With no shots fired and nobody harmed, the capture of Ahmed Abu Khatallah will help U.S. authorities explain the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and will position them to secure an airtight conviction of the suspected ringleader, security analyst John Bradshaw told Newsmax TV
Calling Khatallah's capture by U.S. commandos "something that all Americans can be very happy about," Bradshaw, executive director the National Security Network, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner, "It has been a long time coming, but it was worth the wait."
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Bradshaw said we "don't know yet" how much intelligence Khatallah
will yield nearly two years after the attacks that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.
But Bradshaw praised the strategy of nabbing Khattallah at home to have him stand trial in the United States, and, in the meantime, interrogating him under a public safety exception
to the Miranda rule governing a suspect's rights to say nothing and retain an attorney.
"There are reports — and the administration has said — that he has been plotting additional attacks against the United States since that time," said Bradshaw. "Finding out about those plots is something that the high-value interrogation team is doing right now."
"So, there should be some intelligence value out of it," he said. "And then, hopefully, when he's brought here to the United States for trial, some further information will come out."
Khatallah appeared to be hiding in plain sight after Benghazi, even giving television interviews to U.S. news networks. Under those circumstances, "it's hard to be patient," said Bradshaw. But careful intelligence- and evidence-gathering and a casualty-free capture justified the patience, he said.
"If you'd gone in sooner, you'd have all these operational risks, but you also might not have the evidence you need to convict this guy," he said.
Bradshaw advocated "the same approach" to any remaining Benghazi suspects.
The picture of Khatallah to emerge so far answers some but not all of the questions about an incident that has shaken the Obama administration and continued to haunt then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Bradshaw said Khatallah appears to have "no direct connection to core al-Qaida" and was "not the leader of a particularly large terrorist cell."
"He had a fairly small group — maybe a couple of dozen fighters who were directly connected to him at the time of the Benghazi attack," said Bradshaw. But Khatallah definitely played the role of "ringleader and instigator" and proved able "to rally others beyond his small group," he said.
Some trial proceedings will likely take place in a "classified setting," said Bradshaw, adding, "That will help us understand what happened with the Benghazi incident — the Benghazi tragedy — of a couple of years ago."
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