Benghazi suspect pleads not guilty before judge

Libyan militant accused of masterminding deadly Benghazi attacks
Associated Press
Jun 29, 2014

 

The Libyan militant accused of masterminding the deadly Benghazi attacks that have become a flashpoint in U.S. politics appeared briefly for the first time in an American courtroom, pleading not guilty Saturday to a terrorism-related charge nearly two weeks after he was captured by special forces.

In a 10-minute hearing held amid tight security, Ahmed Abu Khattala spoke just two words, both in Arabic. He replied "yes" when asked to swear to tell the truth and "no" when asked if he was having trouble understanding the proceeding.

Abu Khattala becomes the most recent foreign terror suspect to be prosecuted in American courts, a forum the Obama administration contends is both fairer and more efficient than the military tribunal process used at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The case is being tried in Washington despite concerns from Republicans in Congress who say he should not be entitled to the protections of the U.S. legal system.

A grand jury indictment handed up under seal Thursday and made public Saturday said Abu Khattala participated in a conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2012, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

That crime is punishable by up to life in prison. The government said it soon would file more charges against Abu Khattala.

During his initial court appearance, the defendant listened via headphones to a translation of the proceedings. He wore a two-piece black track suit, had a beard and long curly hair, both mostly gray, and kept his hands, which were not handcuffed, behind his back.

He looked impassively at U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola for most of the hearing. Abu Khattala's court-appointed lawyer, Michelle Peterson, entered the not guilty plea. Facciola ordered the defendant's continued detention, but the judge did not say where Abu Khattala would be held.

The U.S. Marshals Service said it had taken custody of Abu Khattalah, who now was confined to a detention facility in the capital region, ending a harried day for the Libyan.

U.S. special forces captured Abu Khattala in Libya two weeks ago, marking the first breakthrough in the investigation. Officials had been questioning Abu Khattala aboard a Navy ship that transported him to the United States. He was flown early Saturday by military helicopter from a Navy ship to a National Park Service landing pad in the city's Anacostia neighborhood, according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to discuss the transfer publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

A U.S. official said Abu Khattala had been advised of his Miranda rights at some point during his trip and continued talking after that. The official wasn't authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. The nature of those conversations wasn't immediately clear.

A criminal complaint filed last year and unsealed after Abu Khattala's capture charged him with terror-related crimes, including killing a person during an attack on a federal facility. A new, single-count indictment will likely be superseded by additional charges, prosecutors say.

The violence in Libya on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon quickly became a political controversy at home.

Republicans accused the White House, as the 2012 presidential election neared, of intentionally misleading the public about what prompted the attacks. The White House said Republicans were politicizing a national tragedy.

Abu Khattala was a prominent figure in Benghazi's circles of extremists. He was popular among young radicals and lived openly in the eastern Libyan city, spotted at cafes and other public places, even after the Obama administration publicly named him as a suspect.

He is accused of being a member of the Ansar al-Shariah group, the powerful Islamic militia that the U.S. believes was behind the attack.

He acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press in January that he was present during the storming of the U.S. mission in Benghazi. But he denied involvement in the attack, saying he was trying to organize a rescue of trapped people.

In the attack, gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades and stormed the mission, with many waving the black banners of Ansar al-Shariah.

The compound's main building was set ablaze. Stevens suffocated inside and another American was shot dead.

At the time, several witnesses said they saw Abu Khattala directing fighters at the site.

Later in the evening, gunmen attacked and shelled a safe house, killing two more Americans. No evidence has emerged that Abu Khattala was involved in the later attack.

Abu Khattala is one of just a few cases in which the administration has captured a suspected terrorist overseas and interrogated him for intelligence purposes before bringing him to federal court to face charges.

Comments

Contango

Ahmed Abu Khattala:

In my defense, it was as your always truthful and honorable president said; it was that blasphemous video that incensed me!

The Big Dog's back

Looks like you pooh after a Kesslers binge.

Contango

Re: "Looks like you (snip)"

Follow the advice of your fellow blog idiot:

“You shouldn't waste your free speech on stupid comments!”

- deertracker, 5/28/14

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

The only thing dumber than Obama is the people who voted for him. With their mediocre minds, If it wasn't for talking points and stupid comments, they would have nothing at all to say…

deertracker

ROFLMFAO @ BD!

Contango

^^^ “Another insightful comment by bonehead.” - the Big Dog’s back, 6/5/13 :-7

jazzbo

One difference is- Contango has a class 7 balding pattern.

Darwin's choice

Here's something for you obamabots to get your panties in a bunch over...

July 10, 2014 may be a historic day...

"Lerner, Holder, Obama: Are You Packing Your Bags?

By Sidney Powell | 06/27/14 8:44pm
Former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner takes the Fifth before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, March 5, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner takes the Fifth before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, March 5, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Americans are appalled over the false testimony of four consecutive IRS Commissioners, Lois Lerner’s countless acts of malfeasance, and the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups and specific individuals, among them Senator Grassley. The ultimate outrage came over the lame, intellectually insulting assertions that all of the most relevant emails have gone missing from multiple IRS computers at the same time.

Today, Judicial Watch found a federal judge who has the integrity and fortitude to seek Justice—and this isn’t his first whack at the Department of Justice either. Enter Emmet G. Sullivan, United States District Judge for the District of Columbia. Mark July 10 in RED on your calendars.

Now, “Internal Revenue Service officials will have to explain to a federal judge July 10 why the tax agency didn’t inform the court that Lois Lerner’s emails had been lost,” the Washington Examiner reports.

Earlier today, attorneys for Judicial Watch sought a courtroom status conference “as soon as possible to discuss the IRS’s failure to fulfill its duties to this court under the law, as well as other ramifications of this lawsuit.” It took Judge Sullivan just a few hours to grant the hearing.

Now the IRS will have to talk to Judge Sullivan about all this—and he has the power to do something about it.

Judge Sullivan is the judge who held federal prosecutors in contempt, dismissed an unjust indictment against a United States Senator, and publicly excoriated the Department of Justice. He also had the moral conviction, courage and gumption to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Justice Department and the individual prosecutors.

The IRS, the White House, and the DOJ have a lot of explaining to do (and some emails to locate). The Washington Examiner reports that “No mention was made in that production of the lost Lerner emails, even though the original Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit filed in May 2013 specifically sought them. Judicial Watch further noted that ‘although IRS had knowledge of the missing Lois Lerner emails and of the other IRS officials, it materially omitted any mention of the missing records’ in an April 30 status update on its document production.”

http://observer.com/2014/06/brea...

Babo

Thank you for posting this information. The hearing should be interesting. I'm interested in learning how the IRS explains a lack of servers and redundancy in its records systems in addition to why IRS lawyers could lie in discovery in a pending lawsuit.

Also, I've noted that the press now reports any Indictment from a grand jury as being "handed up" to the Court when in reality it is "handed down" to the Court. The grand jury is composed of voting citizens who are superior in our system of government to the government office or agency in this case the US District Court.

This shift in language may appear minor to some but it indicates to me that the government and media now believes the government and its offices to be above the people as opposed to answering to the people.

Contango

Re: "He (Abu Khattala) was present during the storming of the U.S. mission in Benghazi. But he denied involvement in the attack, saying he was trying to organize a rescue of trapped people."

In the words of the supposed 'smartest woman in the world,' Hillary Clinton:

"Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans," "What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?"

If Ms. Clinton decides to run for president, those words will come back to bite her in the tush.

Even at a 30% markdown, "Hard Choices" isn't selling.

deertracker

Doesn't matter. She still got paid for the book!

JudgeMeNot

Rush has two books currently in the top 11 on the NYT best sellers list.

jazzbo

Gotta link to prove it ? I didn't see anything with Rush at #1.
http://www.nytimes.com/best-sell...

Pterocarya frax...

Did you look under psycho-fiction?

jazzbo

...you ain't kidden. That's for sure.

anthras

jazzbo says "Gotta link to prove it ? I didn't see anything with Rush at #1.
http://www.nytimes.com/best-sell....

I do think he alluded to the top 11 not #1. The key is to pay attention. If you do open the list of "Children's middle grade " section you will find him at 5&6. The books did come out in March and both did make it #1 soon after they came out.

In 1992 his book "The Way Things Ought To Be" was #1 for several weeks and in 1993 his book "See I Told You So" Was also at #1 for several weeks.

I did read that due to Clinton's book sales it is in doubt that the publisher will even make enough to cover the advance fee that they did pay her.

The books are on the shelves at places for 40% off of retail price and I really do not think that is good.

jazzbo

"The key is to pay attention."

Hillary's book is #1 in the Non- Fiction .

Rush is #5 in Childrens' Middle Grade.

Contango

Re: "She still got paid for the book!"

She paid off her ghost writer(s). She didn't write it, three time loser, squeaky.

rottnrog

Wow pooh, look what is #1 on the NYT best seller list !!!

Caught ya in another typical right wing wacko lie !!!

LMAO

Contango

From the left wing wacko NY Times:

"Sales of Hillary Clinton’s New Memoir Drop Sharply in 2nd Week"

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/2...

How many copies did you buy Sport?

As one reviewer wrote: The book is meant to bought, not to be read. :)

The Big Dog's back

What difference does it make? They died, we don't want it happening again.

Contango

Re: "we don't want it happening again."

With the stumbling, bumbling Incompetent-in-Chief in charge - it will.

Weallhavevoices

Who is this Rush guy? Is he that comedian I heard about that's on radio spreading propaganda like the enemy's in war ? People actually listen to it? Wow

freespeech1

What I find amusing is that while conservative people give factual statements, all you libs can do is call names and make stupid infantile remarks. So my question to all you libs is, How can they arrest someone for an organized attack, when your liar in chief said it wasn't an organized attack? May the name calling begin.

Dr. Information

Spot on sir. Spot on.

meowmix

Khattala told the newspaper that the attack had grown out of a peaceful protest against a video made in the United States that mocked the Prophet Muhammad and Islam.

The filmmaker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, told FoxNews.com in a series of phone interviews that the "Innocence of Muslims" had been widely misunderstood, and not just in being singled out as causing the Benghazi attack.

Contango

Re: "the attack had grown out of a peaceful protest against a video,"

So in liberal think: He's a victim.

Maybe he should sue the U.S. for false arrest and imprisonment?

meowmix

That is not the point I was making.
My point is that the tea baggers were in such a rush to accuse the POTUS and Hillary being involved in some big cover-up scandal when in actuality, their original statement regarding why the embassy was attacked could very well be the truth--a video pissed the rioters off. Pure and simple.

Contango

Re: "could very well be the truth--a video pissed the rioters off."

Well to a dumbed-downed liberal wouldn't that make him a victim?

deertracker

Mewomix is spot on again. It is looking like the video did have some impact on their actions as originally stated. Pooh, the guy is caught so why are you supporting his alleged criminal behavior? Unbelievable how you go against America every chance you get and when others disagree you try very hard but unsuccessfully to put words in other's mouths just to avoid admitting you were wrong.

LOTS of right wingers were so hell bent on blaming the President and Hillary they failed to hold the attackers responsible. SMDH!

meowmix

Thanks deertracker! Glad to know you could see what my point was. Obviously, Contankerous prefers to sit on his brain.

Contango

Re: "what my point was,"

And if he were a left wing extremist, to you he'd be a victim.

It was the video that made him do it!

THAT'S your "point."

deertracker

@meowmix
What brain???????????????

Contango

Re: "SMDH!"

"D*mn head" is right, three time loser Squeaky.

Ms. Clinton: "What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?"

She obviously doesn't give a sh*t. Great presidential mat'l! lol

Contango

Re: "blaming the President and Hillary"

Were they in charge or not?

Hillary's 3:00 AM call came in and she let voicemail take it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a...

Donegan

http://www.usatoday.com/story/ne...
The CIA disagrees with you.

deertracker

Of course they do but that is what happened.

Donegan

That's funny. All the intelligence says it was a terrorist attack but somehow the president found out it wasn't from the 18th hole of the golf course.
This is the reason why no one listens to you people, your completely delusional. Just because your god says some thing does not mean its true. All politicians lie, Democrats doubly so.

Dr. Information

How old was this video that supposedly caused all of this? Wasn't it like already 2 years old when Benghazi happened? What do they have over in the middle east, turtle dialup?

There are so many videos online making fun of towel heads etc.

This is nothing more than an excuse and I agree with Contango; Liberals will bypass the facts and start to feel sympathy for this guy.

Contango

Re: "video,"

Did you see it? I watched about 5-10 mins. of it.

It was infantile, stupid and poorly done.

IMO, the video is an excuse NOT a reason.

Again: Why did the U.S. have a consulate in Benghazi when the Brits and others had pulled out previously due to the presence of al-Qaeda activity?

Besides, Pres. Obama got the U.S. militarily involved in the Libyan civil war in the first place. Why aren't the left wing extremist blog idiots b*tching about THAT?

We need an independent inquiry - too much politics!

IMO, it has CIA fingerprints all over it and THAT'S why the Obama admin. has to cover it up; to protect the Political Ruling Class.

meowmix

BULL HOCKEY--

Contango

Re: "BULL HOCKEY--"

As a rabid Obama supporter, that's a subject that you're an expert in. :)

You're bud, got the U.S. militarily involved in the Libyan civil war in the first place. He told Congress to shove it. Where's that self-righteous lefty outrage?

deertracker

You are dealing with infantile minds over there. The Libya intervention was ALWAYS a CIA operation. Their goal was regime change and they made it happen.

Contango

Re: "The Libya intervention was ALWAYS a CIA operation,"

Got a link for proof, or just your usual clueless babble, three time loser squeaky?

Contango

Re: "regime change,"

Dem wars - good, Rep with Dem supported wars - BAD.

Poor, sad lil' pipsqueak.

Darwin's choice

SCOTUS-14
obama-0

obama/failing