Benghazi mastermind sentenced to 22 years in prison on federal charges of terrorism

Ahmed Abu Khattala, convicted of multiple terrorism-related charges, but not guilty of the murder, has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in the deadly September 2012 attack on the AMERICAN Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.


Ahmed Abu Khattala, 47, a Libyan national, was on Wednesday sentenced to 22 years in prison on federal terrorism charges for the deadly 2012 attack on the AMERICAN Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

By means of a statement from the Ministry of Justice, U. S. District Judge Christopher R. “Casey” Cooper announced the sentence on Wednesday in Washington.

“Even if you don’t pour the gasoline or light the match, see the proof that you were aware of the attack, and as soon as the gates were breached, the chance that someone would die was extremely high. This was not the fault by association,” Cooper told Khattala, according to The Washington Post.

The judge said: “This case stands as an example for the principle that a defendant accused of international terrorism can get a fair trial in the AMERICAN criminal justice system.”

The four Americans were killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack: Ambassador Christopher Stevens, State Department official Sean Smith and security officers Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, both one-off Navy SEALs.

Prosecutors accused the suspect, who was captured in Libya on June 15, 2014, from the post of an extremist militia and the leadership of the attacks. But the prosecutors also acknowledged they lacked proof that fired weapons. The government’s case against him relied heavily on the testimony of informants.

Defense attorneys argued that the evidence is not convincing, and that their client was chosen because of its ultraconservative faith of the Muslims.

Khattala was found guilty in November, as Fox News previously reported, only four of 18 costs, with the exclusion of him from the death penalty. He was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to commit material support to terrorists, one count of deliberate destruction of AMERICAN property and placing lives in danger, and one count of using and carrying a semi-automatic weapon during the attack.

The 2012 attack was directly political fodder, with the Republicans accusing Obama of intentionally misleading the public and stonewalling congress researchers, although the officials denied wrongdoing.

It continues to be a problem for Hillary Clinton during her failed 2016 White House bid, as critics accused her of pushing a false story linking the attack to protests over an anti-Islam video and her State Department, of the neglect of the security needs of the team on the ground for the attack.

The case was widely regarded as one of the most significant terrorism prosecutions in recent years in a U.S. civilian court.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Frank Miles is a journalist and editor, covering sports, tech, military and geopolitical for He can be reached at

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