In a 10-minute hearing held amid tight security Saturday, Ahmed Abu Khattala spoke just two words, both in Arabic. (AP Photo, File)
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The Libyan militant accused of masterminding the deadly 2012 Benghazi attacks that have become a dramatic issue in U.S. politics appeared briefly for the first time in an American courtroom, pleading not guilty to a terrorism-related charge nearly two weeks after he was captured by special forces.A grand jury indictment made public Saturday said Abu Khattala participated in a conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2012, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.The prosecution reflects the Obama administration's stated position of trying suspected terrorists in the American criminal justice system even as Republicans call for Abu Khattala and others to be held at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.The official said Abu Khattala continued talking after that.No evidence has emerged that Abu Khattala was involved in the later attack.Abu Khattala is one of just a few cases in which the administration has captured a suspected terrorist overseas and interrogated him for intelligence purposes before bringing him to federal court to face charges.
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