"The educational internship, which consisted of publicly available information, was aligned with our efforts to improve quality of life, specifically in Libya, where we were advancing public infrastructure such as access to clean water; quality housing; safe and efficient roads and bridges; reliable and affordable energy; and related projects that create jobs and opportunity," the company said, noting that the State Department "was aware of, and approved, all meetings."
AECOM did not fund the internship, the statement said, and was not paid for it.
Representatives at the Port of Houston, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Kellogg School of Management, Northrop Grumman and the New York Stock Exchange confirmed to ABC News Khamis' visit to their institutions. Representatives for Google, Intel and Apple did not immediately return requests for comment. Universal Studios declined to comment. Lockheed Martin also declined to say whether company officials met with Khamis, but said the company "frequently meets with customers, both foreign and domestic, to discuss their current and future needs… All such meetings are done in full compliance with U.S. laws and regulations."
Khamis' visit was not the first time the U.S. has welcomed members of Gadhafi's regime with open arms. A secret diplomatic cable from December 2009 posted on the website WikiLeaks referred to an offer from the U.S. government inviting Khamis to "travel around the United States to tour U.S. military installations."
In the same cable, an unidentified Libyan government representative was "surprised by the number of military exchange an training opportunities on offer," but the cable said there had been no response to many offers.
Just after Khamis was in the U.S. in February, after widespread protests had already begun in Benghazi, a team of U.S. Air Force maintenance experts conducted a seminar for nearly 50 members of the Libyan air force at a Libyan air base in Tripoli that was "hoped to lead to a continuing training program for Libyan air force maintenance experts," according to a report by the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.
The reported noted, "In the last 18 months, the United States and Libya have made great strides regarding military cooperation," including the signing of a defense Memorandum of Understanding.
In September 2009, three senior Libyan military officers were hosted at the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Germany in hopes of helping the U.S. and Libya "build their military relationship," according to a report by U.S. Africa Command, which is now playing a key role in operations against Gadhafi forces in Libya.
Though U.S. trade policy towards Libya does not allow the import or export of lethal "defense articles," in 2008 and 2009 alone U.S. companies exported over $60 million in military wares to Libya, mostly aircraft equipment, according to two State Department reports. Part of the 2008 deal included more than $1 million in explosives. ForeignAssistance.gov notes that over the past three years, the U.S. government has also given more than $5 million in direct foreign aid to Libya -- a practice that has been put on hold due to the "current violence and instability."