A son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi toured U.S. ports and military facilities just weeks before he helped lead deadly attacks on rebels protesting his father's authoritarian regime.Gennaro said the State Department approved the trip.
Khamis Gadhafi, 27, spent four weeks in the U.S. as part of an internship with AECOM, a global infrastructure company with deep business interests in Libya, according to Paul Gennaro, AECOM's Senior Vice President for Global Communications. The trip was to include visits to the Port of Houston, Air Force Academy, National War College and West Point, Gennaro said.
The West Point visit was canceled on Feb. 17, when the trip was cut short and Gadhafi returned to Libya, Gennaro said. The uprising there began with a series of protests on Feb. 15.
State department officials denied any role in planning, advising or paying for the trip.
"We did greet him at the airport. That is standard courtesy for the son of the leader of a country," said State Department spokesman Mark Toner. Toner said the government was aware of Gadhafi's itinerary, but "did not sign off on it."
AECOM was not paid to arrange the trip, and did not pay for related expenses, Gennaro said. He said the trip was arranged at the request of a Libyan, whom he declined to name.