(CBS NEWS) WASHINGTON - A Libyan who has been held and interrogated for a week aboard a U.S. warship is now in New York awaiting trial on terrorism charges, CBS News has confirmed.
The al Qaeda suspect, known as Abu Anas al Liby, has been under federal indictment in New York for more than a decade. He's expected to stand trial over whether he helped plan and conduct surveillance for the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998.
during a raid in Libya on Oct. 5.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara confirmed that al Liby was transferred to law enforcement custody in New York over the weekend. Al Liby was expected to be arraigned Tuesday, Baharara said.
A law enforcement source told CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton that al Liby was brought into Stewart Air Force base just outside of New York City accompanied by New York FBI agents. The source said that al Liby did answer some questions posed to him by interrogators. A second source described al Liby's demeanor as matter of fact.
Initially after his capture in Libya, al Liby was held about the U.S. Navy ship San Antonio in the Mediterranean, where he was questioned by counter terrorism experts. They had planned to interrogate him for weeks, reports CBS News' David Martin. But al Liby, who suffers from a chronic health condition identified as hepatitis, began refusing food and water. His questioning was cut short and he was brought to New York, reports Martin.
President Barack Obama's administration took criticism years ago when it decided to prosecute admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York, rather than at the naval prison at Guantanamo Bay. After reversing course, however, the government has successfully prosecuted several terrorism cases in civilian courts.
Intelligence officials interrogated al Liby for a week aboard the U.S.S. San Antonio in the Mediterranean. Interrogations at sea have replaced CIA black sites as the U.S. government's preferred method for holding suspected terrorists and questioning them without access to lawyers.
His full name is Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai and he used to be on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list. His family says he was not in al Qaeda.
In a statement posted to several online portals frequently used by jihadi groups operating in eastern Libya -- including Ansar al-Sharia, which is believed to have been involved in the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic posts in Benghazi which left Ambassador Chris Stephens and three other Americans dead -- the militants vowed to "strike back" at those responsible for the kidnapping.
While acknowledging that U.S. troops carried out the raid to apprehend al Liby, the statement suggested reprisals would target the Libyan government, or, "those who betrayed their country and got implicated in this conspiracy."
There has been no indication that the U.S. military had any local assistance in the operation, and Libya's central government and military have remained in a state of near-paralysis since the ouster and killing of the dictator Muammar Qaddafi two years ago in an Arab Spring-inspired uprising.
Al Liby's wife and son, however, claimed in news interviews in the wake of the raid that people involved in his apprehension spoke with Libyan accents and appeared to be from the region. It is also unclear to what degree the U.S. government informed the Libyan government that the raid was going to occur -- before or after the fact.