Roughly eleven months after four Americans were killed in a horrific attack on a U.S. outpost in Benghazi, CNN is reporting that the first criminal charges have been filed in the attack probe.
Federal agents and prosecutors investigating the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi have filed charges against Ahmed Khattalah, leader of a Libyan militia that officials believe was involved in the assault, people briefed on the investigation said. The charges under seal are the first criminal counts to emerge from the probe.
The investigation of the attack last September 11 that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others continues, these people said, as investigators try to build their case against Khattalah and others who authorities believe were involved.
Attorney General Eric Holder had earlier this year promised congressional lawmakers the Justice Department would soon make public what actions it would take.
The administration recently came under fire after CNN was able to track down and interview Khattala, writing that Khattala did not appear to be in hiding and said he had not been "contacted by any Libyan or American officials."
"Even the investigative team did not try to contact me," Khattala reportedly said, referring to the FBI.
"...how come the military hasn't been able to get after them and capture or kill the people?" Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz asked. "How come the FBI isn't doing this and yet CNN is?"
In another bombshell report, CNN revealed an “unprecedented” effort to prevent Benghazi secrets from leaking, one insider saying: “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.”
Another said: "You don’t jeopardize yourself, you jeopardize your family as well.”
In the aftermath of the attack, President Obama said his "biggest priority" was bringing the killers to justice, though in recent weeks the White House has referred to the issues surrounding Benghazi as a "phony scandal."