Five Benghazi Suspects Identified - So What Next?

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U.S. Intelligence officials are electronically monitoring five men suspected in last year's attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

The men were identified through intelligence contacts in Libya and by FBI-monitored communications.

They are thought to be members of Ansar al-Shariah, the militia group seen near the diplomatic facility prior to the violence that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans just weeks before Barack Obama's re-election.

But despite the fact that the White House believes there is enough proof for military force to detain the men as enemy combatants, Washington says it wants more evidence to try the men in a U.S. civilian court.

That would require suspects to either be apprehended and tried by the countries where they are living or require the cooperation of the host country to aid with an American arrest and for that same country to allow the suspects be tried in the U.S. criminal justice system.

Critics believe the move displays a desire by the Obama administration to move away from pursuing terrorists to keeping peace among post-Arab Spring governments. They worry that by treating terrorist activity as criminal actions versus acts of war, it puts restraints on America and jeopardizes the country's safety.

The U.S. reportedly has prepared for raids to grab the Benghazi suspects for interrogation in case the administration changes its mind. Such raids could be legally justified under a U.S. law passed just after the 9/11 terror attacks that authorizes the use of military force against al Qaeda and has been expanded to include groups working with al Qaeda.
 
In the event of military seizure, the White House would most likely not detain suspects at Guantanamo Bay because of Obama's desire to close down the facility.

"Just as the administration is trying to find the exit ramp for Guantanamo is not the time to be adding to it," said Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor for Guantanamo.

 

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