David Kirkpatrick, the reporter who wrote the widely derided “clear the decks for Hillary” piece in the New York Times, last December, resurrected the narrative that Ahmed Abu Khattala, the captured terrorist, was motivated by the infamous Youtube video based on the dubious claims Khattala made himself in the days after the attack.
What he did in the period just before the attack has remained unclear. But Mr. Abu Khattala told other Libyans in private conversations during the night of the attack that he was moved to attack the diplomatic mission to take revenge for an insult to Islam in an American-made online video.
An earlier demonstration venting anger over the video outside the American Embassy in Cairo had culminated in a breach of its walls, and it dominated Arab news coverage. Mr. Abu Khattala told both fellow Islamist fighters and others that the attack in Benghazi was retaliation for the same insulting video, according to people who heard him.
In an interview days after the attack, he pointedly declined to say whether he believed an offense such as the anti-Islamic video might indeed warrant the destruction of the diplomatic mission or the killing of the ambassador. “From a religious point of view, it is hard to say whether it is good or bad,” he said.
As Kirkpatrick reported for the Times on October 18, 2012, Khattala “spent two leisurely hours” on a Thursday evening at a “crowded luxury hotel, sipping a strawberry frappe on a patio and scoffing at the threats coming from the American and Libyan governments.”
Khattala told a Reuters reporter that he had nothing to do with the attack, but said “he understood the anger which fueled it.”
“The film which insulted the Prophet was a direct attack on our values and if America wants good relations with the Muslim world it needs to do so with respect,” Abu Khattala said.
Skeptics of the video narrative have always argued that the attack was too organized and systematic (with skilled mortar operators), to have been simply a spontaneous mob protesting a Youtube video.
Khattala also told Reuters “he had only heard he was a suspect through news media and was surprised that officials had told journalists he was at large.”
Even Kirkpatrick maintains that “several witnesses to the attack later said that Mr. Abu Khattala’s presence and leadership were evident from the start.”
The State Department and virtually all other news outlets maintain that Khattala is a leader of the terrorist group Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi, but Kirkpatrick minimized this by saying he has “no known connections to international terrorist groups.”
Despite extensive speculation about the role of Al Qaeda in directing the attack in Libya, Mr. Abu Khattala is a local Islamist militant, with no known connections to international terrorist groups, according to American officials briefed on the criminal investigation and intelligence reporting, as well as other Benghazi Islamists who know him.
Khattala has also claimed to have formed the Obeidah al-Jarrah brigade at the beginning of the armed revolt which toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Shoebat.com reports that the Al-Jarrah Brigade co-mingled with the February 17 Martyrs Brigade to form none other than Ansar al-Sharia. Furthermore, the February 17 Martyrs Brigade was the group that was tasked by the Obama administration with providing security for the compound.
Ahmed Abu Khattala was a commander with the group that attacked the Benghazi compound. He had also been a leader in the group charged with protecting the compound.
The capture of Khattala comes on the heels of the latest damning revelation in the IRS scandal – That former official Lois Lerner “lost” two year’s worth of emails that pertained to the agency’s targeting of conservatives and amid a stunning array of other Regime scandals – imploding Iraq, the Bowe Bergdahl swap, the VA scandal, and the manufactured crisis on the border.
Obama needs a positive narrative that can save him from drowning in a sea of scandals. The question is – will this capture end up helping him or hurting him?