A year to the day since an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador, Christopher Stevens, the security situation in Libya has gone from bad to worse, locals and Libya analysts say.
On Wednesday morning, unknown assailants detonated a car bomb near Benghazi's Foreign Ministry building, which decades ago housed the U.S. Consulate, security officials said. No one was killed in the blast.
It is the latest in a string of bombings and assassination attempts plaguing Benghazi, the cradle of the Libyan revolution, which ended with the death in late 2011 of former leader Moammar Gadhafi.
In the United States, the families of those killed a year ago at the consulate say the Obama administration has yet to tell them what really happened, and why it is that none of the killers has been captured or killed.
"It's hard. I never expected this from my government," Patricia Smith, mother of Sean Smith, told Fox News. "All they have to do is tell me the truth." Sean Smith was a consulate information officer who was among the four people killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack by al-Qaeda-linked terrorists.
President Obama and then-secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton initially blamed the attacks on a spontaneous protest against a U.S.-made anti-Islam video despite a CIA report that discounted that explanation. Smith and other family members say the State Department and the White House have rebuffed their attempts to find out why security was so lax under Clinton, and why Obama did not order military assistance to the embattled officials that night.
The White House has said it has provided all the information it can. Meanwhile, those responsible for murdering the Americans are presumably still in Libya or the region.
Obama said the government has a sealed indictment naming some suspected of involvement.
Retired admiral Michael Mullen and former ambassador Thomas Pickering, leaders of an independent review board that investigated the Benghazi attack, will appear before the House of Representatives' Oversight and Government Reform Committee next Thursday.
Meanwhile, in the two years since Libya was freed of Gadhafi, the country has failed to build a stable government, strong military or police force.
Militias policing towns can't keep militants out, and the southern borders remain porous, allowing easy travel for al-Qaeda-linked groups flush with cash.
"There are Islamist militias from the east who run drug-trafficking routes from southern Libya to the coast -- that is how al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is funded," said Jeli Ali, a Tuareg member of the reconciliation committee in Ubari, a town deep in the desert south of the country. "We have been asking for a strong government for three years (and are still waiting)."
Bhatti reported from Amman, Jordan
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