Gadhafi Family 'Felt That They Had to Quiet Everyone': How One American Woman Became a Gadhafi Insider

Jacqueline Frazier was hired by the Gadhafis to bring in foreign investments

ByKatie Hinman
October 20, 2011, 9:05 PM

Oct. 20, 2011— -- At first blush, Jacqueline Frazier, a 32-year-old blonde American, originally from Vermont, hardly strikes you as someone occupying a slot in the inner circle of the Gadhafi family.

But for the past seven months, she watched from an insider's perch as the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi slowly unraveled.

Her connection to the Gadhafi family began when a mutual friend introduced her to one of Gadhafi's sons, Saadi Gadhafi.

Saadi Gadhafi had long been considered a playboy, even among his high-living family. He had left Libya for Europe, where he had a brief and unspectacular career as a professional soccer player. But he had recently returned to Libya with the intention of helping create new business in his home country.

"I was hired to be a liaison between incoming American companies for a project he was working on," Frazier told "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview.

She described the first time she stepped off the plane in Tripoli as "surreal."

"Very few women were out and about on the streets and in my environment as I kind of navigated the streets of Tripoli," Frazier said.

However, Frazier said she felt welcomed by the Libyan people as soon as she arrived.

"People are very warm there. They love foreigners," she said. "Everywhere you go they're welcoming in Libya. They love anyone who is coming in. It shows, I think, a sign of prosperity that their country is coming up…maybe a blonde American woman represents the future to them."

As foreign investments rolled into the country, Frazier said she felt good about the future of Libya and that she was always treated well by the Gadhafis.

"As a Westerner, I didn't feel the oppression or the kind of culture of paranoia that you would as a typical Libyan," she said. "So I saw the best parts of Libya."

The Gadhafis have been known for their family dysfunction, something that Frazier revealed she saw firsthand early on into her relationship with them.

"I knew there was a lot of competition," she said. "You can't imagine when you add the kind of financial background that the Gadhafis have, that it wouldn't just be outrageous, which it is. There's a lot of sibling rivalry."

The Gadhafi sons would vie for their father's attention, Frazier said, and the chance to prove to him that they were good leaders and successful businessmen.

"There were times when he would favor one son, and that son would feel very confident," she said. "Then the father would change favor and favor another son, and that created issues within the family. It created fissures within their family."

Soon, Frazier's concerns were much bigger than Gadhafi family dynamics. Within months of her arrival in Libya, there were the stirrings of a revolution in the east of the country. Frazier said the Gadhafis seemed unconcerned.

"When Tunisia fell and when Egypt fell, we were actually in the east of the country and we talked about that," she said. "We were in the east of the country, but one of the things the American companies -- my job was to find out, and to help these investments. These people were having significant investments in Libya, and they wanted to know what the Libyan government was doing to protect those interests, ultimately, with two countries on both sides falling. So I asked the question many times, 'what is your plan? What is happening?' and I found nothing."

The severity of the uprising became apparent to her, Frazier said, when she and Saadi Gadhafi were doing a tour of Benghazi, an eastern city that later became the base of rebel operations.

"We knew that the social networks had decided that there was going to be a February 17th day of revolution," she said. "We were kind of waiting in anticipation of that, and I was waiting with bated breath to see what happened next."

"It wasn't scary until the day after it happened, after the revolution," Frazier continued. "Where we knew things were really starting to move, and yes, that was scary."

But Frazier said as the revolution heated up, Gadhafi's world got smaller and his delusions grew.

"I think he thinks he's a deity," she said. "I think he's very cunning, I think he's very smart, and I think he's very charismatic and very dangerous…it was also clear to me how out of touch with reality he was."

Her attempts to try and warn the family that the country -- and the world -- was turning against them, fell on deaf ears.

"I told them not only that they weren't liked, but that ultimately, they would win by playing this in a Western way," Frazier said. "Which is not to shut down and become closed off and to not allow journalists to interview people who have voices of dissention, because they were -- in their culture, in their mind, any voice of dissention is bad. They felt that they had to quiet everyone."

In the end, it was the Gadhafis that were silenced -- the dictator dead, and his son Saadi Gadhafi, Frazier's one-time boss, under house arrest in the African nation of Niger -- a fate she had predicted.

"I'm absolutely not surprised," she said. "There's only two ways for them to end up, and that's dead or in jail."

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