- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 12, 2013

U.S. and Libyan authorities investigating the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi are being hamstrung by the Libyan government’s lack of control over the eastern part of the country.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Tuesday that while Libyan authorities have been willing to cooperate in the investigation into the attack, “it is exceptionally difficult — particularly in eastern Libya in Benghazi.”

“And that has been a hurdle that we have not seen elsewhere when we’ve had similar incidents,” Mr. Mueller said.

Mr. Mueller visited Libya in January to coordinate the investigation with Libyan authorities.

“The investigation has not been stymied,” he said. “There are hurdles that we’ve had to overcome, but it is ongoing and I believe will only prove to be fruitful.”

Mr. Mueller did not elaborate on what the hurdles are, but two sources who spoke on background said it was a clear reference to the challenges the Libyan government faces in the eastern part of the country.

U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, State Department officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed in the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound.

On Wednesday, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan is scheduled to meet U.S. officials in Washington, and a meeting with President Obama has not been ruled out.

Mr. Zeidan met members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, and attended a private luncheon with Libyan Americans and members of the business community.

The meeting was closed to the press, but participants later said on background that the prime minister made a pitch for U.S. investment in Libya.

• Ashish Kumar Sen can be reached at asen@washingtontimes.com.

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