Benghazi is a name that has been floating around the US media for two years now with much controversy surrounding the events of September 11, 2012. As the Benghazi investigation continues what is known for sure is that at 9:40 pm a group of well armed attackers began an assault against the American diplomatic building in the Libyan city of Benghazi and eventually set fire to it, which resulted in the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and information officer Sean Smith.
At 4:00 am, another attack was launched against a CIA annex with mortars, killing former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods. After the attacks there was much contention about the response of the US government and how seriously to take the terrorist action. Many criticized the government for not taking enough action to bring the attackers to justice, but on June 15, 2014, American forces captured Abu Khatallah, a suspect in the Benghazi case.
On June 28, 2014, Khatallah was charged with conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists resulting in death to which he pleaded not guilty. More charges are expected to be levied against Khatallah, but only one is being issued now so as not to reveal too much evidence as authorities continue to conduct investigations into the events in Benghazi. Khatallah was described as soft-spoken and speaking only in Arabic, listening to a translation of the proceedings on headphones.
The indictment of Khatallah was a major step in a long investigation that has seemingly made little progress. President Obama promised that the perpetrators of the attack on the diplomatic compound would be brought to justice, but the lack of material advancement in the case received a hefty amount of criticism, especially from Republicans eager to point out the President’s failings.
Now that Khatallah is in custody, information might be gained on who else is responsible and the exact purpose of the attack. Khatallah was reportedly questioned while being transported to America, but any information he might have revealed has not been released. Any information gleaned from Khatallah’s interrogation will likely remain classified while the investigation is underway.
It is also unclear why the diplomatic building was so vulnerable to attack. Some would say that a diplomatic building should not need the same type of fortification that a military installation does, but in such a volatile region, such measures have become necessary. The topic of the Benghazi attack has been one of much contention in political circles and with more information likely to come to light and with more elections upcoming, it is sure to stay that way.
Republicans may use the slow progress of the continuing Benghazi investigation as ammunition against the Democratic Party, but depending on the outcome of Khatallah’s trial and what information he offers, the situation could end up as a major victory for the Obama administration. Since the capture of Abu Khatallah in Libya on June 15, the investigation has taken a major leap forward and as Khatallah’s trial continues, more information will surely become available. After the hail of criticism received for the event itself and those events following the attack in Benghazi, President Obama and his administration will want to pursue this new lead to the fullest extent and bring justice to all those who committed acts of violence at the US diplomatic compound located in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.
By Matt Isaacs