In its continuing campaign to break down our defenses, the Obama administration is treating alleged Benghazi mastermind Ahmed Abu Khattala as a criminal rather than an enemy. Having delivered him to federal custody in Washington, prosecutors have filed a document supporting the continued pretrial detention of Mr. Abu Khattala (as the New York Times calls refers to him in its report). The Times has posted the document here.
The Times reports that, according to prosecutors, “Mr. Abu Khattala had plotted attacks against the United States and other Western interests in recent months. They argued that because he posed a continued threat to the United States he should remain in custody until trial.” Good point! The hearing was held yesterday before a magistrate judge on whether Mr. Abu Khattala should continue to be detained before trial.
If he were to be released, according to the prosecutors’ filing, Mr. Abu Khattala could “continue to communicate his plans for additional deadly attacks to other extremists and encourage them to carry out those plans.” The filing calls him “a commander in an extremist militia group who is fully committed to causing death and destruction to American personnel and property.”
And then there is this: “Without any ties to the United States, Mr. Abu Khattala ‘has strong incentives to flee.’” Yes, if only he had family and friends in town, Mr. Abu Khattala could be trusted to appear for trial. At least the magistrate might have to take that factor into account in determining on the propriety of continued pretrial detention. It all makes perfect sense.
Fortunately, the magistrate saw things the prosecutors’ way, though if Mr. Abu Khattala were to have been released on bail pending trial and stuck around in town, it might have been fun to hear him kick around his views of that “hateful video” with Susan Rice over at the White House.
Funny thing about that “hateful video.” The White House might want to put out an APB on it. The video has gone missing in the version of events that prosecutors have served up in court to nail Mr. Abu Khattala. The Times notes:
The filing reveals for the first time some of the evidence in the case that the government is building against Mr. Abu Khattala, saying it is supported by witnesses and physical evidence.
It said that in the days before the attack, he voiced “concern and opposition to the presence of an American facility in Benghazi,” the government said.
On the night of Sept. 11, 2012, a group of at least 20 men armed with machine guns, handguns and rocket-propelled grenades gathered outside the United States Mission in Benghazi and “aggressively breached” its gate, according to the document.
The men went on to set fire to the United States Mission. It was that fire that killed Mr. Stevens and a State Department employee. A little later, Mr. Abu Khattala “entered the compound and supervised the exploitation of material from the scene by numerous men, many of whom were armed.”
The Times assures us that Mr. Abu Khattala has been given a Miranda warning and therefore advised of his “rights.” The government filing asserts that Mr. Abu Khattala has corroborated key facts in voluntary statements, though it is not clear whether these statements were given before or after the Miranda warning. The Times does note that Mr. Abu Khattala has not incriminated himself with respect to the Benghazi murders. It is unclear to me from the government filing whether Mr. Abu Khattala has asserted his Obama-given “rights.” I guess we can look forward to finding out at trial.