The Benghazi terrorism suspect Abu Khattala has been captured in a secret raid and is on his way to the US.
So, that’s one terrorist captured, five Taliban kingpins released from Gitmo, and an enormous army of other Islamicist terrorists triumphantly marching through an Iraq we abandoned. Sorry if I don’t think the math looks all that good for the administration.
And yes, I do question the timing of this arrest. All previous reports I had seen agreed with this one from the Times a month after the attack, which stated he was hiding in plain sight. Even today’s WaPo article announcing his capture by the US makes it clear that this has been the case:
Failure to make arrests in the Benghazi case was seen as an enormous frustration for the FBI and a subject of sharp criticism from lawmakers. Within weeks of the attacks, and sporadically thereafter, Abu Khattala was interviewed by American reporters in the open in Benghazi, where he said he did not participate in the initial assault on the Benghazi compound but came on the scene as it was ending.
I don’t think his apprehension at this point in time is any coincidence. He is most useful right now to the administration in terms of PR. And I guess he wasn’t any spontaneous demonstrator complaining about a video, was he?
This is an interesting fact which illustrates that nasty dictators such as Libya’s Gaddafi have their uses:
Believed to be in his 40s, Abu Khattala was imprisoned for many years by the Gaddafi regime for his Islamist views.
Others believed to have been involved in the Benghazi attack are being sought. One of them, Bin Qumu, “was released [in 2007] from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and sent to Libya, where he was detained. Gaddafi’s government released him in 2008.”
That’s not Obama releasing him, that’s the Bush administration and then Gaddafi. I wonder why. Although I have yet to find a single article that gives the details as to the reason Bin Qumu was released, there is no question that Bush was under intense pressure from the moment of Guantanamo’s establishment to free its inmates.
At any rate, Bin Qumu has quite a history. Quite a history. Before he was implicated in the Benghazi killings, the NY Times pointed out his checkered past and the fact that in the fight against Gaddafi he had supposedly become our ally (protect your neck while you read the article or you might get whiplash trying to follow Bin Qumu’s twistings and turnings):
Today [April 24, 2011], Mr. Qumu, 51, is a notable figure in the Libyan rebels’ fight to oust Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, reportedly a leader of a ragtag band of fighters known as the Darnah Brigade…The former enemy and prisoner of the United States is now an ally of sorts, a remarkable turnabout resulting from shifting American policies rather than any obvious change in Mr. Qumu.
He was a tank driver in the Libyan Army in the 1980s, when the Central Intelligence Agency was spending billions to support religious militants trying to drive Soviet troops out of Afghanistan. Mr. Qumu moved to Afghanistan in the early 1990s, just as Osama bin Laden and other former mujahedeen were violently turning against their former benefactor, the United States.
He was captured in Pakistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, accused of being a member of the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and sent to Guantánamo — in part because of information provided by Colonel Qaddafi’s government.
“The Libyan Government considers detainee a ‘dangerous man with no qualms about committing terrorist acts,’ ” says the classified 2005 assessment…
When that Guantánamo assessment was written, the United States was working closely with Colonel Qaddafi’s intelligence service against terrorism. Now [April 2011], the United States is a leader of the international coalition trying to oust Colonel Qaddafi — and is backing with air power the rebels, including Mr. Qumu.
The classified Guantánamo assessment of Mr. Qumu claims that he suffered from “a non-specific personality disorder” and recounted — again citing the Libyan government as its source — a history of drug addiction and drug dealing and accusations of murder and armed assault.
In 1993, the document asserts, Mr. Qumu escaped from a Libyan prison, fled to Egypt and went on to Afghanistan, training at a camp run by Mr. bin Laden. At Guantánamo, Mr. Qumu denied knowledge of terrorist activities. He said he feared being returned to Libya, where he faced criminal charges, and asked to go to some other country where “You (the United States) can watch me,” according to a hearing summary.
Nonetheless, in 2007, he was sent from Guantánamo to Libya and released the next year in an amnesty for militants…
Mr. Qumu did not turn up for a promised interview last week, but Mr. Hasadi did…He denied that Mr. Qumu was in his group…Two of Mr. Qumu’s sons are in his brigade, he said.
“I don’t know how to convince everyone that we are not Al Qaeda here,” Mr. Hasadi said. “Our aim is to topple Qaddafi,” he added. “I know that you will never believe me, but it is true.”
For now, Western observers in Benghazi, the temporary rebel capital 180 miles from here, seem content to accept those assurances. “We’re more worried about Al Qaeda infiltration from outside than the indigenous ones” one said. “Most of them have a local agenda so they don’t present as much as a threat to the West.”
Reading that, you can see some of the reasons the Obama administration was so eager to ascribe the Benghazi murders to a nameless crowd whipped to frenzy by a video.
You can also see how incredibly difficult the task of fighting Islamic terrorists is whether an administration seems committed to the task or not. Shape-shifters.
The situation keeps presenting us with the dilemma of which bad-but-perhaps-less-bad guy to back against the other. And staying out of it doesn’t make them any less intent to harm us. After all, we weren’t doing all that much against them back in September of 2001, and you know where that got us.