Will arrest of Libyan affect Benghazi Investigation?

It’s hard to argue that the capture of Abu Anas al Libi in Tripoli isn’t a good thing but is it possible that his capture may have actually helped to reinforce the Benghazi stonewall? At least one U.S. official seems to indicate that the arrest of al Libi may have given the Benghazi attackers a warning to make themselves scarce.

Abu Anas al Libi: Will his arrest help or hurt Benghazi Investigation?

Abu Anas al Libi: Will his arrest help or hurt Benghazi Investigation?

Via Bill Gertz at the Washington Free Beacon:

The U.S. official said the locations of several attackers behind the Sept. 11 armed assault on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi and a nearby CIA facility are known. The group Ansar al Sharia, which has links to al Qaeda, has been identified as behind the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

By conducting the high-profile raid that captured senior al Qaeda terrorist Abu Anas al Libi in Tripoli, the administration is likely alerting the Benghazi terrorists and possibly driving them into hiding.

Asked about the lack of action against the Benghazi attackers, a senior administration official told the Free Beacon: “A lot of people are focused heavily on delivering justice to the Benghazi attackers, and no other recent action takes away from that laser focus.” {emphasis ours}

At the Washington Times, Bob Taylor reports on how nonchalant al Libi was just before his capture:

Al-Libi has been one of the most wanted terrorists in the world since 1998. His capture came in broad daylight at his home while he was parking his car in his driveway. The ultra-successful military operation by U.S. Delta forces was a precision attack, but its relative ease and the timing are raising the eyebrows of some observers.

Earlier this summer, CNN’s Arwa Damon went to Benghazi and was able to get an interview with Ansar Al Sharia Libya leader Ahmed Abu Khattala by simply asking him for one. Not long after Damon’s interview, the FBI filed criminal charges against Khattala, though under a sealed indictment.

If al Libi is out of the Benghazi loop, his capture might make future Benghazi arrests more challenging. However, if he can provide additional intelligence about the source of the attack, it could have the opposite effect.

Thomas Joscelyn at the Weekly Standard, entertains the notion that if al Libi can provide additional information about a certain Egyptian, we might just get somewhere relative to Benghazi:

Muhammad Jamal al Kashef, an Egyptian who served as part of Zawahiri’s security detail in the 1990s, set up training camps inside Libya in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring. Some of Jamal’s trainees reportedly took part in the attack in Benghazi. Jamal, who has since been detained in Egypt, was in direct contact with Zawahiri in 2011 and 2012. What does al Libi know about Jamal’s activities?

Al-Kashif: Egyptian with alleged involvement in Benghazi attack.

Al-Kashif: Egyptian with alleged involvement in Benghazi attack.

Though Joscelyn doesn’t go here, if Libi does have information on al-Kashif, it very well could lead to Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood involvement in Benghazi.


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