The Associated Press reported in May that American officials had identified five men who might be responsible for the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi that occurred just weeks before President Barack Obama's re-election. The suspects were not named publicly, but the FBI released photos of three of the five suspects, asking the public to provide more information on the men pictured. The images were captured by security cameras at the U.S. diplomatic post during the attack, but it took weeks for the FBI to see and study them. The FBI and other U.S. intelligence agencies identified the men through contacts in Libya and by monitoring their communications. They are thought to be members of Ansar al-Shariah, the Libyan militia group whose fighters were seen near the U.S. diplomatic facility prior to the violence.
Waiting to prosecute the suspects instead of grabbing them now could add to the political burden the Benghazi case already has placed on Obama and Democrats who want to succeed him in 2016. Since Obama's re-election, Republicans in Congress have condemned the administration's handling of the matter, criticizing the level of embassy security and questioning the talking points provided to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for her public explanation of the attack. Conservatives have suggested that the White House tried to play down the incident to minimize its effect on the president's campaign.
In an interview with the Times in October, Khattala said he had arrived at the American compound in Benghazi as gunfire broke out but that he had played no role in the attack. He told the newspaper that he entered the compound at the end of the siege in an attempt to rescue Libyan guards who worked for the Americans and were trapped.
Khattala accused American leaders of using the Benghazi attack to play "with the emotions of the American people" in an effort to "gather votes for their elections," according to the Times.
-- The Associated Press
Benghazi attack: Ahmed Abu Khattala, the head of a Libyan militia, charged | OregonLive.com