When The Washington Post reported the capture of Ahmed Abu Khattala, suspected in the Benghazi terrorist attacks that killed four Americans in 2012, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) were clear in asserting what they deem the proper course of action should be: send him to Guantanamo Bay.
Reporters waiting outside the chamber received the news on their smartphones before senators began trickling out of the Senate Chamber. Many of them refused to comment, awaiting more details from their staff.
But McCain and Graham spoke up.
“I’m glad that they got him,” McCain stated, before suggesting that the suspect should be held at Guantanamo Bay. “That’s where we put terrorists when we apprehend them,” he said. “Where else could they put him?”
McCain acknowledged that Abu Khattala had already been discovered by members of the media before his capture. “He had been doing interviews from cafes in Benghazi; we knew that,” McCain said, declining to comment on the timing of the capture.
Graham agreed, pointing out that the proper place for a detainee was not the ship where Abu Khattala was. “It would be the biggest mistake for the ages to read this guy his Miranda rights,” Graham asserted, pointing out that he should be held as an enemy combatant, interrogated, and mined for more information about the attacks.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) echoed the call in a statement issued after news of the capture circulated. “The Obama administration should immediately transfer him to the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay for detention and interrogation,” Rubio said. “In order to locate all individuals associated with the attacks that led to the deaths of four Americans, we need intelligence. That intelligence is often obtained through an interrogation process.”
But Democrats did not seem to share their colleagues’ enthusiasm for more information.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) scoffed at Republican calls to hold Ahmed Abu Khattala at Guantanamo.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) had a similar reaction. “Oh, for God’s sake,” he replied when reporters questioned him about the idea.