Remembering Benghazi: The Time to Act is Now

We should never forget 9/11 and Benghazi; the best way to remember our fallen is to act. For 9/11, the time has come to put Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM) on trial and sentence him for his crimes. For Benghazi, the time has come to go after the actual terrorists who carried out the attacks in the same way we went after KSM back in 2003. Al-Qa’ida was our enemy 21 years ago, it was our enemy ten years ago, and we can’t forget that it’s still our enemy today. To keep al-Qa’ida on the run, we must take it to them.

A Three-Pronged Strategy is the Best Way Forward to go After the Benghazi Attackers.

First, request the extradition of Benghazi attackers currently apprehended in Libya to stand trial in the U.S. for their crimes against Americans. Or at least, request access to debrief the terrorists currently detained to identify additional attackers to bring to justice.

While a number are already in custody, the top five of the highest priority due to the propensity of the Government of Libya to release al-Qa’ida and affiliated terrorists include:


  1. Amin Kelfa, with full name Amin Ali Meloud Kelfa, a member of al-Qa’ida and prior member of Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade (ASMB)

2. Ahmed al-Mushaiti, with full name Ahmed Hassan al-Sharif Mohammed al-Mushaiti a member of the Islamic State (ISIS) and previously Ansar al-Sharia-Benghazi


3. Abdel-Qader Azzouz with full name Abdel-Qader Abdel-Salam Abdel-Qader Azzouz one of the co-founders of ASMB, and the brother of two Benghazi attackers to include now-deceased al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) member Jaafar Azzouz



4. Abdullah Bouzkia, with full name Abdullah Mohamed Mohamed Bouzkia who was formerly a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), the group former al-Qa’ida Leader Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri use to lead. Zawahiri directed the attack on the U.S. Consulate on September 11, 2012, and requested the assistance of a number of his historic associates to carry out the attacks.


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The last terrorist to note is imprisoned by the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by General Khalifa Haftar. While the LNA does not release terrorists in its custody, the Benghazi attacker being freed is still a risk, as he’s a top target for regional terrorists attempting a prison break.


  1. Al-Qa’ida member Marei Zoghbi with true name Marei Abdel-Fattah Khalil, previously of the Milan Cell.


Second, the US and our international partners should attempt to capture, detain or gain lethal authority against terrorists still at large. Many of these terrorists have continued their terrorist exploits and now operate out of Libya’s capital in the city of Tripoli, such as al-Qa’ida member Ziad Balaam with the full name of Farid Mohammad Mohammad Balaam.


Third, we must deny safe havens and freedom of movement and travel to active terrorists from the 2012 Benghazi attacks by watchlisting them and offering large financial bounties to encourage the public to report whereabouts and activities. Essential tools include the FBI Most Wanted list, which currently includes none of the 150 Benghazi attackers; the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program, which also includes no terrorists from the attacks; the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) NO FLY list; and Interpol’s Red Notice program.


It has been a decade of no action, and it’s time to deploy an effective strategy against the Benghazi attackers. We will continue to remember those lost in the 9/11 attacks and first responders lost due to the subsequent response, as well as Ambassador Chris Stevens, State Officer Sean Smith, and CIA Officers Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. The best way to honor them is to bring the terrorists responsible to justice. Implementing this strategy will acquire collective efforts from within our military and intelligence communities and an outpouring of public support.

Sarah Adams is a global threat intelligence expert, having served in the Intelligence Community, Congress, the aviation industry, and the non-profit sector. She has worked overseas on behalf of the U.S. Government’s intelligence mission in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.