A Libyan militant who was involved in the 2012 Benghazi attack that killed four Americans was convicted of terrorism charges on Tuesday, but the jury found him not guilty in other serious charges, including murder.
The real crime here is that Khattala was allowed to be tried in a United States’ court of law and given due process, according to Kris “Tanto” Paronto, one of the heroes and survivors of Benghazi, where he was part of the CIA security team there.
He and Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill, who fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, tweeted back and forth on Tuesday night about how a terrorist “animal” was given due process – and look at the outcome.
Ahmed Abu Khattala, 46, was found not guilty of murder in the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound that killed four Americans. The 2012 attacks killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens; U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith; and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, both former Navy SEALs.
Khattala was this week convicted of conspiracy to provide material support for terrorism and faces up to 60 years in prison. The jury acquitted him of 14 of the 18 charges he faced after the jury deliberated for five days following a trial that lasted several weeks.
Paronto told American Military News on Wednesday that Khattala should have been treated like the terrorist that he is, and that the only reason he wasn’t is because the past Obama Administration and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton needed a publicity stunt to cover up their mistakes.
“You can’t treat terrorists like that. They commit murder and mass atrocities,” Paronto said, adding that giving a terrorist a trial only “shows weakness to the terrorists.”
Paronto on Tuesday exchanged tweets with O’Neill.
“The mastermind of the Benghazi terror attack was just acquitted,” O’Neill wrote. “This is what happens when you give due process, reserved for citizens, to animals.” He tagged Paronto in the post.
Paronto tweeted back: “Correct brother… the only due process any piece of sh*t terrorist deserves is his right to have 5.56 or 7.62… I’m surprised [Barack Obama] and [Hillary Clinton] did [not] require you to Mirandize UBL before putting a bullet in him.”
To which O’Neill replied, “Well said.”
“Did you go get Osama bin Laden and Mirandize him,” Paronto proposed when speaking to American Military News. “No. They killed him because politically, it looked good.”
“If Bin Laden was involved in Benghazi, they would have apprehended him,” Paronto added.
Instead, they gave a terrorist a trial – the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton framed a narrative for good publicity, he said.
Paronto has said the trial of Khattala was a “clown show” and “side show for publicity,” which is why he did not testify. And, Paronto pointed out, Khattala could now be let out of prison if he comes up for parole.
Paronto is one of the survivors and heroes of the 2012 terror attacks on the U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, where he was part of the CIA security team there. He fought off terrorists for more than 13 hours and saved more than 20 lives. His account of the attack is told in the book “13 Hours,” and he has also penned the book “The Ranger Way.” He is a former U.S. Army Ranger from the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.
Through his experience fighting terrorists – and also dealing with politicians – Paronto says “you have to do the hard things” when dealing with terrorists.
“If you snatch them up, you interrogate them and you throw them in Gitmo [Guantanamo Bay prison] forever. Or you just eliminate them,” he said.
“Terrorists are bad people,” Paronto continued. “The only way you can stop terrorists is you have to condemn terrorism vigorously.”
“You cannot reason with terrorists,” he added. “We are good people, and this is the greatest country in the world. But they’ve figured it out. They know we might show empathy. This is unconventional warfare, and they use it against us.”
On Sept. 11, 2012, at around 9:40 p.m. local time, a large number of armed men attacked the government compound in Benghazi. Stevens and Smith died from smoke inhalation, while Woods and Doherty were killed by two separate mortar rounds that hit their position at the CIA annex.
The Benghazi attack was initially thought to be a response from an angry mob in retaliation of a recently released anti-Muslim video titled “Innocence of Muslims.” However, it was later deemed to be a terrorist attack.
The 800-page report revealed that in the months leading up to the attack, there was worsening security in Libya, poor bureaucratic leadership and inadequate resources. The report showed Clinton and the State Department’s inadequacy to protect the Libyan diplomatic outpost. The report also revealed that the CIA missed the threat and wrote faulty intelligence after the attack.
Clinton told a U.S. House committee that she was aware of the dangers in Libya but “there was no actionable intelligence” indicating a planned terrorist attack. The report showed that intelligence was available, but Clinton and her top aide, Patrick Kennedy, failed to realize the risk of a potential attack.
The 800 page report took more than 2 years to investigate and complete.