Report: FBI Identifies Five Suspects In Benghazi Attack

The Associated Press is reporting that the FBI has identified five men in connection with the attack on  the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi last year, but there’s a hitch:

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.

Given this caveat, I have to wonder why they would even acknowledge having identified anyone and thus run the risk of tipping people who, I presume, are under surveillance of some kind.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Intelligence, Law and the Courts, National Security, Terrorism, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Sam Malone says:

    Remember Boston?
    Upset the satus quo.

  2. Tyrell says:

    These people are suspects in an attack on US property and the murder of US officials. The Obama administration is responsible for rounding these and any other suspects up, arresting them, and putting them on trial. There is no other choice.

  3. PD Shaw says:

    “I have to wonder why they would even acknowledge having identified anyone and thus run the risk of tipping people who, I presume, are under surveillance of some kind.”

    Great, more criminal investigations of the press, coming up.

  4. legion says:

    @Tyrell: That’s pretty self-evident, but considering that it’s highly unlikely any of the suspects are actually US citizens – let alone even in the US right now – there is going to have to be a whole butt-ton of diplomacy involved in ever laying hands on them.

    To answer Doug’s question, I suspect this is PR on the FBI’s part to show the public (and Congress) that progress is actually being made in the investigation. The bloodlust among conservatives really gives them little choice – you don’t think the likes of Rushbo and Hannity would be satisfied by giving classified briefings to Congress, do you?

  5. Tyrell says:

    The American people and the families of the victims want action on this. The Libyan government needs to be fully cooperating on this. Anyone involved needs to be arrested and tried.

  6. Stonetools says:


    Your answer to Doug’s question is almost certainly dead right. Thanks to all the right wing scandal mongering about BENGHAZI!, the FBI felt pressure to announce this, instead of waiting till the investigation was complete, then swooping down on the suspects simultaneously , which is how it’s usually done. Thanks, right wingers.
    If the suspects are in Libya, or some other friendly country, the FBI should be able to track down, arrest and extradite them. If they flee to some unfriendly country, oh well-DRONEZ!