Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Tunisia’s charge d’ affaires today that the U.S.-Tunisian “partnership could be in serious jeopardy” if they don’t allow American access to the suspect being held in the Benghazi attack.
Ali Ani al Harzi, who was arrested in Turkey for using false travel documents, was allegedly identified on surveillance video of the Sept. 11 attack.
“Press reports indicate Tunisian authorities have in custody Ali Ani al Harzi, a Tunisian citizen suspected by the United States government to be involved in the terrorist attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. These reports also indicate that the United States government has been denied access to this individual,” Graham wrote to Tarek Amri today.
“I have visited your country on several occasions and through my role as the Ranking Member on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of State and Foreign Operations, we have included multiple forms of assistance during the crucial new beginning of Tunisia. However, if these reports are true, our partnership could be in serious jeopardy.”
Graham encouraged the envoy to get the wheels of cooperation rolling between the Tunisian and Libyan governments, and U.S. intelligence services and law enforcement.
“I appreciate the relations between our two nations and remain very hopeful that Tunisia will continue developing into a success story following the Arab Spring,” he wrote. “As with any investigation time is of the essence and every day that goes by is a lost opportunity. I would appreciate an immediate response. The Tunisian response to this situation is of the utmost importance and could have profound impacts on the relations between our two countries moving forward.
Graham joined Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) today calling on President Obama to immediately respond to questions posed over the past three weeks about the administration’s actions before, during, and after the terrorist attack.
The senators highlight a series of inquiries the administration has not yet answered, from letters to intelligence officials to Obama himself.
“The American people and their representatives in Congress need to understand what you knew about the Benghazi terrorist attack and when you knew it,” they wrote. “We also have a right to know what steps you and your administration took – or failed to take – before, during, and after the terrorist attack to protect American lives.”