By Justin Sink - 06/17/14 02:21 PM EDT
The capture of one of the alleged masterminds of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi will "send a message to the world," President Obama said Tuesday.
"When Americans are attacked, no matter how long it takes, we will find those responsible, and we will bring them to justice," Obama said. "And that's a message I sent the day after it happened, and regardless of how long it takes: we will find you."
"I want to make sure that everybody around the world hears that message very clearly," he said.
The president applauded the "courage and precision" of the special forces who captured Ahmed Abu Khattala during a covert mission in Libya.
He also said Khattala was currently being transported back to the United States.
Khattala was among at least a dozen other suspects charged last year for their involvement in the Sept. 11, 2012 attack, which left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
"There are a lot of dangers out there and a lot of challenges, and our diplomats serve with incredible courage and valor in some very difficult situations," Obama said. "They need to know that this country has their back and will always go after anybody who goes after us."
The Pentagon said Tuesday that Khattala was taken without any civilian or U.S. casualties, and that the special forces involved in the raid had safely departed Libya.
Obama did not give any hint as to how Khattala would be handled upon his arrival in the U.S.
Some Republicans, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), have suggested he should be sent to the Guantanamo Bay prison. Others appeared to suggest he should not be afforded a Miranda warning before being questioned.
“I look forward to hearing more details regarding the raid, and I expect the administration to give our military professionals time to properly gather any useful intelligence he has,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said.