American forces captured the terrorist Mustafa al-Imam in Libya, who will face charges in the United States for his alleged role in the 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. In an October 30 statement from the White House, President Donald Trump declared, "Yesterday, on my orders, United States forces captured Mustafa al-Imam in Libya." Trump added, “To the families of these fallen heroes: I want you to know that your loved ones are not forgotten, and they will never be forgotten."
The U.S. government has in its possession video that shows that al-Imam (46) was present at one of the two sites where the 2012 attacks occurred. Al-Imam had been using various aliases while the U.S. had been monitoring his location for some time. After his capture, Al-Imam was flown to a U.S. Navy vessel. It is not clear when he will be transferred to the U.S. to face trial. He will face charges for: Killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility involving the use of a firearm and dangerous weapon and attempting and conspiring to do the same; Providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists resulting in death; and Discharging, brandishing, using, carrying and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Libyan authorities were informed in advance of the raid. All U.S. troops have been accounted for; there were no reported injuries. "The United States will continue to support our Libyan partners to ensure that ISIS and other terrorist groups do not use Libya as a safe haven for attacks against United States citizens or interests, Libyans, and others," Trump said in his statement.
In a statement released by the Justice Department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised that al-Imam "will face justice in federal court for his role in the attack." Sessions said, "We will never forget those we lost -- Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Ambassador Christopher Stevens -- four brave Americans who gave their lives in service to our nation. We owe it to them and their families to bring their murderers to justice."
Al-Imam is the second suspect in the Benghazi disaster who has been taken into custody so far. The alleged leader of the attack -- Ahmed Abu Khatallah -- is currently on trial in Washington. Abu Khatallah faces 18 charges for the September 11, 2012, attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Libya. The charges include the murder of an internationally protected person, providing material support to terrorists, and destroying US property while causing death.
In what military observers said was a well-planned and well-executed attack, terrorists armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades first blasted into the main diplomatic mission before setting it ablaze. Ambassador Stevens and State Department information officer Sean Smith died there. A coordinated mortar assault on a nearby annex killed Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, both CIA contractors and former US Navy SEALs.
Earlier this month, federal prosecutor told federal jurors in the Abu Khatallah case, "Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens choked to death by thick black smoke. Sean Smith choked to death by thick black smoke. Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were 'blown apart by mortar fire."
President Trump’s statement on the Apprehension of Mustafa al-Imam for His Alleged Role in the September 11, 2012 Attacks in Benghazi, Libya Resulting in the Deaths of Four Americans
Yesterday, on my orders, United States forces captured Mustafa al-Imam in Libya. Because of this successful operation, al-Imam will face justice in the United States for his alleged role in the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi, which resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, and Tyrone Woods—four brave Americans who were serving our country.
To the families of these fallen heroes: I want you to know that your loved ones are not forgotten, and they will never be forgotten.
Our memory is deep and our reach is long, and we will not rest in our efforts to find and bring the perpetrators of the heinous attacks in Benghazi to justice.
I want to thank our law enforcement, prosecutors, intelligence community, and military personnel for their extraordinary efforts in gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and tracking down fugitives associated with the attack, capturing them, and delivering them to the United States for prosecution.
The United States will continue to support our Libyan partners to ensure that ISIS and other terrorist groups do not use Libya as a safe haven for attacks against United States citizens or interests, Libyans, and others.
Libya’s long-term stability and security are linked to its ability to form a unified government and military, and we encourage all Libyans to support the ongoing reconciliation process facilitated by the United Nations and to work together to build a peaceful and stable country.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions released the following statement regarding the arrest of Mustafa al-Imam for his role in the September 2012 attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya:
“The murder of four Americans in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 was a barbaric crime that shocked the American people. We will never forget those we lost – Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Ambassador Christopher Stevens – four brave Americans who gave their lives in service to our nation. We owe it to them and their families to bring their murderers to justice. Today the Department of Justice announces a major step forward in our ongoing investigation as Mustafa al-Imam is now in custody and will face justice in federal court for his role in the attack. I am grateful to the FBI, our partners in the intelligence community, and the Department of Defense who made this apprehension possible. The United States will continue to investigate and identify all those who were involved in the attack – and we will hold them accountable for their crimes.”