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NYT: Libya Is Hampering US Probe Of Benghazi

Buried in the ‘Africa’ section of the New York Times:

Libyan Reluctance Hampers U.S. Investigation Into Deadly Benghazi Assault

By ERIC SCHMITT and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT | December 10, 2012

WASHINGTON — … [T]hree months after the assault that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, the investigation into the attacks has been hobbled by the reluctance of the Libyan authorities to move against Islamist extremist suspects who belong to powerful militias, officials briefed on the investigation said. While the F.B.I. has identified several suspects, none have been arrested and some have fled Benghazi.

In an effort to generate as many leads as possible, the F.B.I. issued a global appeal last month asking anyone with information about the assailants to send tips in an e-mail, a text message or a post on a bureau Facebook page.

Man, they are really going all out.

Even as frustration builds over the inquiry’s sputtering progress, American officials insist that at least for now they intend to fulfill President Obama’s vow to bring the killers to justice by working with the Libyan authorities, though that means sorting through delicate issues like sovereignty and the weakness of the Libyan government.

We helped to put the current Libyan government in power. We should have tremendous leverage over them.

For now, a decision whether to try suspected assailants in Libyan or American courts has not been made, officials said.

“This case is surrounded and intertwined with sensitivities — it is a process of doing business there and respecting their sovereignty,” said one American official who has been briefed on the investigation and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiry is continuing.

Why did it take the FBI weeks to get to Benghazi? And why did they only spend three hours investigating the crime scene? And why haven’t they interviewed any of the suspects the Libyans apprehended?

Under increasing pressure from the Obama administration, there have been some halting steps forward in recent weeks.

Since first visiting Benghazi in early October, F.B.I. agents have returned to the city at least twice, accompanied by small United States military and Libyan security teams, to interview witnesses and collect other information related to the attack. Libyan witnesses have identified suspects caught on surveillance cameras at the mission and in photos taken during the attacks, American officials said.

Gen. Carter F. Ham, the head of the military’s Africa Command, said in an interview that investigators now believed that they had identified some but not all of the major actors in the attack on the diplomatic mission and the nearby C.I.A. annex, but “we don’t yet have sufficient information to indict anyone. They’re still collecting and building information.”

“The Libyans clearly accept responsibility” for investigating the attack, General Ham said, but “I have expressed to the Libyans that it hasn’t proceeded as quickly as any of us would have liked.” …

Wow. We hope he wrote a stiff letter, too.

Among the obstacles the F.B.I. has encountered in Libya has been a reluctance by some police and government officials there to target members of Ansar al-Shariah, a local Islamist group whose fighters joined the attack, according to witnesses.

Government officials in Benghazi have said it would be impossible for their weak, lightly armed forces to arrest militia members. Leaders of Benghazi’s most powerful militias, some of whom fought with Ansar al-Shariah members during the Libyan uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, say they would be hesitant to act against suspects unless they were presented with conclusive proof of their involvement…

What a pathetic joke.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, December 11th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “NYT: Libya Is Hampering US Probe Of Benghazi”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Uh huh.

    Still no word on —

    1. Why no armed elite Marine Guard presence at an embassy compound in a war torn Islamic nation known for jihadist recruitment

    2. Why locals hired to “protect” embassy overseen by men from Britain with nothing but batons to protect the station?

    3. Where was the Benghazi police for seven hours?

    4. Where was the Libyan military for seven hours?

    5. Who issued the stand-down and why?

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