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McCaul: Benghazi suspect interrogation was "rushed"

House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said that the interrogation of Benghazi terror suspect Ahmed Abu Khattalah has been rushed out of a desire to try him in a U.S. court rather than treat him as a war criminal.

Khattala, a suspect in the September 2012 attack on a U.S. facility in Benghazi who was captured in a secret raid earlier this month, pled not guilty to the charge of providing material support to terrorists in a Washington, D.C., federal courtroom Saturday.

He was indicted by a federal grand jury on a single count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. The Department of Justice will likely bring additional charges at a later date.

"We do know that he's been talking, but ten days is not sufficient to fully debrief a terrorist in terms of the intelligence value," McCaul. "Rather than prosecuting a war, we're prosecuting criminal cases."

McCaul said the U.S. "rushed to interrogate and rushed to Mirandize," which led to a loss of opportunities to ask questions about other people involved in the raid or other threats to Americans in the region or the United States.

"I'm concerned the administration is valuing this rush to criminal prosecutions rather than trying to give the intelligence value added to this assessment," he said.

McCaul echoed several other Republican lawmakers who have said that Khattalah should have been placed in the Guantanamo Bay facility and treated as a war criminal rather than a criminal defendant. He criticized as "shameful" decision to move slowly in capturing Khattalah in order to build a criminal case against him.

"I'm a federal prosecutor, but I think the intelligence, the military intelligence value outweighs a criminal case," McCaul said.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for