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Benghazi investigation falters amid fear of militant reprisals

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"I have not forgotten about the Benghazi debacle and still have many questions about what transpired before, during, and after the attack on our consulate," Senator Graham said on Fox News. "In that regard, I do not believe we should confirm anyone as director of the CIA until our questions are answered."

In November, Graham said he was “very disappointed in our intelligence community,” which he said had “failed in many ways” in the lead-up to the Benghazi attack. Anyone looking at events in Benghazi in the weeks before September 2012 would see that “this was [an] Al Qaeda storm in the making,” he said.

The existence in Benghazi of militant groups with Al Qaeda sympathies was already widely known at the time of the September attack. But an increasingly firm link of groups with Al Qaeda affiliation to the attack on the US mission – something some local Libyan officials have told local and Western journalists is emerging from the investigation – is also having a chilling effect on the inquiry, as fears grow of militant reprisals.

Earlier this month the head of criminal investigations in Benghazi was kidnapped as he waited at a traffic light, and in November the city’s police chief was killed in a drive-by shooting. Last year more than a dozen police and other security officers were killed in Benghazi.

Also hampering the Benghazi investigation is Libya’s record of poor administration even before the revolution that ousted leader Muammar Qaddafi. When Obama pledged to bring to justice the perpetrators of the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, he said the US would  “work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.”

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