Four U.S. Military Personnel Detained By Libyan Government UPDATE: They've Been Released
Four American military personnel who were working at the United States Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, were detained today by the Libyan government.. Details are sketchy, but according to the New York Times, "the four were believed to have been reviewing potential evacuation routes for diplomats when they were detained."
The circumstances of how they were taken and why were not clear.
“We are seeking to further ascertain the facts and ensure their release,” said Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman. “We are in touch with Libyan officials on this issue.”
Ed Henry, reporting for Fox News said the detained US military personnel could be Marines because they were involved with helping to secure the US Embassy - a job Marines typically do.
John Bolton noted that this Libyan government is the one that the White House allowed to come into power after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.
"If this incident is really a conscious decision by the government in Tripoli to detain these four Americans - perhaps as Ed says, Marine security guards - I think that's going to cause real trouble for the administration, and our efforts to have the government of Libya extend its control over the rest of the country - which has degenerated into terrorist camps, al Qaeda affiliates, and the like."
Bolton also held out the possibility that the whole thing could be some sort of mistake by a police official in Triploi.
The four detainees, who the AP reports were likely US Special Ops personnel supporting U.S. Marine security forces who are protecting the American Embassy, have been released.
An altercation apparently took place at a checkpoint near the town of Sabratha, the official said. Reports of gunfire could not be confirmed.
After they were detained at the checkpoint, the Americans were transferred to the Ministry of the Interior and held for a few hours, the official said.