Ten days after his dramatic capture in Libya, one of al-Qaeda's remaining core leaders appeared Tuesday in a federal courtroom in New York where he entered a not guilty plea related to his alleged role in the deadly 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Abu Anas al-Libi, 49, was moved to New York after being interrogated on a U.S. warship following his detention in Tripoli. The timing of the suspect's transfer was due, in part, to a pre-existing medical condition, a federal law enforcement official said.
A computer operations expert for the terrorist organization, al-Libi was indicted more than a decade ago in the embassy attacks that killed 224 people.
Although a number of alleged associates have been tried and convicted for their roles in the same attacks, al-Libi's transfer to federal custody is stirring new criticism from some Republican lawmakers who believe the terror suspect should have been moved to the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for longer interrogation.
"Al-Libi… was only questioned 10 days out on a ship in the middle of an ocean,'' Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said Tuesday. "Now that he is on U.S. soil, he will be read his Miranda rights, making it much more difficult to gather intelligence to prevent future attacks. If al-Libi were instead detained in Guantanamo Bay, he could be held for the duration of hostilities, his interrogation could continue, and still stand trial.''