* U.S. ready to help Libya do more on security
* Libyan leader delivers personal apology for Benghazi
* Obama says consulate attack "wasn't just a mob action"
By Andrew Quinn
NEW YORK, Sept 24 U.S. Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton offered Libya more help on Monday as it seeks to
rein in militias, stressing that Washington will remain a firm
partner despite this month's deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate
Clinton met Mohammed Magarief, who was elected to head
Libya's ruling national assembly in August, and received his
personal apology for the Sept. 11 attack, which killed U.S.
Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
"What happened on 11th of September towards these U.S.
citizens does not express in any way the conscience of the
Libyan people, their aspirations, their hopes or their
sentiments towards the American people," Magarief told Clinton
at their meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly
session in New York.
A senior U.S. official said Clinton reviewed U.S. assistance
to Libya as it works to secure chemical weapons and other
dangerous armaments and to crack down on armed militia groups
that have sprung up since the ouster of longtime leader Muammar
"The secretary offered to intensify our support and help for
the Libyan government in all of those areas," the official said
following the meeting.
Clinton thanked Magarief for Libya's efforts thus far to
investigate the attack, which has raised sensitive questions
among U.S. lawmakers about the security measures in place to
protect the U.S. Consulate and staff.
The Obama administration has described the incident as a
"terrorist attack," and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has
launched a criminal investigation.
President Barack Obama, speaking at the taping of a
television appearance on Monday, said the incident was clearly
more than just a protest that got out of hand.
"We're still doing an investigation. There's no doubt that
the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it
wasn't just a mob action. We don't have all the information,"
Magarief said last week that about 50 people had been
arrested in connection with the Benghazi attack, although the
interior minister put the figure far lower. Magarief said some
of those arrested were not Libyans and were linked to al Qaeda,
which carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United
CRACKING DOWN ON MILITIAS
Libya's government has sought to impose order on armed
groups that sprang up following the overthrow of Gaddafi. The
country's military said it had removed the heads of two of the
most powerful militias operating in Benghazi.
Clinton, in remarks at a separate development conference on
Monday, praised the people of Benghazi for taking to the streets
to express their outrage over the militias.
"The people of the Arab world did not set out to trade the
tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob. There is no
dignity in that," Clinton said.
"The people of Benghazi sent this message loudly and clearly
on Friday when they forcefully rejected the extremists in their
midst and reclaimed the honor and dignity of a courageous city."
The senior U.S. official said Magarief listed extremist
groups and "remnants" from the Gaddafi regime as the chief
threats to Libyan security and said the country needed to build
better cooperation with its neighbors to secure its borders.
Despite a temporary drawdown in U.S. personnel following the
Benghazi attack, the official said security cooperation and
training was ongoing and would expand now that the country has
an elected leadership in place.