Benghazi Precursor Ignored, Investigation Botched

Libya / AP
October 16, 2012

A bombing of the Benghazi mission earlier this year resulted in a botched investigation of the suspects and requests for increased security ignored by Washington, according to Reuters.

State Department officials suspected that two Libyan guards hired by its own security contractor were behind an April incident in which a homemade bomb was hurled over the wall of the special mission in Benghazi, according to official emails obtained by Reuters.

But the men, who had been taken into custody the day of the attack, were released after questioning by Libyan officials because of a lack of "hard evidence" that could be used to prosecute them, the State Department emails show.

Reuters noted that the April 6 attack involved an improvised explosive device (IED), and no one was injured.

Eric Nordstrom, then the U.S. Libyan Embassy’s regional security officer in Libya, "testified last week at a congressional hearing that a string of security concerns before September led officials on the ground in Libya to repeatedly ask for enhanced security, requests that were denied by officials in Washington," wrote Reuters.

Two suspects were taken into custody, one a former employee of the contracted security company Blue Mountain Group, and the other a current employee.

According to Nordstrom, local officials said "they did not find an IED on the suspects that they could use to prosecute." In other words, they did not find another bomb.

The local investigators also failed to "obtain statements from suspects within the first 16 hours of their arrests" and did not separate them, allowing them to communicate, reported Reuters.