Charges filed in Benghazi attacks
The Justice Department has filed the first criminal charges in the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, two U.S. officials said Tuesday.
The officials confirmed that a sealed indictment was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington against an unspecified number of individuals in the September 2012 attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. One official said those charged included Ahmed Abu Khattala, the head of a Libyan militia. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss a sealed indictment.
Earlier, CNN, NBC News and The Wall Street Journal reported that unspecified counts had been filed and sealed in the Benghazi attack.
“The department’s investigation is ongoing. It has been, and remains, a top priority,” said Justice Department spokesman Andrew C. Ames, who declined to comment further.
A key Republican urged the administration to do more than file charges.
US senators urge release of Islamists
Two U.S. Senators came to Egypt Tuesday with a message for the country’s new military-backed leaders: Release Islamist figures as a gesture to the Muslim Brotherhood or risk making “a huge mistake.”
The message from Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham met with a sharp response, denounced by interim President Adly Mansour in a brief statement as “unacceptable interference in internal politics.”
The new leadership, emboldened by mass demonstrations of support, showed no sign of willingness to release Muslim Brotherhood figures whom McCain called “political prisoners” and whom the government plans to prosecute for allegedly inciting violence.
As the senators made their rounds, authorities announced that two Morsi aides would be jailed and face charges of inciting violence in December when Muslim Brotherhood members attacked a sit-in by protesters outside Morsi’s office that sparked clashes, killing 10 people.
At stake is stability in the Arab world’s most populous country. The new leadership is facing international calls to ease its crackdown on Morsi’s group while also dealing with calls by millions of Egyptians to clear Brotherhood-led sit-ins in two major intersections of the capital. Some 250 people have been killed in various clashes since Morsi’s ouster.
Link between combat duty and suicide questioned
Combat appears to have little or no influence on suicide rates among U.S. troops and veterans, according to a military study that challenges the conventional thinking about war’s effects on the psyche.
Depression and other types of mental illness, alcohol problems and being male — strong risk factors for suicide among civilians — were all linked to self-inflicted deaths among current and former members of the military.
But the researchers found deployment and combat did not raise the risk.
“The findings from this study are not consistent with the assumption that specific deployment-related characteristics, such as length of deployment, number of deployments, or combat experiences, are directly associated” with suicides, the authors wrote.
The results echo smaller studies focusing on a specific branch of the military, but this is the first to look at a sampling from the entire military population, said lead author Cynthia LeardMann, a researcher with the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego.