U.S. officials: Mission probe slow going

Dec. 11, 2012 at 8:14 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. investigators said they identified some suspects in the attack on the U.S. mission in Libya, but the case has been slowed by Libyan authorities.

Three months ago, an assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Since then, the FBI has been investigating the incident with Libyan authorities, who are reluctant to move against Islamist extremist suspects, who belong to militias, officials told The New York Times.

Officials in Benghazi said it would be difficult for their lightly armed, weak forces to go after powerful militia members.

Gen. Carter F. Ham, head of the U.S. military's Africa Command, said Libya has identified some suspects in the attack, but "we don't yet have sufficient information to indict anyone. They're still collecting and building information.

"The Libyans clearly accept responsibility" for investigating the attack, Ham said, but "I have expressed to the Libyans that it hasn't proceeded as quickly as any of us would have liked."

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there is little the FBI can do to speed up the investigation because it needs to respect Libya's sovereignty.

"When you deal with a foreign country, you have to play by their rules," the official said. "You can't just go around the world and conduct an independent investigation wherever it is happening."

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