About the Show

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

The latest news on the crisis in Ukraine, plus a look at the technology aiding in search for Flight 370.

The latest news on the crisis in Ukraine, plus a look at the technology aiding in search for Flight 370.

December 5th, 2013
06:52 PM ET

Analyst: Family of American teacher slain in Benghazi may never get answers

(CNN) - An American teacher working in Benghazi, Libya, awoke this morning, put on his running shoes like he's probably done countless other mornings, and went out for a jog.

But Ronnie Smith never returned home.

Gunmen shot and killed Smith right in the streets of Benghazi. At this point, it's not known who did this, or why Smith might have been targeted.

The Smith family will likely want justice, and answers. But in a place like Libya, they may never know what really happened.

"It's pretty unlikely, perhaps," said terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank. "Very, very difficult for the FBI to get over to places like Benghazi. Very difficult even for the Libyan central government to actually operate in Benghazi."

Benghazi is the city where terrorists attacked U.S. diplomatic posts on September 11 last year, killing U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. No one has been arrested for the attack - in fact, the Libyan government has barred the FBI from entering the country to make arrests.

The government there has struggled enormously since the four-decade reign of Moammar Gadhafi came to a bloody end. Armed militant groups, and easy access to weapons, make it an extremely dangerous place.

American-born al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn has called for attacks on westerners in retaliation for the arrest of Abu Anas al-Libi in Libya.

Investigators "are definitely looking at a possible connection" to Smith's murder, says Cruickshank.

"Benghazi is a city where there's a strong presence of groups who have sympathy with al Qaeda groups, who are linked to al Qaeda, including the group thought responsible for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in September 2012," said Cruickshank.

"These groups which have extended their influence across eastern Libya, entrenched their position over the last year," he said.

One encouraging trend in the last couple weeks has been the people of Benghazi rising up against Islamist groups, so "it's possible they may be pressured to actually leave the city in the coming months," said Cruickshank.

Smith was running on the street, when gunmen pulled up in a car next to him, and shot him as he was running, CNN's Nic Roberts reports. There are some indications that perhaps they moved up next to him, moved back, moved up, and shot him.

He was shot in cold blood, no chance of self-defense.

Posted by , ,
Filed under: World Lead
soundoff (No Responses)

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.