Ahmed Abu Khattala, the main detained by U.S. special forces in connection with the Benghazi attacks, had been carrying on with his life mere weeks after the attack, going to cafés and such. And in those weeks following the attack, Abu Khattala gave interviews to Reuters and The New York Times in which he denied direct involvement in the attack on the Benghazi consulate.
He did, however, admit he was there.
Abu Khattala told Reuters back in October 2012 that he was informed of the attack and went to the consulate to see what was happening. He said, “I arrived at the scene just like the others did — to see what was happening.”
One Libyan official said at the time there was a photo of Abu Khattala at the consulate but not enough evidence yet to arrest him. So for those few weeks, Khattala was going about his business as normal. He told Reuters, “These reports say that no one knows where I am and that I am hiding… But here I am in the open, sitting in a hotel with you. I’m even going to pick up my sister’s kids from school soon.”
And when he spoke to The New York Times that same month, he was drinking a strawberry frappe at a Libyan hotel. He told the Times then that not only had he not been questioned about the attack, but he wasn’t planning to go into hiding. And, in fact, CNN reporter Arwa Damon, who managed to interview Abu Khattala in 2013, said today he didn’t act like he had been accused of such a serious offense and added, “this was not a man who was in hiding.”
Watch Damon’s 2013 interview with Khattala below, via CNN:
[image via Esam Al-Fetori/Reuters]
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