The mother of a Massachusetts native who died during an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in 2012 said the capture of the suspected leader of the assault offers no relief for a grieving family.
“There’s no such thing as closure when you’ve lost a child, as far as I’m concerned,” Barbara Doherty said in a phone interview Tuesday. “The pain is always there.”
Pentagon officials said military personnel over the weekend captured Ahmed Abu Khattala in a secret operation. US defense officials called him a “key figure” in the attack that killed Doherty’s son, Glen, 42, a Winchester native. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and two other Americans also died in the Sept. 11, 2012, strike on the consulate in the Libyan city.
Representatives from the FBI and the CIA called Barbara Doherty on Tuesday morning, she said.
“We knew that they were trying to find out where this person was, and it takes a long time to do that,” Doherty said. “And we knew that they were still working on it, but there weren’t a lot of phone calls because there was really very little to say.”
The news was not a shock, Doherty said, because she has confidence that the people responsible for her son’s death will be apprehended.
Kate Quigley, Glen Doherty’s sister, said in a statement that she was happy to hear Abu Khattala had been captured.
“Glen Doherty was an amazing brother and friend to so many, and anyone responsible for taking him from us does not deserve any freedoms,” Quigley said. “We are grateful to those who did not forget the victims and captured this individual, and hope all those involved will ultimately be brought to justice.”
Doherty was working as a security contractor at the time of the Benghazi attack. His family described him after his death as a former Navy SEAL and risk-taker who was passionate about his work.
A bipartisan bill to award Doherty the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the nation’s highest civilian honors, is making its way through Congress, a spokeswoman for Senator Edward J. Markey’s office said Tuesday.
Doherty’s mother said her conversations with the FBI and CIA officials were brief. They did not tell her where Abu Khattala was being taken. Since her son’s death, she said, she has had “good moments and bad.”
Doherty’s family and friends have set up a foundation in his name, which seeks to support special operations soldiers and their families through scholarships, subsidies, and other gifts.Zachary T. Sampson can be reached at zachary.sampson @globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @ZackSampson.