Benghazi panel member Rep. Martha Roby hopeful suspect's arrest a step towards justice
The arrest of a suspected key player in the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Libya is a step in the right direction that will hopefully lead to more being brought to justice, said one of the House lawmakers charged with investigating the deadly incident.
Rep. Martha Roby, said she "commended the military and law enforcement responsible for capturing," suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala. Khattala was seized yesterday in Libya, almost two years after it's believed he took part in the attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.
The White House said Khattala is on his way back to the U.S., where he will receive counsel and face trial in a civil – as opposed to military – court.
Roby said she was "unnerved" by reports Khattala was living openly in Libya after the attacks.
"We must bring all those involved in the Benghazi attacks to justice. Hopefully intelligence gained will allow us to locate other terrorists and prevent future attacks," she said.
Roby, R-Montgomery, is one of seven Republicans named to the 12-member committee investigating the what happened in Benghazi. Critics have said the White House has withheld information related to the attacks, something Roby reiterated when her committee appointment was announced.
"The administration's explanation for exactly what happened that day and why has been far from clear, both in the immediate aftermath and months later," she said.
Khattala's fate prompts controversy
Just after Khattala's arrest was announced, Republican lawmakers said he should be sent to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay and held as an enemy combatant.
"Guantanamo (is) where we put terrorists, where we apprehend them," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said. "Where else can you take him to?"
The White House said that will not happen and Khattala will be held in the U.S. and handled through normal court procedures.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said no matter where he is held, the White House has an obligation to share information it receives from Khattala with the House investigators.
"The arrest of Ahmed Abu Khatallah is long overdue and our military deserves credit for conducting a successful operation," Issa said. "There is evidence that he is one of dozens, if not hundreds of individuals, involved in the murder of four Americans in Benghazi.
"The Obama Administration has an obligation to share whatever information he offers with Chairman (Trey) Gowdy and the Select Committee about events before and during the Benghazi attacks."