source said Ambassador Stevens knew he was on al Qaeda’s “hit list.” Friends and family of Stevens said the Ambassador expressed concerns to officials and friends about the growing security threat due to the rising number of Islamist extremists and al-Qaeda in Libya.
Republican lawmakers have questioned whether President Barack Obama and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ignored warnings about possible assaults that could have prevented the Benghazi attack.
In January, 2014, the findings of a Senate Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi said the majority of the members of the panel believed the attack was “likely preventable” based on known security shortfalls at the facility and prior warnings.
In May, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner announced he would form a select committee to investigate the Obama administration’s handling of consulate security after previously unreleased documents, including an e-mail from a White House national security aide, raised more questions about what the Obama administration knew about the armed assault and how it responded in the days after the deadly Benghazi attack.
U.S. officials say Ahmed Abu Khattala is en route to the United States to face federal terrorism charges.