FOX News is touting the video below this morning as “jihadis gone wild.” They assert that it depicts Libyan jihadis disporting themselves at what is described as the CIA annex to our embassy in Tripoli. If this is the CIA annex, this must be the double secret pool outside it.
CNN reports on the video in “Libyan militia uses vacated U.S. embassy in Libya as swim club.” In the CNN report, the (vacated) US Ambassador to Libya sounds a little like Baghdad Bob. She conforms that the video depicts an annex to the embassy compound but assures us that all is well. An unnamed State Department official, however, concedes that the situation “remains very fluid” (I’m guessing no pun intended):
Ambassador Deborah Jones, who is not currently in Libya, tweeted that the images appear to show a residential annex in the U.S. Embassy compound. But Jones said “the U.S. Embassy Tripoli chancery & compound is now being safeguarded and has not been ransacked,” and “those who have actually visited the embassy know the truth.”
A spokesman for the General National Congress says the militias securing the U.S. Embassy compound are still there safeguarding it.
“The militias are under the command of the Libyan General Staff, and what happened was not an attack on the embassy grounds, nor was it an attempt to ransack its offices,” Omar Hmaidan said.
“What happened (the frolicking at the pool) was an isolated behavior by some of those who were in charge of protecting the compound. We don’t condone it and we don’t accept it,” he said.
A senior State Department official said the United States is “seeking additional details” about the incident.
“At this point, we believe the Embassy compound itself remains secure but we continue to monitor the situation on the ground, which remains very fluid,” the official said.
The video seems to carry a humiliating message to us in the United States, whose efforts were indispensable to the enjoyment of the jihadis. We are left with the nagging question whether the pool supplies were secured when we abandoned the embassy. As Drudge would say, developing…
UPDATE: David Kirpatrick covers the story here for the Times and also reports that the scene is “a residential compound.” Kirkpatrick goes along with minimizing the significance of the takeover, but he also weirdly reports that the scene results from a “nonviolent invasion” of the compound. He seems to be operating as much in the realm of public relations as journalism.