Report: 15 Days Later, FBI Has Not Been To Site Of Benghazi Consulate Attack
More than two weeks after four Americans -- including the U.S. ambassador to Libya -- were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, FBI agents have not yet been granted access to investigate in the eastern Libyan city, and the crime scene has not been secured.
The investigation of the attack on our Consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Stevens, isn’t exactly getting off to a very good start:
(CNN) – More than two weeks after four Americans — including the U.S. ambassador to Libya — were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, FBI agents have not yet been granted access to investigate in the eastern Libyan city, and the crime scene has not been secured, sources said.
“They’ve gotten as far as Tripoli now, but they’ve never gotten to Benghazi,” CNN National Security Analyst Fran Townsend said Wednesday, citing senior law enforcement officials.
Last Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters that an FBI team had reached Libya earlier in the week.
“In fairness to the secretary, it may be that she wanted to be coy about where they were in Libya for security concerns. That’s understandable. But the fact is, it’s not clear they’ve been in Libya for very long,” Townsend said on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360°.”
The FBI team has conducted interviews of State Department and U.S. government personnel who were in Libya at the time of the attack, Townsend said, but the FBI’s request to directly question individuals who Libyan authorities have in custody was denied.
There are two troubling aspects here. First, obviously, the fact that the attack was two weeks ago and the scene has not been subjected to investigation likely means, as noted, that whatever evidence might have been at the scene has either been stolen or spoiled at this point. We already know that CNN found Ambassador Stevens’s journal in the rubble of the building. Who knows what else might have been there but is now unavailable? Whether from an investigatory or intelligence gathering point of view, the value of an examination of the scene at this point would be quite less than if the FBI had been able to get to Benghazi shortly after the attack. The second issue this story raises is the fact that the Libyans have not been as cooperative as could be hoped for, both in granting the FBI access to the people it has in custody and allowing them access to the scene of the attack. At this point, it seems like this FBI team is just sitting around a room in Tripoli accomplishing next to nothing.