News / USA

Officials: Benghazi Suspect Has Been Talking to US Interrogators

U.S. Marshalls guard the area outside of the federal U.S. District Court in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2014, in anticipation of a court appearance by captured Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala
U.S. Marshalls guard the area outside of the federal U.S. District Court in Washington Saturday, June 28, 2014, in anticipation of a court appearance by captured Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khattala
Reuters

A Libyan militant accused of involvement in the 2012 attacks on U.S. government installations in Benghazi, Libya, has been talking to U.S. interrogators, U.S. officials familiar with the matter said.

Ahmed Abu Khatalla, captured in Libya on June 15 by a U.S. military and FBI team, has been interrogated both before and after he was advised of his rights under U.S. law to remain silent, they said.

Tweet by @MaryFitzger of Benghazi attack suspect Abu Ahmed Khattala's photoTweet by @MaryFitzger of Benghazi attack suspect Abu Ahmed Khattala's photo
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Tweet by @MaryFitzger of Benghazi attack suspect Abu Ahmed Khattala's photo
Tweet by @MaryFitzger of Benghazi attack suspect Abu Ahmed Khattala's photo

Abu Khatalla was transferred over the weekend to a federal prison in Alexandria, Virginia, from the U.S. Navy ship where he had been held since his capture, the officials said.

While aboard the USS New York, Abu Khatalla was interrogated first by a team of elite counterterrorism experts, known as the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG), without being read his "Miranda Rights", a procedure in U.S. criminal cases under which a suspect is advised that he has the
right to remain silent and to consult a lawyer.

He was later advised of his rights, the officials said. On Saturday, he was brought into federal court in Washington, where he pleaded not guilty to a terrorism conspiracy charge related to the Benghazi attack.

One of the officials familiar with the case said U.S. authorities believed Abu Khatalla led the attack. Another official said he was "not the only ringleader."

Evidence linking Abu Khatalla to the attack includes video images, two officials said.

Abu Khatalla, in media interviews before his arrest, denied involvement in the Benghazi attacks.

This artist's rendering shows United States Magistrate, Judge John Facciola, swearing in Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khatallah, as his attorney looks on during a hearing at the federal U.S. District Court.This artist's rendering shows United States Magistrate, Judge John Facciola, swearing in Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khatallah, as his attorney looks on during a hearing at the federal U.S. District Court.
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This artist's rendering shows United States Magistrate, Judge John Facciola, swearing in Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khatallah, as his attorney looks on during a hearing at the federal U.S. District Court.
This artist's rendering shows United States Magistrate, Judge John Facciola, swearing in Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khatallah, as his attorney looks on during a hearing at the federal U.S. District Court.

​The United States has not arrested any other suspects in the attack on a U.S. consular compound and CIA base in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. Four Americans, including Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, were killed in the attack.


A spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service declined to discuss where Abu Khatalla was being held, saying it was the agency's policy not to discuss the locations of high-profile prisoners.

However, other sources said that he was being held in Alexandria in the same prison where Zacharias Moussaoui, a French citizen linked to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, was held during proceedings against him at a nearby federal courthouse.

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