State Department: 'Libya Has Become a Terrorist Safe Haven'

By Susan Jones | May 1, 2014 | 8:50am EDT

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton following the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. (AP File Photo)

( - The State Department's latest report on global terrorism, released Wednesday, lists Libya as a terrorist safe-haven for the second year in a row.

"With a weak government possessing very few tools to exert control throughout its territory, Libya has become a terrorist safe haven and its transit routes are used by various terrorist groups, notably in the southwest and northeast," says the 2013 Country Reports on Terrorism, released on Wednesday, April 30.

Three years ago, on March 19, 2011, President Obama unilaterally "authorized" the U.S. military to "begin a limited military action in Libya" to "protect Libyan civilians." He said by intervening in Libya's civil war, he was acting "in the interests of the United States and the world."

The U.S. intervention helped rebels topple Libyan dictator Moammar Qadhafi, and they killed him in October 2011.

In its 2011 report on global terrorism, the State Department did not list Libya as a terrorist safe haven. But one year later, it did:

"In 2012, Libyan internal security suffered significant challenges and setbacks as it sought to reassert central authority following the fall of the Qadhafi regime, though attempts were made to strengthen overall counterterrorism and border capabilities to mitigate the various threats," the report said.

"The resulting instability was punctuated by the attack against a U.S. facility in Benghazi on September 11, which claimed the lives of four U.S. personnel, including J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya."

The 2012 report also noted that "Libya has encountered significant capacity gaps to mitigate the illicit flows of goods, people, and weapons across its borders since the revolution that toppled Qadhafi."

In the report released Wednesday, the State Department said Libya's General National Congress "has tried to tackle the lawlessness of the southern region" by closing the country's southern border.

"In reality, however, Libya’s weak and under-resourced institutions have had little influence in that region, and have failed to implement this vague decree, as is evident from frequent ethnic clashes in the area. Instead, tribes and militias continue to control the area, and traders, smugglers, and terrorists continue to utilize ancient trade routes across these borders."

Also See:
CIA: 'Libya: Al-Qaida Establishing Sanctuary'
Report: Libya Calls for International Help to Fight Terrorism
2 ½ Years Later: Obama Says Libya Still Needs ‘Basic Security’

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