House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is urging the Obama administration to apprehend those suspected in the Benghazi, Libya attack last year as quickly as possible to avoid the risk of "further and needless" loss of American lives.
"If our government knows who perpetrated the attack that killed four Americans, it is critical that they be questioned and placed in custody of U.S. officials without delay," the California Republican said in a statement Tuesday following the disclosure that sealed criminal charges had been filed against several suspects, including Libyan militia leader Ahmed Abu Khattalah.
"Delays in apprehending the suspected Benghazi killers will only put American lives at further and needless risk," he added.
The Justice Department and the White House have declined to comment
on the charges, reports Fox News, other than to say that the investigation is "ongoing" into the attack that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.
Khattalah has acknowledged in interviews with CNN and Fox News that he was there on the night of Sept. 11, 2012 when the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi took place, although he denies being a "ringleader." At the same time, he told his interviewers in October of last year that he was living openly in Benghazi and had not been contacted by or detained by U.S. officials.
According to CBS News
, Khattalah is still in Benghazi and has not tried to hide his whereabouts.
Pressure on the administration to present a case against the suspected attackers has been mounting as the anniversary of the attacks nears. Last week, a group of Senate and House members sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey expressing dismay with what they called the slow pace of the investigation.
"Rumors continue to swirl about the whereabouts of suspects involved in the attack. The FBI continues to add pictures of potential assailants to its website and asks the Libyan people to assist with identifying the alleged perpetrators," the lawmakers wrote.
"We struggle to understand why we don’t know more about those who attacked two U.S. compounds and murdered four brave Americans."
Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who helped write the letter, told Fox News that he expects the FBI to direct as much energy to tracking down the Benghazi suspects as they have in investigating the Boston Marathon bombings.
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