A month after the attacks in Benghazi, a key suspect was smirking at the United States and sipping a strawberry frappe on a hotel patio with a New York Times reporter. This week, he’s b-a-a-a-ck.
Abu Khattala — who told NYT in October that he was not a member of al-Qaida but admired the terrorists’ “puritanical zeal for Islamic law” — is talking to CNN. “He’s really not that difficult to find,” says Arwa Damon, the CNN reporter. “This is not a man who is in hiding.”
But no American or Libyan official has tried to contact him, Khattala tells Damon.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is outraged: “How come the FBI isn’t doing this and yet CNN is?”
CNN is on a roll lately with Benghazi reports.
According to Jake Tapper on Thursday, “dozens of people working for the CIA were on the ground that night, and … the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing remains a secret.” CIA operatives have been subjected to frequent polygraphs, Tapper reports. Some say it’s an effort at intimidation.
- Khattala suggests that U.S. envoy Chris Stevens died of asphyxiation because he was trying to burn documents.
- How many Americans were involved the night of the attack? “A source tells CNN that number was 35, with as many as seven wounded, some seriously.”
- “Speculation on Capitol Hill has included the possibility the U.S. agencies operating in Benghazi were secretly helping to move surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels.”