Shocker: Seized Benghazi suspect worked for U.S.
World News Daily | June 19, 2014
Benghazi suspect Ahmed Abu Khattallah, seized by the U.S. on Sunday, once served as a key conduit in an effort staged by the U.S. and Arab interests to aid insurgents fighting in Libya and later in Syria, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.
It was not immediately clear whether Khattallah himself worked directly with the Americans or if he knew he was part of an effort that involved the U.S..
He did, however, receive funds for his participation in a nexus coordinated by the U.S., Saudis, Turkey and other Arab countries to recruit the fighters that ultimately toppled Muammar Gadhafi’s regime, the security officials said.
Khattallah, the senior leader of the Benghazi branch of the Ansar al-Sharia terrorist organization, was later instrumental in helping to recruit fighters from inside Libya to travel to Syria to aid in the insurgency targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in 2011, the officials said.
Khattallah’s participation came to a grinding halt following the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks in which he is accused of participating.
Ansar al-Sharia was not yet declared a terrorist organization by the State Department during the period of Khatallah’s alleged work to help recruit Mideast rebels.
Prior to the Benghazi attacks, the U.S. relationship with those linked to Khattalah’s group was so comfortable that it was the February 17th Martyrs Brigade, an Ansar al-Sharia offshoot, that officially served as the armed quick reaction force within the U.S. Special Mission in Benghazi.
In August 2013, almost one year after the assault, the U.S. filed the first criminal charges in the Benghazi attack against Khatallah, who was placed by witnesses at the scene during the initial assault on the U.S. Special Mission.
Khatallah’s al-Qaida-linked Ansar al-Sharia group advocates strict Shariah implementation and the creation of the Islamic Caliphate. The group infamously first took credit for the attack in social media while later claiming it “didn’t participate [in the attack] as a sole entity.” Witnesses told the media that not only did they see Ansar al-Sharia men laying siege to the compound, they also spotted vehicles brandishing Ansar al-Sharia’s logo at the scene.