On the Apprehension of Ahmed Abu Khatallah in Libya

Ahmed Abu Khatallah
Ahmed Abu Khatallah

STATEMENT BY SECRETARY KERRY

Libya: Ahmed Abu Khatallah

Since September 11, 2012, we have mourned the four Americans killed that day, cared for the survivors in our State Department family, and focused with intensity on strengthening security at our high-threat posts around the world. But we have also been focused on another mission of unfinished business: bringing to justice the terrorist murderers responsible for the attacks in Benghazi.

This weekend, that work took a dramatic step forward. Ahmed Abu Khatallah, an alleged key leader of the attacks in Benghazi, is now in U.S. custody. He will face a court of law and be held accountable for his actions. This bold action by the superb United States military is a clear reminder to anyone who dares do us harm that they will not escape with impunity.

The United States stood by the Libyan people three years ago as they stood up to the brutality of the Qadhafi dictatorship. We continue to support them in their desire to build a democratic government that will provide them with security, protect their universal rights and help rebuild their economy. The Libyan people face great challenges, but the vision of a peaceful and productive new nation will guide Libya’s future, and they will have a friend and partner in the United States.

The State Department felt the loss of our colleagues in Benghazi acutely. They volunteered to serve in a dangerous place because they believed in the power of the United States to help people. They represented the very best of America. We continue that mission in their name today.

Statement by the President on the Apprehension of Ahmed Abu Khatallah

The United States has an unwavering commitment to bring to justice those responsible for harming Americans. Since the deadly attacks on our facilities in Benghazi, I have made it a priority to find and bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of four brave Americans. I recently authorized an operation in Libya to detain an individual charged for his role in these attacks, Ahmed Abu Khatallah. The fact that he is now in U.S. custody is a testament to the painstaking efforts of our military, law enforcement, and intelligence personnel. Because of their courage and professionalism, this individual will now face the full weight of the American justice system.

Even as we welcome the success of this operation, we also pause to remember the four Americans who gave their lives in Benghazi representing their country: Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty. As I said shortly after the attack, they exemplified the values that we stand for as a nation, including a commitment to freedom and justice. All Americans should be grateful for their service, just as we are grateful to all our personnel – civilian and military – who represent our country around the globe. We will continue to honor our fallen by carrying on their efforts in support of the Libyan people’s aspirations to live in a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic society.

With this operation, the United States has once again demonstrated that we will do whatever it takes to see that justice is done when people harm Americans. We will continue our efforts to bring to justice those who were responsible for the Benghazi attacks. We will remain vigilant against all acts of terrorism, and we will continue to prioritize the protection of our service-members and civilians overseas. We will also sustain our support for the Libyan people, as they work to overcome years of tyranny and do the difficult work of building a democracy.

STATEMENT BY ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER ON THE ARREST OF AHMED ABU KHATALLAH FOR HIS ROLE IN ATTACK IN BENGHAZI, LIBYA

WASHINGTON—Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement Tuesday regarding the arrest of Ahmed Abu Khatallah for his role in the attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya:

“Our nation’s memory is long and our reach is far. The arrest of Ahmed Abu Khatallah represents a significant milestone in our efforts to ensure justice is served for the heinous and cowardly attack on our facilities in Benghazi. Since that attack – which caused the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty – we have conducted a thorough, unrelenting investigation, across continents, to find the perpetrators. The arrest of Khatallah proves that the U.S. government will expend any effort necessary to pursue terrorists who harm our citizens. Khatallah currently faces criminal charges on three counts, and we retain the option of adding additional charges in the coming days. Even as we begin the process of putting Khatallah on trial and seeking his conviction before a jury, our investigation will remain ongoing as we work to identify and arrest any co-conspirators. This is our pledge; we owe the victims of the Benghazi attack and their loved ones nothing less.”

Statement from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on the Capture of Ahmed Abu Khatallah

I want to commend all the service members who were involved in the planning and execution of the operation to capture Ahmed Abu Khatallah. Their tireless efforts may only be known to a few but are felt by all Americans who are proud of what they do every day to defend this nation.

This successful counter terrorism operation is another example of the extraordinary capabilities of the United States military and our unrelenting commitment to hold accountable those who harm American citizens.

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