State Department spokesman John Kirby admitted Friday that Libya "has struggled" since 2011, when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led the charge for U.S. military intervention in the Libyan civil war.
"After the intervention in 2011 … I think we’ve all seen that Libya has struggled since 2011," Kirby said. He pointed to the power vacuum that dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s ouster created as a source of instability, and said that since 2011, violent groups like the Islamic State have filled that vacuum.
"We know that groups like ISIL try to use ungoverned spaces there, as they have in Syria, to try to propagate their own twisted form of ideology and violence," he said.
Kirby said that the international community is laboring to recover the security situation in Libya.
"There is a concerted effort by the international community to do what they can, to do what we must, to try to get at better security and stability there in Libya," he said.
Clinton has been criticized for pushing President Obama to intervene in Libya without a concrete post-war plan. Others write that following the intervention, Congress "showed little interest" in Libya, until the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked in 2012, resulting in the deaths of four Americans.
Clinton defended the intervention in the October 13 CNN debate, calling it "smart power at its best." She justified the intervention by telling viewers that as a result, the Libyan people "had a free election the first time since 1951," and that "they voted with the hope of democracy."