U.S. Releases Pictures of Suspects Connected to Benghazi Attack
U.S. authorities on Wednesday released pictures of three men they said were present during the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in eastern Libya, saying they wanted to question them.
AFP reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation's website did not say whether the three men -- all of whom appear to be carrying guns in the pictures -- are suspects in the attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
"The FBI is now asking Libyans and people around the world for additional information related to the attacks," the federal law enforcement agency said, according to AFP.
"We are seeking information about three individuals who were on the grounds of the U.S. Special Mission when it was attacked. These individuals may be able to provide information to help in the investigation," it said.
U.S. President Barack Obama has faced withering criticism over the attack from Republicans, who accuse the administration of failing to do enough to protect diplomatic missions and of covering up the true nature of the attack.
Senior administration officials initially described the attack as a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam Internet video that had sparked violent demonstrations in Cairo and elsewhere.
Officials later admitted that there had been no protest outside the consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, and U.S. media have reported that a nearby annex -- which was also attacked -- was part of a secret CIA mission.
In highly anticipated testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took responsibility for the attack in Benghazi and cited a "personal" commitment to improving security provisions for U.S. diplomatic missions overseas.
Clinton defended the administration’s handling of events surrounding the attack, which resulted in the brutal death of four Americans, including ambassador Christopher Stevens, and rejected Republican allegations that the Administration engaged in a cover-up following the attack.
“As I have said many times since September 11, I take responsibility. Nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure,” she said, vowing to ensure that there will be no lapses in future Benghazi security.
Obama has admitted that a probe into the deadly attack had uncovered a "huge problem" in security procedures at the mission.
"We're not going to be defensive about it," Obama said in December. "We're not going to pretend that this was not a problem. This was a huge problem.”