WASHINGTON Nov 2 Authorities in Tunisia have
agreed to allow FBI investigators access to a detained Islamic
militant suspected of playing a role in the Sept. 11 attacks on
U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, U.S. officials
said on Friday.
Under an arrangement worked out between Tunisian and U.S.
officials, American investigators will be allowed to interview
Ali Ani al Harzi under the supervision of Tunisian officials.
The arrangement was first made public in a written statement
issued on Friday by two Republican U.S. senators, Saxby
Chambliss, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee,
and Lindsey Graham, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services
The senators said that while it was "unfortunate" that it
had taken some time for the agreement to be reached, "allowing
American investigators in person access will make the interview
more meaningful and is a welcome breakthrough in our efforts to
find the perpetrators to the Benghazi ... attacks."
Earlier this week, Graham wrote to the Tunisian government
advising them how important it was to him and other U.S.
legislators for al Harzi to be made available to U.S.
investigators. Meanwhile, Chambliss urged the FBI to seek access
to al Harzi and any other individuals who might be detained in
connection with the attacks.
A U.S. government source said it was possible that the
senators' pressure may have helped convince the Tunisians to
allow FBI investigators to interview al Harzi, who was initially
arrested in Turkey in October but later sent back by Turkish
authorities to his native Tunisia.
U.S. sources have said that al-Harzi is suspected of
participating in the Benghazi attacks in which Christopher
Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, and three other U.S.
officials were killed. His precise role in the attacks was
unclear, the officials said, and there was no proof he was a
leader in the attacks.
The Daily Beast news website reported on Oct. 23 that
shortly after the Benghazi attacks began, al Harzi posted an
update about the fighting on an unspecified social media site.
The Daily Beast said this was one of the first clues for U.S.
intelligence agencies seeking to find out who was behind the