Several Republican senators on Tuesday called for the suspected ringleader behind the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, should be sent to Guantánamo Bay and tried as an enemy combatant.
Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamTrump’s feud with the press in the spotlight Senators eye new sanctions against Iran Republicans play clean up on Trump's foreign policy MORE (S.C.), Marco RubioMarco RubioGOP loses top Senate contenders How does placing sanctions on Russia help America? Republicans play clean up on Trump's foreign policy MORE (Fla.) and John McCainJohn McCainTrump names McMaster new national security adviser How does placing sanctions on Russia help America? THE MEMO: Trump's wild first month MORE (Ariz.) were among the Republicans who quickly called for Ahmed Abu Khattala to be sent to the prison in Cuba, where he would not have the right to a civilian trial.
“If they bring him to the U.S., they will Mirandize this guy, and it will be the biggest mistake for the ages to read this guy his Miranda rights,” Graham told reporters, warning against a civilian trial.
"I think he should be taken to Guantánamo. It's where our detention facilities are," said McCain. "It's totally inappropriate to keep him anyplace else."
U.S. forces captured Ahmed Abu Khattalla, suspected of being one of the organizers behind the deadly September 2012 attack, in a secret raid over the weekend in Libya.
Khattalla is in custody at an undisclosed location and en route to the U.S., where he faces charges in federal court.
Rubio said the best way to get more intelligence that could lead to others involved in the Benghazi attack was to interrogate Khattala in Guantánamo.
“At times, this administration has been more interested in the politics of the war on terrorism than the execution of it, and we have not had an articulable detention policy in six years," Rubio said in a statement. "I look forward to hearing from the Administration how they plan to obtain information from Ahmed Abu Khattala, where they intend to detain him, and what the next steps are for going after those responsible for these attacks.
“America remains at war, and a return to the failed law enforcement approach of the 1990s is not an adequate response to the very real threats we face,” Rubio said.
Graham urged that the military be allowed to interrogate him before he was read Miranda rights.
“We should have some quality time with this guy, weeks and months,” said Graham. “Don’t torture him, but have some quality time with him.”
Graham didn’t detail how military forces should interrogate Khattala but said the U.S. didn’t need to use torture to find Osama bin Laden.
He added that he would “be surprised” if Justice officials couldn’t make the case for declaring Khattala an enemy combatant, “given what I know about what happened in Libya.”
“At the end of the day, I’m glad they captured somebody, and I hope that person can provide us good intelligence,” he said.
The Benghazi attack left four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, dead.
Khattala and at least a dozen other suspects have already been charged by the U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia over their connection to the attack.
— This story was updated at 1:41 p.m.