Gadhafi Son Got VIP Tour of AF Academy

Wednesday, 30 Mar 2011 04:35 PM

 

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DENVER — Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's youngest son visited the Air Force Academy in Colorado last month during a U.S. tour but couldn't have learned anything to benefit the Libyan military, an academy official said Wednesday.

Khamis Gadhafi, 27, got a standard VIP tour of the school on Feb. 7 — eight days before the Libyan uprising began, academy spokesman Lt. Col. John Bryan said.

After Gadhafi returned home, he led forces loyal to his father in a brutal assault on a rebel-held city.

The tour of the academy included a look at academic, athletic and residential buildings, and briefings from Brig. Gen. Dana Born, dean of faculty, and Col. Tamra Rank, vice superintendent.

Bryan said the school conducts dozens of such tours every year.

The stop in Colorado was part of a wider U.S. tour by Gadhafi that included stops at businesses and other schools. It was organized by AECOM, a global infrastructure company with business interests in Libya.

Paul Gennaro, AECOM's senior vice president for global communications, told The Associated Press last week that the U.S. State Department approved of the trip and the government signed off on the itinerary.

However, State Department spokesman Mark Toner denied the agency had any role in planning, advising or paying for the trip and said the government didn't sign off on the itinerary.

The State Department greeted Gadhafi when he arrived, which Toner said is standard courtesy for the son of a national leader.

AECOM said Gadhafi went home before a scheduled visit to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. West Point spokesman Francis J. DiMaro Jr. confirmed the visit did not take place.

Khamis Gadhafi led the Khamis Brigade, a professional military unit loyal to his father, in an all-out assault on rebels holding Zawiya, a city near Tripoli.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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