Multiple sources, including some with direct knowledge of operations to identify and apprehend suspects in the deadly Benghazi terror attacks, tell Fox News that intelligence that could’ve been used to hunt down high-value targets has been ignored or put on hold by Obama administration.
The sources also said the recent capture of Ahmed Abu Khattala — touted by the White House as a major win — was “small potatoes” and something that could have been done months and months ago. Khattala is currently on a ship heading to the United States to stand trial.
"He was low-hanging fruit," a source told Fox News. "We could have picked him up months and months ago and there was no change, or urgency to do this now."
This undated file image obtained from Facebook shows Ahmed Abu Khattala, an alleged leader of the deadly 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, who was captured by U.S. special forces on Sunday, June 15, 2014, on the outskirts of Benghazi. Abu Khattala was a prominent figure in the eastern city of Benghazi's thriving circles of extremists, popular among young radicals for being among the most hard-core and uncompromising of those calling for Libya to be ruled by Islamic Shariah law. But he was always something of a lone figure. (AP Photo, File)
Adam Housley reports:
According to sources, the United States has a "target list" that initially contained about 10 suspects identified within days of the attack and eventually grew to more than 20 as American Special Forces conducted surveillance in and around Benghazi.
The four groups on the "target list" include Ansar al-Sharia, with the top target being the "Emir of Ansar al Sharia," Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu. He was a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay for more than five years and at the time was classified by analysts at the prison as "a probable member of Al Qaeda." Despite this significant threat to American security and allies, bin Qumu was released as part of an amnesty for militants in 2008. Sources told Fox News that intelligence has shown his involvement in the attacks, and actionable intelligence has for some reason been ignored.
In this same group, but at the bottom of the list, is Khattala.
Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the Benghazi attack also question why more of the investigation hasn't been centered on the Libyan landlord of the American facilities in Benghazi, Mohammad al-Bishari. Some in the region that night insist that al-Bishari "knows a lot more than he is letting on" and "is a key connection to everyone else that night" -- and should be at the very least intensely questioned about what he may know about the attack. Al-Bishari is also said to have bought a new hotel in Benghazi.
It has been previously reported that U.S. Special Forces were not permitted to go after high-value targets suspected of playing a role in the Benghazi attacks, even though there were several opportunities over the span of 16 months.
Intelligence suggests that almost all radical Libyan militias are tied to Ansar al-Sharia, the group believed to be behind the attacks.
Watch the full report via Fox News: