Suspect in Libya may have played Benghazi role, congressman says
March 17th, 2013
05:19 PM ET

Suspect in Libya may have played Benghazi role, congressman says

By CNN Staff

The United States has "pretty good indications" that a man now held in Libya may have been involved in the deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNN last week that the FBI had been able to question a man identified by sources as Faraj al-Shibli. But it was still not clear what role, if any, al-Shibli may have played in the September 11 attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. A source briefed by Western intelligence officials said al-Shibli had recently returned to Libya from Pakistan.

"We're not sure yet," U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, told CNN's State of the Union. But. Rogers added, "we have pretty good indications that he is, at least, highly suspected of being involved."

Al-Shibli - whose name also has been spelled "Chalabi" - is the only known suspect in custody in connection with the Benghazi attack. A 26-year-old Tunisian, Ali Ani al Harzi, was held in Tunis for several weeks in connection with the assault on the compound after being extradited from Turkey but was released by a judge in January because of insufficient evidence.

The U.S. official said it was "advantageous" that al-Shibli was in Libyan custody, but there is not enough evidence to make an arrest at this point. Rogers told State of the Union that arresting al-Shibli could make it harder to question him.

"The problem with criminalizing this is that it lengthens the process. It slows everything down, and the key to these things is getting information soon," he said.

But the Intelligence Committee's ranking Democrat, Maryland Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, said other jihadists charged with crimes in U.S. courts had continued cooperating even after being read their rights.

"We, as a nation, are the strongest country in the world," he told CNN. "And we need to show that we can try people and convict people in our country and protect witnesses and everything else. So, there are a lot of issues here, but it's got to depend on a case-by-case basis."

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Filed under: Benghazi • Libya • Rep. Mike Rogers
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. bobcat (in a hat)©

    Q: A Pakistani, a Yemeni, and a Somalian were taking a ride in a car in New York. Who was driving?
    A: A cop.

    March 18, 2013 at 11:10 pm | Reply
  2. saywhat

    @chrissy and banasy - But, but, but... Osama was not killed in Pakistan.... Americans are spreading rumors that he was killed in Pakistan.

    March 18, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Reply
    • chrissy

      @saywhat - Well said.

      March 18, 2013 at 10:49 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      @saywhat - You nailed it.

      March 18, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Reply
    • bobcat (in a hat)©

      I completely agree with "saywhat". Pakistan gives 100% safety guarantee to terrorists. Americans are ruining Pakistan's reputation.

      March 18, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Reply
    • saywhat

      I also agree with myself - I am so smart. And I am an Islamist too.

      March 18, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Reply
    • krm10007

      Thank you, thank you, thank you, Pakistan. Pakistan trained Al-Shibli. May Allah bless Al-Shibli and Malala and Osama bin Laden. Good bless Pakistan. Go Pakistan. Pakistan will rise and train more terrorists. God speed.

      March 18, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      @saywhat – You hit the nail on the head. Only Pakistan could have trained Al-Shibli so well. Al-Shibli did not complete his training and was caught. But that was his fault. So, Pakistan will not refund his terrorist training fee.

      March 18, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Reply
      • Lindsey Graham

        @saywhat – Those right wing thugs in Washington have nothing better to do than catching this Pakistan trained terrorist.

        March 18, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
      • chrissy

        But think I go to the same mosque where this terrorist Al-Shibli was trained. g'night.

        March 18, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
      • banasy©

        @chrissy – well said. Pakistanis are especially proud when terrorists attend their mosque and receive training.

        March 18, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
  3. chrissy

    Hi banasy - I think this guy went to my mosque in Pakistan. I am an Islamist.

    March 18, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      hi chrissy - Are you sure? I am an Islamist too. My mosque is bigger. This Al-Shibli may have gone to my mosque for all you know...

      March 18, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Reply
  4. Elliott

    This is terrorism, not a bank robbery. Interrogate first using whatever means necessary. Ultimately many civilian lives will be saved.

    March 17, 2013 at 11:32 pm | Reply
  5. George Patton

    "al-Shibli had recently returned to Libya from Pakistan"

    Cut off the head of the snake, Pakistan.

    March 17, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Reply

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