The September 11th attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya, has caused a political firestorm that has necessitated a multi-agency investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is now turning to Facebook for clues.
The attack, which left four Americans dead, was first painted as a spontaneous incident that occurred during a protest outside the embassy’s gates, but further details have revealed that the embassy bombing was a planned terrorist attack. The fallout has cast a pall over the Obama Administration’s ability to handle foreign security as well as its willingness to deal in a forthright manner with the American public.
Now, with many questions still unanswered, the FBI is scouring Facebook for clues regarding all facets of the attack. The agency has posted “Seeking Information” notices on the website with the hope that somebody will come forward who was in Libya during the attack. The announcement does not detail whether the FBI is using a keyword search to look at messages that don’t come as a direct response to their call for assistance.
The FBI’s interest is not surprising considering a red flag that was raised in October over an Islamic militant group’s Facebook announcement taking credit for the attacks. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dismissed the post as substance without merit that lacked any hard evidence or links to the attack, but it underscores the power of the social media network and the possibility that valuable information may exist in some form on its vast array of servers.
Meanwhile, the families of the victims, including those of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, are asking for answers and are convinced that the Obama Administration is withholding information regarding their deaths. Much of their ire and disappointment is directed at what they see as a disrespectful display of party squabbling and finger-pointing when they should be addressing the facts of the case.