Suskauer: US Questions Benghazi Terrorist Before Reading Rights

Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 01:29 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Criminal defense lawyer Michelle Suskauer says the Obama administration wants "to have it both ways" by questioning Libyan terrorist Ahmed Abu Khatallah before reading him his Miranda rights, then trying him in the U.S. court system.

"They want to have it both ways," Suskauer told J.D. Hayworth and John Bachman on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV on Wednesday.

"They want him to go into the regular criminal justice system, and yet not yet. They want to be able to get as much information out of him before he has to be afforded the rights," she explained.

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Suskauer said they are able to do this because "there is the 60-day window" in which they are able to question him before affording him his rights, because he is "a military combatant."

"As a military combatant, certainly you don't have the rights of habeas corpus, you don't have the rights of Miranda, you can be held indefinitely," Suskauer explained.

"Yet we're doing intelligence gathering because of sort of this gray status of how he's being held. So, it really is both ways right now," she added.

Suskauer said it's ultimately up to President Barack Obama to decide how Khatallah is tried.

"The buck stops with the president as to who is going to be held as a military combatant or who is going to be tried in a regular, federal court or a state court," she added.

However, "there are questions as to how much information can be gotten from him in terms of an interrogation before he's read Miranda, before he's afforded an attorney."

She said Khatallah's situation is unique because he "was not taken off a battlefield," which "may be another reason the administration is looking at this in a particular way."

But Suskauer explained that this is how the administration has been treating terrorists that we've captured.

"We have been bringing them into our own court system," Suskauer told Newsmax. "So, I'm not surprised at the decision."

However, she did say that it does raise questions about "how the security is going to work" if Khatallah is indeed tried in federal court in Washington, D.C.

Khatallah was captured Sunday and is the alleged organizer of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 12, 2012, in which four Americans were killed, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

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