Under a nearly full moon, a small boat pulled away from the Libyan coastline.
A bearded man sat on board, masked, handcuffed and gagged until out of shouting range of land. After 20 minutes, armed guards lowered him into a shallow pit in the deck of a second vessel to guard against his falling overboard on the final choppy, 100-minute sprint to their destination: a U.S. warship waiting in the Mediterranean Sea.
There, Ahmed Abu Khattala began a 13-day trip crossing the Atlantic Ocean that would end in a U.S. courtroom.
The suspected ringleader of the Benghazi terrorist attacks was taken to a specially constructed brig aboard the USS New York on June 16, 2014, at 4:19 a.m. Libya time, according to the log for the ship’s detention center.
Interrogations began four minutes later, at 4:23 a.m.
The events surrounding the capture of Abu Khattala, accused as the mastermind of the lethal attacks in Benghazi that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, are emerging with rare detail in testimony and records in an ongoing federal court case in Washington.
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Featured image courtesy of US Attorney’s Office District of Columbia.
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