Benghazi Charges Unsealed in Federal Court in Washington

Charges against an alleged leader of the attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, were unsealed today in federal court in Washington, almost a year after being filed in secret.

Ahmed Abu Khatallah, also known as Ahmed Mukatalah, faces three counts related to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, in which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans died, including providing support for terrorists and conspiracy, the government said in the complaint.

Attorney General Eric Holder said additional charges may be filed and that the U.S. is continuing to look for co-conspirators.

Khatallah was captured in Libya on June 15 and is being held outside the country, according to U.S. officials.

The attack resulted in the deaths of U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, a State Department security official, and two Central Intelligence Agency contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty.

Khattalah, who was charged on July 15, 2013, was named a “specially designated global terrorist” by the State Department in January and placed on a sanctions list to block his assets and prohibit U.S. persons from dealing with him.

The department described Khattalah in a statement as a senior leader of Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi, a group “involved in terrorist attacks” and the assault on the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi.

The Benghazi attack has triggered multiple investigations in the Republican-led U.S. House regarding security preparations in Libya and the Obama administration’s response to the events. The violence in the Libyan city is likely to continue being an issue for Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time, if she runs for president.

The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts.

The case is U.S. v. Khatallah, 13-mj-572, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).