Once more living up to their promise to deliver a “fair and balanced” news report, Fox News correspondent Adam Housley told Martha McCallum on America’s Newsroom Friday that the capture of Ahmed Abu Khattala “wasn’t that big of a deal at all.”
Khattala, a militia leader, was identified by witnesses on the scene the night of the attack on the Benghazi consulate as the man who appeared to be directing some of the attackers . His militia is also known to have taken part in the attack. When he was arrested on June 17, Fox reported that Khattala was a key figure and that his capture was an important milestone in bringing to justice those who were responsible for the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three others.
Now, however, Housley is downplaying Kattala’s importance, claiming that unnamed “sources” say that he’s really only small potatoes. He further claims that the administration has exaggerated his role in the events of September 11, 2012.
“We talked to those who have direct knowledge of this ongoing investigation from the very early days and they’ll tell you that Khattala wasn’t that big of a deal at all, in fact, they’ll tell you that 21 months after this attack that killed Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans if Khattala is the only one they have it’s a loss for the United States.”
Going on, Housley asserted that very little has been done to locate and capture those responsible, and insists that his unnamed “sources” know of “actionable intelligence” that has been held or ignored in order to avoid going after the really big catches in the attack on the consulate.
Still refusing to name his “sources,” Housley quotes one, whom he says told him:
“He was low hanging fruit. We could have picked him up months and months ago and there was no change, or urgency to do this now.”
Defending his “sources,” Housley said that these are people who “really don’t get political,” and that they have told him that the arrest of Khattala “smells of politics.”
McCallum, going along with the theme for the day, asserted that Khattala could have easily been picked up long ago and wondered who the “real” big fish are since it is obvious now that it is not Khattala and asked why we haven’t brought them in yet.
“I haven’t met one person, Martha, involved in this investigation who will say that Khattala was the big fish,” Housley replied. “They’ll tell you that he was involved, he knew different people, he was connected, they believe, to al Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia. Both groups took part in the attack, but they will never say Khattala was the mastermind.”
Housley’s new take on the capture of Khattala stands in stark contrast to speculation at Fox less than two weeks ago when the network was suggesting that the timing of the capture of a man they called at the time as a “key” player in the attack was designed to benefit the President and Hillary Clinton, at that time they named him as a “senior leader of the terror group Ansar al-Sharia.”