Obama on Libya Aftermath: US Was 'Not Sufficiently Attentive'

President Obama said the U.S. did not properly handle the aftermath in Libya.

ByABC News
August 2, 2016, 1:15 PM

— -- President Obama reiterated today that the United States did not properly handle the aftermath in Libya -- a striking statement made in the midst of the ongoing presidential campaign as Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has yet to make the same acknowledgement.

“I think that all of us collectively were not sufficiently attentive to what had to happen the day after, and the day after, and the day after that in order to ensure that there were strong structures in place to assure basic security and peace inside of Libya,” Obama said in a press conference with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In an interview with Fox News earlier this year, the president cited the lack of planning for Libya post-intervention as the worst mistake of his presidency.

“Probably failing to plan for the day after, what I think was the right thing to do, in intervening in Libya,” he said.

In today’s press conference, the president defended the new air campaign in Libya, saying it was requested by the United Nations-backed government and vital in the fight against ISIS.

“It is in America’s national security interest in our fight against ISIL to make sure that they are able to finish the job, so we are working in partnership with them to assure that ISIL does not get a stronghold in Libya even as Libya begins what is going to be a slog -- a long process to establish a functioning government and security system there,” he said.

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