Attack Sets Back Libya Intelligence

    Pakistani lawyers burn a representation of the U.S, flag during a demonstration at an area that houses the U.S. Embassy and other foreign missions in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. The demonstration in Islamabad followed three days of violent protests against an anti Islam film in Pakistan in which two people were killed. Over two dozen more have been killed in protests in other parts of the Muslim world over the past week, including the U.S. ambassador in Libya. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

    Anjum Naveed / AP Photo

    The Sept. 11 attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi wasn’t just a tragic blow to American life, but it was a disaster for U.S. intelligence. Among the two dozen evacuated from Libya since the attack were about 12 CIA operatives who were crucial to monitoring militant groups around the city. “We got our eyes poked out,” one intelligence official said. The U.S. is watching several crosscurrents in eastern Libya, including a reaction by the public against armed militias in response to the killing of American ambassador Christopher Stephens, and a fierce debate among the Salafi population over what amount of political integration they can support.

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