Lack of leaders delays justice in Benghazi attack
TRIPOLI, Libya — More than a month after attacks in Libya left the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans dead, the United States is struggling to bring the killers to justice. But when American officials try to speak to Libyan leaders, there's often no one on the other end of the line.
Moammar Gadhafi's death almost a year ago left a country with few political institutions, and Libya's new political class is still trying to put together a democratically elected government. Infighting has grown even more bitter since the Sept. 11 attack on U.S. outposts in the eastern city of Benghazi.
Many ministries, including those that would take the lead in an investigation, are on autopilot as the new lawmakers plot alliances and betrayals over endless cups of coffee in Tripoli, the capital.
Meanwhile, the Libyan investigation into the attacks is taking place a 400-mile flight away in still-unsettled Benghazi. Security there is provided by militias that have only loose affiliations with the central government, and the efforts of U.S. investigators to search the city's dusty streets for clues have been tightly curtailed.
U.S. lawmakers visiting Tripoli have said the Libyan government has provided almost no information or cooperation as the FBI and others pursue their own investigation. Although Libyan officials say they are working to hunt down the attackers, some acknowledge that the probe is not the top priority.
“The investigation is going to be done sooner or later,” said Saleh Jouda, a member of the new legislature, the General National Congress, and deputy head of the national security committee. But Libya's interim leaders see the undertaking as politically problematic, he said.
“They don't want to deal with it,” he said. “They just want to hand it to the new government.”
It may be weeks before that new government is formed. Meanwhile, Republicans in Washington have seized on security lapses at the U.S. mission before the attacks — as well as the shifting explanations afterward about what transpired — to attack the Obama administration before the election.
On Wednesday, House Republicans dominated a congressional hearing in which former diplomatic security officials said their requests for more security in Libya had been dismissed.
In Tripoli, the day after the attacks and just hours after President Obama announced that Ambassador Christopher Stevens had died along with three others, Libya's new lawmakers were not focused on the incident, although leaders did immediately condemn the deaths. They were instead voting narrowly for the country's first democratically elected prime minister, Mustafa Abushagur, in a previously scheduled ballot.
The frustration has paralyzed the capital, with small conspiracies swirling in the marble-lined hotel lobbies where the emerging political class holds its meetings.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Kentucky just isn’t going to lose
- Pittsburgh angles to keep Heinz headquarters in merger
- New Ken man ‘holed up’ in house
- Soccer career continues for Springdale grad Weimerskirch
- Penguins’ protracted slump continues with 5-2 loss at Carolina
- Kentucky labors little in 78-39 rout of West Virginia
- Toyota to carry new attitude into production
- Man charged with killing Larimer man last year
- Michigan man takes Heinz to court over Dip & Squeeze ketchup packet
- Narduzzi set to begin more critical evaluations during Pitt football spring drills
- Roundup: Headhunter reportedly solicits candidates to replace BNY Mellon CEO ; Yahoo says it will buy back $2B in stock; more