It’s been nearly two years since militants, armed with grenades and anti-aircraft weapons, stormed the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, killing the US ambassador to Libya and three others. However, the man suspected of orchestrating the attack was finally captured in Benghazi in mid-June. Last week, Ahmed Abu Khattala appeared in federal court in Washington DC court to face formal charges of conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists, resulting in a death. It’s not going to be an easy trial, but fortunately, the country has the benefit of IP camera systems fighting the good fight.
Fraught with Controversy
Perhaps as a sign of this contentious era, this incident of terrorism is not only tragic for its loss of life and destruction of property but it has been mired in domestic political infighting as well. Those on the receiving end of criticism include:
- President Obama for his national security policies
- Hillary Clinton for how she responded to the ambassador’s call for security
- Susan Rice, the then UN Ambassador for her press appearances where she followed State Department talking points proclaiming the attacks spontaneous rather than a concentrated terrorist attack.
And now that a suspect is in custody, there’s a new swirl of controversy including,
- the choice of Washington DC as a venue for the hearing since the prisoner must be escorted through city streets, whereas if the prisoner were tried in the federal courthouse in New York or Virginia, the facility has an attached prison.
- no consideration being given trying him before a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay as an alternative to a criminal trial.
- Since it is a criminal case, the fact that Khattala was advised of his Miranda rights.
A Trial for the Books
Senior federal prosecutors and FBI agents occupied the first two rows of the courtroom at the United States District Court (not your everyday courtroom spectators). This may be because, as the former United States Attorney for Eastern District Virginia put it, “This trial won’t be a walk in the park.”
That’s putting it mildly:
- In contrast to a typical trial where crime scene investigators have promptly vetted the scene of the crime for forensic evidence, security concerns in Benghazi following the attack prevented FBI investigators having access for over two weeks.
- Whereas your typical trial relies on witnesses who come forth voluntarily or are subpoenaed, the hostile environment in Libya, first of all, made tracking down, let alone questioning witnesses difficult, and what cooperative ones were found will have to be flown in from Libya and may not stand up well to cross-examination.
- While intercepted electronic conversations have yielded evidence that could be valuable, their classified nature precludes most of them from being presented at a public trial.
Surveillance Cameras to The Rescue
According to the New York Times, In addition to eyewitness accounts, the prosecutor is expected to rely on video from IP camera systems. Thanks to Video Management Software, Justice Department investigators were able to analyze over one hundred hours of video that allowed them to construct a narrative of the period leading up to the attacks, the actual attack, not only on the mission, but on the CIA annex as well, and the time following the siege.
As to how valuable the cameras’ eyewitness accounts will be, the former United States Attorney has this to say ” The Department of Justice bats nearly 1,000 percent in these kinds of extraterritorial cases, but that’s because they put so much diligence on the front end of the investigations.”
Kintronics has faith in IP camera systems as well. If you are interested in finding out how IP surveillance cameras can served your home or place of business, call 914-944-3425 to speak to an engineer, or fill out an information request form.