AP: U.S. officials have identified five Benghazi suspects — but won’t seize them because there’s not enough evidence to prosecute yet

posted at 4:01 pm on May 21, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via the Right Sphere. Am I reading this correctly? President Dronestrike, who’s been known to liquidate people from the air in places like Pakistan with no more evidence than that their movements show the “signature” of a terrorist, now won’t go in and grab five jihadis whom the feds have reason to believe murdered a U.S. ambassador?

What?

U.S. officials say they have identified five men they believe might be behind the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year. The officials say they have enough evidence to justify seizing them by military force as suspected terrorists — but not enough proof to try them in a U.S. civilian court as the Obama administration prefers.

So the officials say the men remain at large while the FBI gathers more evidence. The decision not to seize the men militarily underscores the White House’s aim to move away from hunting terrorists as enemy combatants and toward trying them as criminals in a civilian justice system.

First things first: How much do you suppose the AP enjoyed kneeing Obama in the groin by publishing this after finding out that the DOJ was peeking at their phone records? Imagine the subpoenas being prepared at this very moment to find out who leaked them this scoop on Benghazi.

Not for a minute do I believe that O really wants these guys tried in federal court. His whole counterterror M.O. has been to kill suspected jihadis on sight precisely so that he doesn’t have to deal with the headache of housing and trying them. If he sends in the SEALs to grab the five and they succeed, suddenly Gitmo and military tribunals are back front and center and the headache starts anew. More than that, he risks a second Benghazi-related humiliation if any of them go to federal court and are acquitted. There’s no reason to take that risk when he can check the “rule of law”/civilian trial box for his base by prosecuting Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Massachusetts. Also, giving the Benghazi five a soapbox by trying them in federal court hands their lawyers an opportunity to conduct discovery and try to turn the trial into a referendum on the feds’ handling of security in Benghazi, which would only feed the embarrassment Obama and the State Department have already suffered for last September’s lapse. According to polling, the American public is just fine with drone strikes on suspected terrorists abroad, and no doubt would be especially understanding of strikes aimed at people suspected of killing a U.S. ambassador. The fact that O’s allegedly willing to ignore all that and demand criminal procedures suggests something else is up.

Theory: The Libyan government is resisting U.S. officials’ requests to either authorize a drone strike or let special forces hit the ground to round these people up. Acquiescing in a heavy-handed American military action against the locals could be dangerous for a weak regime that’s surrounded (sometimes literally) by jihadists and various militias. If O ignores their warnings and attacks the Benghazi five anyway, and the government there is consequently destabilized, he’ll take all kinds of heat for that. If he holds off at their request and blames them for obstructing him via leaks to the media, he’ll take all kinds of heat for not insisting upon justice for the murderers of an American diplomat. So, possibly, he’s chosen the middle course — hold off on attacking but claim it’s because he’s building a criminal case, which at least promises future action. Or maybe I’m overthinking this and The One really has gone cuckoo for federal trials. We’ll know the next time he drops a bomb on someone in Yemen, won’t we?

Exit question: The timing of his big Gitmo/drone speech on Thursday just got a lot more interesting, didn’t it?

Update: Yep.

Update: The AP has now expanded its original article to add detail. A key bit:

The U.S. has decided that the evidence it has now would be enough for a military operation to seize the men for questioning, but not enough for a civilian arrest or a drone strike against them, the officials said. The U.S. has kept them under surveillance, mostly by electronic means. There was a worry that the men could get spooked and hide, but so far, not even the FBI’s release of surveillance video stills has done that.

Enough to put troops in harm’s way but not enough for a drone strike?


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Comment pages: 1 2

“What prevents the president from calling up Eric Holder and asking what’s going on?” the reporter from Fox asked. “A lot,” Carney responded. “Imagine the story on Fox if that were to happen,

Better scenario: Imagine the story AP would run…

socalcon on May 21, 2013 at 7:35 PM

Has the IRS reported to DOJ yet on the content of their prayers?

de rigueur on May 21, 2013 at 7:37 PM

…not enough (evidence) for …a drone strike against them.

{raises hand} ahem, if I might get a copy of those criteria? please? {shrinking away}

socalcon on May 21, 2013 at 7:39 PM

If any money changed hands for weapons, wanna bet said reimbursements were in the form of campaign donations? Now that would truly be the end to end all ends!

can_con on May 21, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Sooo… Obama, Holder and Clinton; who are the other two guys? Oops, my bad, I meant James Rosen, Sharyl Atkisson, Major Garrett – who are the other two?

ghostwalker1 on May 21, 2013 at 8:30 PM

There was a worry that the men could get spooked and hide, but so far, not even the FBI’s release of surveillance video stills has done that.

Why should these guys worry? They’ve been laughing in public for almost a year now.

ghostwalker1 on May 21, 2013 at 8:34 PM

There was a worry that the men could get spooked and hide, but so far, not even the FBI’s release of surveillance video stills has done that.

Why should these guys worry? They’ve been laughing in public for almost a year now.

ghostwalker1 on May 21, 2013 at 8:34 PM

Why doesn’t al Jazeera or some other Arabic company interview these guys and find out what really happened?

At this point I think al Jazeera’s word on this is no more or less reliable than that of this fascist administration.

slickwillie2001 on May 21, 2013 at 9:22 PM

If the CIA was trying to recover arms, or the STate Dept. wanted it as an outpost, all I can say is…so what? Somebody should have protected them!

Surely, Hillary didn’t deny protection to teach the CIA a lesson, did she?

PattyJ on May 21, 2013 at 10:39 PM

Ya know, I would just rather this administration just SHUT UP rather than continuing to open their mouths and spew shi’ite at me, believing I am completely stupid.

We have video / pictures of guys carrying AK-47s and rocket launchers. They have video / pictures of guys dragging Stevens through the Street. Several of the perpetrators went on THEIR version of ‘Oprah’ & THEIR ‘Sunday Talk Shows’ after this attack. we KNOW who they are – some of them. We have a cell at Gitmo just waiting for them…what we DON’T have is a President who is NOT an ‘Islamic Extremist Sympathizer’ & who is willing to protect American lives.

As President, Obama armed Mexican Drug Cartels who used those weapons to wipe out towns, kill men/women/children, & kill a U.S. Border Patrol Agent – 300+ and counting. He protected the Ft. Hood terrorist by calling his attack on troops prepping to deploy a case of ‘work-place violence’. He practically handed Stevens & the other Americans over to Al Qaeda as a sacrifice by asking THEM to ‘protect’ him, by ignoring 2 previous terrorist attacks, by refusing to provide additional security over & over again, & by betraying/abandoning Americans who fought for their lives for 7-8 hours while waiting for help that never came!

Whether it is our lives or our Constitutional Rights, this President has preyed upon, attacked, & sacrificed anything/everyone again and again to push his agenda & protect his ‘friends’.

easyt65 on May 22, 2013 at 9:19 AM

All me & my friends need to ‘prosecute’ them is a good set of coordinates! :)

easyt65 on May 22, 2013 at 9:20 AM

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