Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

What's next for Benghazi suspect, on ship and beyond?

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military got its man and has handed him over to the Justice Department. What's next for Ahmed Abu Khattala, the Libyan militant accused of being a mastermind of the 2012 Benghazi attacks?

Where is Abu Khattala and what's happening to him?

He's aboard the USS New York, a Navy amphibious transport dock ship that is moving westward from the Mediterranean Sea in the direction of the United States, according to a U.S. official. He's expected to arrive in the United States "in the coming days," according to the National Security Council. Obama administration officials have refused to publicly discuss whether Abu Khattala is being questioned en route. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday that Abu Khattala already was being interrogated.

What are the ground rules for questioning him?

In three similar past cases, the Obama administration used a team made up of FBI, CIA and Defense Department personnel known as the High Value Interrogation Group. The group is bound by the rules of the Army Field Manual, which requires that prisoners be treated humanely.

What kind of information are investigators looking to get from Abu Khattala?

They'll no doubt press for information about the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya. They'll also want to know about any of his militant associates in Libya.

Has Abu Khattala been told about his Miranda rights to remain silent and avoid self-incrimination?

The Justice Department isn't saying. But there is a provision that allows for questioning suspects before they are advised of their rights when public safety may be threatened. Federal agents routinely try to glean as much immediate information as possible from a suspect in custody.

What are the ground rules for using information obtained from a suspect who hasn't been read his rights?

Information collected from the High Value Interrogation Group's actions can't typically be used against a suspect in court. If the past is any guide, Abu Khatalla will be grilled by intelligence interrogators until they think they have gotten what they can, or until they conclude he won't cooperate. Then he'll be read his rights and a separate FBI "clean team" will question him. Anything those FBI questioners learn could be used in court.

What are the charges against Abu Khattala?

So far, he faces three criminal counts: Killing a person in an attack on a federal facility and conspiring to do so; providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists that resulted in death; and discharging, brandishing, using, carrying and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.

Who's going to handle the prosecution of Abu Khattala?

A. The office of U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. in Washington is overseeing the matter and would prosecute any criminal case. Machen's office began working on the case "almost immediately after the attack, at the earliest stages," said William Miller, a spokesman for Machen.

Where will Khattala be locked up and where would he be tried?

No plans have been announced, but there are many secure prison facilities — military and civilian — where he could be housed. The courthouse where Khattala would be tried in downtown Washington at the foot of Capitol Hill has a high-security courtroom. Meanwhile, the Libyan government denied it had prior knowledge of the U.S. capture of Abu Khattala and demanded his return.

Are there other Benghazi suspects still at large?

Yes. Holder says investigators continue to work on identifying and arresting co-conspirators.

What's the likely political fallout from this arrest?

Republicans have spent the past two years pounding the Obama administration for failing to adequately protect the four Americans who were killed in Libya, and for mishandling the aftermath of the attack. That's unlikely to stop because of one arrest in the case, especially since the attacks occurred on the watch of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who's now a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

What's next for Benghazi suspect, on ship and beyond? 06/18/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 10:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Blogs

    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102