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Tunisia grants U.S. access to Benghazi suspect

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The Tunisian government has granted American authorities in-person access to a suspect in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, according to two Republican senators.

Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia have been working closely to push for U.S. access to the suspect, Ali Ani al Harzi, a Tunisian citizen who allegedly was caught on video during the Sept. 11 attack on the consulate that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens

On Friday, Mr. Graham and Mr. Chambliss said the Tunisian government has agreed to allow U.S. investigators in-person access to al Harzi.

“We are very pleased the Tunisian government is working with American investigators to allow in-person access to Ali Ani al Harzi,” the two senators said in a joint statement. “Under this arrangement, the interviews will be under Tunisian supervision and consistent with their sovereignty and meets the needs of our investigative team.”

Mr. Graham, the ranking Republican on the foreign aid appropriations subcommittee, Wednesday threatened Tunisia with a possible suspension of U.S. aid if the country refused to grant U.S. authorities access al Harzi.

Mr. Chambliss, the ranking member of the Senate intelligence committee, last week met with the FBI to emphasize the need for direct access to the Tunisian suspect and any others related to the Benghazi attack.

While the senators expressed disappointment that Tunisia did not make al Harzi immediately available to U.S. authorities, they said allowing an in-person interview is a “welcome breakthrough in our efforts to find the perpetrators of the Benghazi Consulate attacks.”

“Tunisia is where the Arab Spring began, and these latest events reaffirm the growing alliance between our two countries,” they said. “We look forward to working with the Tunisian government to strengthen the ties between our two countries.”

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About the Author

Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at scrabtree@washingtontimes.com.

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