U.S. investigators visit Libya compound where ambassador was killed

BENGHAZI, Libya Thu Oct 4, 2012 6:52pm EDT

The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group said to have been protesting a film being produced in the United States September 11, 2012. REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori

The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group said to have been protesting a film being produced in the United States September 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Esam Al-Fetori

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BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - A team of U.S. investigators travelled for the first time to the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Thursday to analyze the crime scene where the U.S. ambassador was killed in an attack last month, Libyan and U.S. sources said.

FBI agents were sent to Libya after the September 11 assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission and on another facility in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

But, until now, they had mainly remained in Tripoli and had not visited the site of what the United States has called a "deliberate and organized terrorist attack", partly because of security concerns.

"An American team has been visiting the compound," one Libyan security source said. Another security source said: "They have been assessing the damage, collecting evidence."

The FBI team was on the ground in Benghazi for about 13 hours looking at the crime scene before leaving, two U.S. government sources said on condition of anonymity.

In Washington, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder suggested the probe had been active despite the weeks-long delay in getting FBI agents to Benghazi.

"You should not assume that all that we could do or have been doing is restricted solely to Benghazi. There are a variety of other places, in-country and outside the country, where relevant things could be done and have been done," Holder said at a news conference.

"This is a matter that's been under active investigation almost since the time of the incident, and I'm satisfied with the progress that we have made," he said.

Separately, the Pentagon said on Thursday U.S. military personnel provided support for the FBI visit to Benghazi.

"At the request of the FBI, the department provided logistic and security support to the investigation team in order to conduct work on-site in Benghazi," Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters. Department of Defence "personnel completed that support earlier today and have departed Benghazi along with the investigation team."

In Benghazi, the road leading to the compound's front gate was blocked by vehicles mounted with weapons belonging to the Libyan security forces, a Reuters witness said.

Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdel Aziz said on Tuesday that the FBI team would soon be heading to Benghazi but that Tripoli and Washington had yet to agree on how the two sides would conduct a joint investigation.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday vowed every effort would be made to try to piece together a full account of the attack "wherever that leads," but cautioned that it could take time for a complete picture to emerge.

Libyan officials say eight people have so far been arrested in connection with the attack.

(Reporting by Omar al-Mosmary and Ali Shuaib in Tripoli; additional Reporting by David Ingram, Phil Stewart and Tabassum Zakaria in Washington; writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; editing by Andrew Osborn and Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (9)
That only took 3 weeks. I’m sure the investigation will end after the election.

Oct 04, 2012 3:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
dirtdauber wrote:
23 days later u.s. investigators show up. what a joke. obama is going to string this out big time. our sovereign soil/ambassador attacked and killed and for the first 10 days, no one could come up with a straight answer except for the pm of libya. of course, no one here gave him any attention because he bypassed the lamestream media.

Oct 04, 2012 3:07pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
IbarHarry wrote:
It has been mentioned that more than a few important documents have disappeared from the location. Many have come by to loot or get keep sakes from the location.

It has been trampled on by many and who knows what else has happened as it has been not TOO carefully guarded. I would call it a travisty of justice at the very least.

In addition could some things have been planted within those many days? I would imagine any competent jude would throw out any evidence from such a sight as being tainted at the very least.

It also speaks to the total distrust of the Libyan’s themselves. I thought at first they were interested in what happened, but as the days have gone by we see who is really in control.

I must admit there was some gradification in the rejection of the cabinet staff of the new Libyan leader. The selection was a slap in the face of what that the revolution was all about.

When the election results were 1st announced the Islamist’s indicated those results ment nothing as the fix was already in. What they said has proven so far to be true.

Oct 04, 2012 3:46pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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