U.S. faces hurdles in Libya probe
It is sending forces and drones, but resources are limited, and Libya's security is chaotic.
WASHINGTON - The United States is sending more spies, Marines, and drones to Libya, trying to speed the search for those who killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, but the investigation is complicated by a chaotic security picture in the postrevolutionary country and limited American and Libyan intelligence resources.
The CIA has fewer people available to send, stretched thin from tracking conflicts across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Much of the team dispatched to Libya during the revolution had been sent onward to the Syrian border, U.S. officials say.
And the Libyans have barely reestablished control of their country, much less rebuilt their intelligence service, less than a year after the overthrow of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
The United States has already deployed an FBI investigation team, trying to track al-Qaeda sympathizers thought to be responsible for turning a demonstration over an anti-Islamic video into a violent, coordinated attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other embassy employees were killed after a barrage of small arms, rocket-propelled grenades, and mortar shells tore into the consulate buildings Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of 9/11, setting the buildings on fire.
President Obama said the morning after the attack that those responsible would be brought to justice. That may not be swift. Building a clearer picture of what happened will take more time and possibly more people, U.S. officials said Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In a statement posted Saturday on Islamic extremist websites, al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen praised the killings and called for more attacks to expel American embassies from Muslim nations, suggesting the terrorist organization is trying to co-opt the angry protests over a film produced in the United States denigrating the Prophet Muhammad.
Intelligence officials are reviewing telephone and radio intercepts, computer traffic, satellite images, and other clues from the days before the attacks - the kinds of material routinely gathered in a conflict zone where al-Qaeda affiliates are known to operate - and Libyan law enforcement has made some arrests. But investigators have found no evidence pointing conclusively to a particular group or to indicate the attack was planned, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, adding, "This is obviously under investigation."
Early indications suggest the attack was carried out not by the main al-Qaeda terror group but "al-Qaeda sympathizers," said a U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity.