Two Tunisians Arrested in Killing of Ambassador Stevens

Thursday, 04 Oct 2012 02:19 PM

 

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Two suspects in the Sept. 11 killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya American ambassador and three colleagues have been arrested at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, Kanal D television reported Thursday.

The suspects, identified as Tunisians, were detained late Wednesday as they attempted to enter the country with fake passports, Kanal D said.

Turkish police were questioning the suspects, it said. It was not clear whether the suspects might be extradited to Libya or the U.S., Kanal D said. The Turkish authorities were not available for comment.

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The assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in which Ambassador Chris Stevens died coincided with a wave of protests in Muslim countries over an anti-Islam film made in the U.S. The Obama administration initially tied the attack to a mob action provoked by the film, then later characterized the incident as a terrorist attack.

The arrests came as FBI investigators spent a day examining the destroyed complex in the port city of Benghazi, CBS News reports.

A team of forensic specialists were escorted by a small U.S. military contingent that provided security, according to a U.S. official. The investigators spent several hours at the consulate and annex sites, the official estimated.

The team collected whatever evidence they could from the site to the extent possible, given the amount of damage the area sustained in the attack, according to a U.S. official.

The official wouldn't tell CBS what was recovered from the scenes, describing the work as a general effort to collect and document potential evidence.

Meanwhile, CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported that, according to a House committee, a State Department officer told panel members there were 13 threats made against the consulate during the six months before the attack on the facility on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The officer told committee members that the U.S. mission had made repeated requests for increased security.

A spokesman for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is holding a hearing on the controversy next week, said its source is Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom, who was stationed in Libya from September 2011 to June 2012.

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According to the panel, Nordstrom has already given a private briefing to members. The State Department confirmed he will appear at a committee hearing Wednesday with the deputy assistant secretary for international programs, Charlene Lamb, who is involved in reviewing security requests, Attkisson reports.

Also on Thursday, the Washington Post reported one of its reporters found "sensitive documents" that were "only loosely secured" in the burned-out remains of the consulate Wednesday. The newspaper says the discovery "further complicates efforts by the Obama administration to respond to what has rapidly become a major foreign-policy issue just weeks before the election."

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