Mr. Khattala's involvement in the Benghazi attacks had become public knowledge shortly after the attacks.
The New York Times reported in October of 2012 as follows:
Libyan authorities have singled out Ahmed Abu Khattala, a leader of the Benghazi-based Islamist group Ansar al-Shariah, as a commander in the attack that killed the American ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, last month, Libyans involved in the investigation said Wednesday. Witnesses at the scene of the attack on the American Mission in Benghazi have said they saw Mr. Abu Khattala leading the assault.And yet, despite the public knowledge of Mr. Khattala's involvement in the Benghazi attacks, for nearly two years after the attacks, Mr. Khattala roamed the streets of Benghazi freely and conducted interviews with the New York Times, Reuters, CNN and other news outlets without fear of retribution from the Libyan government or the Obama administration.
In October of 2012, the New York Times interviewed Mr. Khattala, and reported as follows:
Mr. Abu Khattala spent two leisurely hours on Thursday evening at a crowded luxury hotel, sipping [mango juice] on a patio and scoffing at the threats coming from the American and Libyan governments.The Times later issued the following correction:
An earlier version of this article misidentified the beverage that Ahmed Abu Khattala was drinking at the hotel. It was a strawberry frappe, not mango juice, which is what he had ordered.Heh....
That same month, Reuters also interviewed Mr. Khattala, and reported:
Abu Khattala told Reuters he... was surprised that officials had told journalists he was at large.The obvious question arises: If Mr. Khattala was roaming the streets of Benghazi both freely and openly, why did it take so long for the Obama administration to apprehend him? According to CNN, US officials claim that Khattala "went into hiding last year after a flurry of media interviews that seemed to mock any U.S. manhunt for him." However, that excuse rings hollow because as late as October 29, 2013, The Times of London interviewed Mr. Khattala, which means the Obama administration had, at the very least, 13 months to apprehend him.
"These reports say that no one knows where I am and that I am hiding," he said. "But here I am in the open, sitting in a hotel with you. I'm even going to pick up my sister's kids from school soon."
Sitting with a friend in the restaurant of a Benghazi hotel, the 41-year-old, sporting a red felt hat and a full salt-and-pepper beard, laughed gently."
So why didn't the Obama administration nab him?
The answer in a few short words: Obama is a coward who knows only one thing: Appeasement.
The more detailed answer, however, is as follows:
In the October 2013 Times of London interview with Mr. Khattala, The Times reported as follows:
Libya's most wanted man is 1.88m tall, has a grey beard, wears a long brown sheepskin abaya coat, has a thin scar on the left-hand side of his temple. He appears to have the flu.And therein lies the answer: President Obama's reluctance to arrest Abu Khattala was due to the fact that he feared, in typical cowardly fashion, that such a move would upset both the terrorist groups operating inside Libya and the terrorist-infested Libyan government that Obama helped put in place.
Given his status as a fugitive and the gravity of his alleged crime - involvement in the killing of the US ambassador - it might be expected Ahmed Abu Khattala would go to ground in a safe house.
Yet, as Abu Khattala, 42, pours a cup of green tea and offers me a tray of biscuits, he gazes thoughtfully from the sofa in his home in a street barely 10 minutes' drive from the centre of Benghazi...
Despite his "wanted" status, the manner of our meeting could scarcely be more blatant... There is no go-between, no guide waiting at a midway rendezvous to escort me to a clandestine meeting place.
Instead, Abu Khattala steps from his home on to the street in broad daylight and leads me inside his house...
"The Lord knows what would happen in Libya if I was taken away," he muses. "This act would win the Americans more enemies, and they would fall."...
Wanis Bukhamada, the head of Libya's special forces appointed as chief of security in Benghazi a fortnight ago, confirmed Abu Khattala's claim the two men regularly talk, an admission that articulates the rift between Washington and Tripoli. "I often meet with Abu Khattala," he said. "We call each other. We have no problems with one another. There is nothing issued against him by the state, no warrant, no information concerning a crime, so why should he be my enemy?"
Instead, Mr Bukhamada expressed concern at the prospect of a US raid to snatch Abu Khattala... A "US raid would cause things to go out of control," he added. "There would be a lot of retaliation. You couldn't tell what might happen."
The New York Times repored on Monday:
Officials briefed on the investigation have said for more than a year that a plan to capture Abu Khattala was on Obama’s desk awaiting approval. But the administration held back, in part for fear that a U.S. raid to retrieve him might further destabilize the already tenuous Libyan government.In October of 2013, I noted that U.S. officials [Obama administration cronies] told CNN that, "the White House became worried any raid in Benghazi [to apprehend Mr. Khattala] could destabilize, and potentially bring down the fragile Libyan government."
Hence, for nearly two years after the Benghazi attacks, Mr. Khattala and his Ansar al-Sharia buddies roamed the streets of Benghazi freely. Why? Because Obama feared that the chaotic situation that he helped create in Libya would only get worse if he dared to apprehend the bad guys.
Which begs the following questions: Why did Obama finally decide to arrest Mr. Khattala? And, from where did Obama get the courage to apprehend him?
Answer: In recent weeks, a renegade and retired Libyan general by the name of Khalifa Haftar has declared war against Ansar al-Sharia and the February 17 Martyrs Brigades - the group that was tasked with guarding the US consulate in Benghazi, but ultimately colluded in the deadly attacks - and other militant groups in Benghazi. Mr. Haftar and several volunteer army units are waging a fierce offensive against the militant groups, and they are acting in defiance, and without the authorization, of the Libyan [terrorist-infested] government.
Hence, with Mr. Haftar and his allies already waging a steady, and heavy, barrage of attacks against Ansar al-Sharia, President Obama, who loves to lead from behind, was able to muster up the courage to defy Ansar al-Sahria, and to arrest Mr. Khattala. Moreover, with the country currently engulfed in fierce fighting, and with Mr. Haftar and his allies already openly defying the Libyan government, the prospect that Mr. Khattala's capture might destabilize an already destabilized country, and weaken, and cripple, an already weakened and crippled government, was no longer a factor.
Hence, Obama suddenly summoned the courage to apprehend Mr. Khattala.
And, it is quite possible that, under the current turbulent circumstances, Obama might also muster up the courage to apprehend some of the other terrorists who were involved in the Benghazi attacks.
Mr. Khattala, no doubt, must be unhappy with Mr. Haftar's recent offensives, which ultimately facilitated the apprehension of Mr. Khattala. On the flip side, however, during the two-year period following the Benghazi attacks, Mr. Khattala was able to roam the streets of Benghazi freely, without fear of retribution - and for that, he owes a huge debt of gratitude to President Obama - because I can't think of any other US President that would have allowed Mr. Khattala the same kind of freedom.