Benghazi News Site Reports U.S. 'Not Serious in Its Investigation'
An unnamed source in the Libyan Interior Ministry claims that U.S. investigators did not appear interested in suspects the government had identified and asked no questions about the investigation.
According to a story published last Tuesday by New Qurina, a Benghazi based news site, the U.S. investigators who visited the scene "did not ask questions regarding the four defendants who were declared by Libya as suspects involved in the burning of the American headquarters."
The article is based on information from an unnamed "former official" in the Interior Ministry. He describes the US as "not serious in its investigation." The source is quoted as saying "The investigations never took a normal course between the Libyan and American sides, and perhaps the US does not wish to disclose certain private information to the Libyan authorities."
The source also claims that Ambassador Stevens himself was working directly for the CIA.
The Libyan official confirmed that Ambassador Stevens worked in the field of intelligence, and that Stevens himself stated that fact on more than one occasion and explained that the CIA and world intelligence worked actively in Benghazi in the prior period.
His claim can not be verified with regard to Amb. Stevens, but there have been instances in the past where U.S. ambassadors had a close relationship with the CIA. Former President George H.W. Bush served as ambassador to China in 1974-75 and then weeks later became CIA Director under President Ford. There have also been claims that Bush's work with the CIA began much earlier.
The claim about Stevens dovetails with the other major claim made in the article, i.e. that the Benghazi mission was there for intelligence gathering, not diplomacy:
A former official at the Interior Ministry, overlooking the investigation of the killing of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, asserted that the consulate headquarters was an intelligence center and not a consular building, according to ‘Middle East’ newspaper.
The ‘unnamed’ security official explained that National General Congress and the Libyan Foreign Ministry had asserted the authenticity of this information. He pointed out that the site was carefully chosen for intelligence purposes in a city suburb unlike the former US consulate headquarters which was located the center of Benghazi.
The official also stressed that the US headquarters in Benghazi was never visited by any Libyans to conduct normal consulate business and that after the incident, security agencies found surveillance and storage equipment that have been damaged .
The official revealed that the consulate had been operating independent of the Libyan government which was unaware of what was going on inside the building which was described as closed for internal business exclusively and that the Libyan government saw no evidence of diplomatic activities.
While some of the claims made by the unnamed source are plausible they are impossible to verify since the source is not named. There is at least one claim made in the article which does not jibe with publicly available information. The article reads:
He pointed out that the lease agreement of the property with the Libyan
owner did not clearly imply in anyway the involvement with the U.S.
State Department, and that the woman who signed the contract, after the
Libyan revolution, stated at the time of the execution of the lease that
she represents the American mission.
Documents published by the Oversight committee demonstrate that the State Dept. had a lease agreement which Under Secretary Kennedy chose to renew in December 2011 for one additional year.
If nothing else, the article demonstrates the kind of claims currently being made about the U.S. in Benghazi one year after the attack.
[Arabic to English translation provided by Nonie Darwish.]