After 21 months on the “run,” the White House announced Tuesday the capture of Ahmed Abu Khattala, who played a key role in the 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans.
In what can only be construed as a purely political move to appease his left-wing base, President Barack Obama has decided not to send Khattala to Guantanamo, said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.
Hayden told The Hill in her statement, "The administration’s policy is clear on this issue: We have not added a single person to the GTMO population since President Obama took office, and we have had substantial success delivering swift justice to terrorists through our federal court system."
That brought utter shock to the GOP and many military personnel, especially those serving overseas. In their minds, Khattala was a poster child for the island military prison.
But wait. There is the Benghazi hearings coming this August and Hillary, the former secretary of state, ”may” run for president in 2016. This prisoner has to be held under tight, Democratic security until the 2016 campaign is over.
Could that be the reason for the unreasonable?
Before that news broke, key Republicans weighed in on how Khattala should be dealt with. A jubilant House Speaker John Boehner said, "It is obviously good news that this terrorist is now in American custody. I am grateful for the work of our military, assisted by the FBI, in capturing him. I look forward to hearing more details regarding the raid, and I expect the administration to give our military professionals time to properly gather any useful intelligence he has."
In other words, at the time of this statement there was no reason to think Khattala was going anywhere except the prison for the worst of the rotten apples overseas. In fact, four senators including John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, said Khattala is an enemy combatant and should be held at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo.
That’s makes the most sense, right? As Sen. McCain said, “Where else can you take him to?" Sen, Graham actually said “Khattala should not be read his Miranda rights. I hope we gather intelligence through the law of war interrogation. He should be going to Gitmo."
Khattala was the commander of the Ansar al-Sharia militant group. He was captured Sunday south of Benghazi. "I can confirm that on Sunday, June 15, the U.S. military, in cooperation with law-enforcement personnel, captured Ahmed Abu Khatalla, a key figure in the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012," said Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby.
Only Khattala, who is expected to be arraigned in Washington, has been apprehended. This after 21 months without any arrest at all. The man they have arrested talked to a New York Times reporter calmly at a street café over a year ago in Benghazi.
A never-shy photo-op conscious president signed off on the mission Friday night. By Tuesday Obama confirmed he was headed straight to America.
Republicans soundly praised Khattala's capture, but last month, Boehner established a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks, which is chaired by South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy.
What will Khattala’s account of the attack do to Hillary Clinton’s credibility at this summer’s hearings if he is allowed to speak candidly to the press? Hundreds of millions in campaign money already banked for her 2016 campaign are at stake.
Influential Rep. Peter King (R-NY) most likely got Ms. Clinton’s attention by saying, “Obtaining information and intelligence from this terrorist must be our first priority," King said. Maybe that’s true, but true for Hillary Clinton.
Any rough testimony at the August hearings or testimony from an arrested terrorist could end Clinton’s campaign before it starts, officially.
Meanwhile, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa called Khatalla's arrest "long overdue." Hillary has major damage control that may not work under this sort of public pressure for the truth.
Right now, the farthest thing from Clinton handler’s minds is the emotional closure for the victim’s families. For them, that can wait until late 2016.
And what think our president? He is more focused on his legacy of closing Guantanamo by far than future terrorist attacks like Benghazi. You can take that to the golf course.
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