On September 12, 2012, the President of the United States said the following about the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were murdered by Islamic terrorists:
Just before the nonsense about denigrating people’s religious beliefs — such as the Islam-mocking YouTube video that President Obama knew had nothing to do with the attack — he said this: “Make no mistake: We will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.”
Make no mistake: That was four months ago. How’s that whole thing going?
Ever since an armed mob torched a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, President Obama has vowed to bring the killers of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans to justice. Yet four months after the assault, U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence officials tell The Daily Beast that the hunt for those responsible remains stymied by poor cooperation by North African governments.
On Tuesday the Tunisian government released Ali Ani al-Harzi, a leading suspect in the attack, who was taken into custody after fleeing Libya for Turkey and then sent to Tunisia. Officials say Harzi was released over Washington’s objections, as Tunis cited a “lack of evidence.” While the FBI eventually got access to Harzi, efforts to press him on what he knew were often blocked by bureaucratic objections by the Tunisian government and its court system. In December the Tunisian branch of the Islamist militia Ansar al-Sharia posted photos of people they claimed to be FBI agents who interviewed Harzi, according to the counterterrorism website Long War Journal. The U.S. intelligence community believes members of Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi participated in the attack four months ago…
Meanwhile, in Libya, the landscape is becoming increasingly lawless. In Benghazi this week, Ahmed Abu Khattala, a militia leader who claimed in an interview with Reuters that he was at the U.S. mission the night of the consulate attack, survived an assassination attempt after a bomb was placed under his car. The device exploded prematurely and instead killed one of Khattala’s assailants. Additionally, the Benghazi police officer investigating the murder of the chief of Benghazi police in November went missing last week.
One source of frustration for U.S. intelligence community: the president’s decision to make the Benghazi probe a criminal investigation. While the CIA has an ever-changing list of suspects it dubs the “Benghazi attack network,” the drones and Special Operations teams that are used to hunt al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan and Yemen are not being used to track down Stevens’s killers. Instead the investigation is being led by the FBI, which relies on cooperation from local and national police in Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt.
Read the whole thing. Sounds like it’s going really well. I’m sure Kathryn Bigelow has already optioned the hunt for the Benghazi killers for her next film. She can call it Zero Leads.
What does Obama care? Every one of his promises comes with an expiration date, and this one expired on November 6. He rode it out until after the election. He got plenty of help from friends like Candy Crowley and her ilk. And the work continues, as the media tries to shut down any tough questions about what happened in Benghazi and how the Obama administration has responded to it. Dead Americans only count when the president is a Republican.