Why the Benghazi Investigation Is Going Nowhere
Four months after a brutal assault on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi killed the ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, politicians in Washington are still railing over how diplomats were left vulnerable to attack. Yet the political furor, which now threatens to hold up President Obama's national-security nominations, stands in stark contrast to the response in Libya itself. There, Libyans say, the investigation is nonoperational, if not effectively dead, with witnesses too fearful to talk and key police officers targeted for violent retribution. The stymied investigation seems a far cry from the assurances from Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, immediately after the attack, that the culprits would be caught. A somber Obama told White House reporters the morning after the attack, "Make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people."
As the months have gone by, Libyans have come to doubt that will happen, believing that the attack was the work of armed militia too powerful for the weak central government in Tripoli to apprehend. In a phone interview on Wednesday, one Benghazi resident who did not want to be named told TIME that government security forces appeared to have decided not to stop the Sept. 11 attack while it was in progress. The resident said a colonel from the Ministry of Defense, a friend of his, had paid a social call to his home during the hours of the assault that night and had rebuffed pleas for help during the battle.
Benghazi's residents are slowly moving on and forgetting about the disastrous assault four months ago. The consulate building remains a burned-out ruin. And with al-Harzi out of jail in Tunisia, there is no suspect in custody for the attack. Mohamed Buisier, a political activist in Benghazi, who returned home in 2011 after decades in the U.S, says the only thing that reminds people of the attack these days is the noise from above, apparently U.S. drones flying over eastern Libya's main city as part of ramped-up security after the attack. Says he, "We wish they would be quieter."
Posted by: Pappy 2013-01-12