The Straits Times
Published on Oct 13, 2012

US intelligence set back when Libya base abandoned


WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US intelligence efforts in Libya have suffered a significant setback due to the abandonment and exposure of a facility in Benghazi, Libya, identified by a newspaper as a "CIA base" following a congressional hearing this week, according to US government sources.

The intelligence post, located 2 km from the US mission that was targeted by militants in a Sept. 11 attack, was evacuated by Americans after the assault that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Three other Americans died in the attacks on US-occupied buildings, including two who were hit in a mortar blast at the secret compound.

The publication of satellite photos showing the site's location and layout have made it difficult, if not impossible, for intelligence agencies to reoccupy the site, according to government sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The post had been a base for, among other things, collecting information on the proliferation of weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals, including surface-to-air missiles, the sources said. Its security features, including some fortifications, sensors and cameras, were more advanced than those at rented villa where Mr Stevens died, they said.