Ahmed Abu Khattala, believed to be a ringleader of the Benghazi attacks, was brought today from a Navy warship to the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C. He entered a plea of not guilty to a single conspiracy charge.
Abu Khattala was captured on June 15. He was not immediately read his Miranda rights, but did receive them “days ago,” according to two law enforcement officials.
The two officials say that Abu Khattala continued talking after he received the Miranda warning. But the question is, what did he say.
Actually, the same question can be asked with respect to what Abu Khattala said before he was read his rights. Presumably, the interrogation is being conducted in accordance with the rules and procedures set forth in the Army Field Manual. Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe that, under these constraints, U.S. investigators were able to maximize their ability to extract information from the Libyan terrorist. There is even less reason to believe they did so once Abu Khattala was told that anything he said could be used against him in court.
Our government desperately needs to learn about the terrorist networks that have emerged in North Africa. The capture of Abu Khattala provided a golden opportunity. Reportedly, he has been a “spiritual leader and financier” for various Libyan terrorist groups, including Ansar al-Shariah.
I consider it scandalous that the Obama administration would compromise our ability to obtain information from Abu Khattala on an ongoing basis just to secure a criminal conviction in federal court. In a nation whose president and Congress are serious about protecting the U.S. from attacks — be they in Libya or New York City — this terrorist would go straight to Gitmo and, if necessary, be subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques.
The Obama administration is perennially surprised by the terrorism that occurs in North Africa and the Middle East. Will it surprised by terrorism exported from these regions to our homeland?