WASHINGTON, April 5, 2011 (AFP) - The FBI is questioning Libyans living in the United States in a bid to identify spies or agents, and obtain information useful for the allied campaign, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
The intelligence-gathering campaign also aims to disclosing any potential revenge attacks planned or encouraged by longtime Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi against US citizens, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. But the FBI is not responding to intelligence about any specific plots.
FBI agents, who began their interviews this week, are initially focusing on people with personal or professional ties to Libya, it added, noting early estimates put the number of potential interviewees in the thousands.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is focusing on those Libyans remaining in the United States on visas, people involved in the matter told the newspaper.
Other objectives of the effort allegedly include finding any individuals seeking to gather intelligence in the United States on behalf of Kadhafi and obtaining information about Libya that could help US and allied military personnel involved in the bombing campaign there.
CIA personnel are allegedly already in Libya gathering intelligence about Kadhafi forces and the opposition.
The Journal compared the FBI's Libya campaign to Operation Darkening Clouds, which was launched in 2003 at the outset of the US-led invasion of Iraq. Information was obtained on over 130,000 people for that effort.