Mustafa al-Imam, a Libyan national believed to have played a prominent role in the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, has been captured by special operations forces, ABC News reports. He was apprehended Sunday at an undisclosed location in Libya and is now believed to be aboard a U.S. Navy ship.
An unnamed U.S. official said that al-Imam will be brought back to the United States, where he will face federal charges, including homicide and “providing and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists resulting in death.” He will not be held at the Guantanamo facility in Cuba, and he will appear before a federal judge in the District of Columbia.
Justice For Benghazi Victims
While no information regarding al-Imam’s exact role in the Benghazi attack has been made public, his capture is being treated as a significant step toward obtaining justice for those Americans killed during the raid by Islamist militants and for their families. United States Ambassador Christopher Stevens and State Department employee Sean Smith were killed in the attack, along with Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, two former Navy SEALs who worked as CIA contractors. President Donald Trump issued a statement Monday on the successful raid to capture al-Imam. The full text of the president’s speech can be read on the White House website:
U.S. Consulate in Benghazi after attack
“Yesterday, on my orders, United States forces captured Mustafa al-Imam in Libya. Because of this successful operation, al-Imam will face justice in the United States for his alleged role in the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi…
Our memory is deep and our reach is long, and we will not rest in our efforts to find and bring the perpetrators of the heinous attacks in Benghazi to justice.”
The trial of Ahmed Abu Khattala, who helped to plan the Benghazi attack, began in Washington, D.C. earlier this month. Khattala was captured by Delta Force soldiers in June of 2014. At his trial, several survivors of the incident, who were physically disguised in the courtroom, delivered vivid accounts of how the attack unfolded.
The overrunning, by Islamist militants, of the Benghazi consulate remains a stain on both the presidency of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. A congressional investigation and report cited a number of administrative failures preceding the assault. Many of the recriminations that followed the incident, however, centered around Obama administration officials, including Clinton herself and then national security advisor Susan Rice deceiving the public over the cause of the attack. Although it was quickly established that the militant assault on the consulate was planned in advance, Rice stated, during several television appearances, that the violence was a spontaneous reaction to a “hateful video” published on YouTube.