WASHINGTON — Seven months after the attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, the Obama administration on Wednesday insisted that it was making progress in holding accountable those responsible for killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. has identified people it believes were involved in the Benghazi attack. FBI investigators are still combing through video and other evidence gathered from largely lawless eastern Libya, he said.
Kerry, however, didn't say if any suspect has yet been arrested, detained or otherwise targeted by American or Libyan authorities — a lingering black eye for an administration that has repeatedly promised justice.
"We are making progress," Kerry said. "There's video, as you all know. We have identified people. And they are building a case."
The former Massachusetts senator, testifying before Congress for the first time as secretary of state, fielded several angry questions from Republican lawmakers over the administration's diplomatic security posture ahead of the attack and its real-time response to violence in a city that served as the base for the U.S.-backed rebels who overthrew dictator Moammar Gadhafi a year-and-a-half ago. They included President Barack Obama's oft-repeated but until now entirely unfulfilled declaration to hold Benghazi's perpetrators accountable.
Kerry repeated his boss' pledge to "do what was necessary to bring somebody to justice," without elaborating on the progress he cited.