Tags: Benghazi Scandal | ISIS/Islamic State | Grassley | benghazi | letter | isis | Al Harzi

Sen. Grassley Blasts FBI for Freeing Benghazi Attacker, ISIS Agent

Image: Sen. Grassley Blasts FBI for Freeing Benghazi Attacker, ISIS Agent
(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

By    |   Friday, 17 Jul 2015 09:13 AM

The FBI has mismanaged the case of an Islamic State militant who had links to the Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four Americans on Sept. 11, 2012, said Sen. Chuck Grassley.

Ali Awni al Harzi, a Tunisian recruiter and arms trafficker for ISIS, was captured by authorities after posting messages on social media following the Benghazi attack. The FBI interviewed him for three hours before passing him to Tunisian authorities, who released him in January 2013. He then rejoined the militant group to fight in Iraq.

Al Harzi was killed in an airstrike in Mosul, Iraq, on June 15, 2015.

In a letter to FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee blasted the administration for allowing his release. U.S. officials have said they have video footage of al Harzi at the attack on the consulate and made him a "person of interest."

"Although al Harzi was on our radar in 2012 for his terrorist activities, he somehow slipped out of our government's reach, only to continue his terrorist career for years," Grassley wrote. "This raises important questions about the Obama administration's policies and procedures related to apprehension, interrogation, and detention of terrorists and the roles of the Justice Department and the FBI."

According to Grassley's letter, sent earlier this month, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told lawmakers in congressional testimony that she was "assured that [al Harzi] is under the monitoring of the court" after his release by a Tunisian judge.

Grassley requested to know why the FBI and Justice Department did not extradite al Harzi to the United States, and why classified information was not used in a criminal case against him. He also wanted to know whether officials had ever considered a military operation to locate and capture him.

Meanwhile, the House Select Committee on Benghazi is trying to gather all government records pertaining to the attack before it issues a final report.

Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, a member of the committee, said the State Department's response to the records requests has been "pathetic," The Washington Free Beacon reported.

According to Politico, some emails between Clinton and her top aides have been withheld from the committee due to "deliberative process privilege." 

"We're not going to have a complete record," Jordan said, according to the Free Beacon. "We're just going to have to do the best we can, and try to get the information for the American people and also, importantly, for the families of those four individuals" who were killed.

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The FBI has mismanaged the case of an Islamic State militant who had links to the Benghazi terrorist attack which killed four Americans on Sept. 11, 2012, said Sen. Chuck Grassley.
Grassley, benghazi, letter, isis, Al Harzi, fbi
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2015-13-17
Friday, 17 Jul 2015 09:13 AM
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