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Wolf Blitzer delivers the most important breaking news and political, international, and national security stories of the day. Tune to The Situation Room weekdays 5-6:30pm ET on CNN.

August 23rd, 2011
04:35 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: U.S. handing over frozen Libyan assets to new govt.

By CNN's Wolf Blitzer

(CNN) - This is one of those historic moments in world history, and, once again, we’re seeing it unfold live on television. Our intrepid CNN correspondents, including Sara Sidner, Matthew Chance, and Arwa Damon, and their crews and producers are risking their lives to bring us the story. Like all of you, I am very worried about their safety. Their work is amazing.

In the midst of all of this, we’re getting new information on what’s going on from the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice. I just interviewed her.

She said the United States soon will start unfreezing some of the $33 billion in Libyan assets being held by the United States and will start handing over significant amounts to the Libyan National Transitional Council, which the United States now recognizes as the legitimate Libyan government.

Rice says it’s up to the Libyans to decide whether to try Gadhafi inside Libya or send him to the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands. She says the United States has confidence in the reliability of the NTC even though its credibility has been seriously questioned after word surfaced that two of Gadhafi’s sons are free after NTC spokesmen had insisted they had been captured. Still, Rice insists NTC officials with whom she has met are “credible and responsible.”

Like other U.S. officials, she is concerned about the security of Libya’s chemical weapons supplies. “We continue to watch it carefully,” she says.

There have been reports that the Libyan military has lots of sarin and mustard gas in storage. The last thing the world needs now is for some of those canisters to be handed over to unsavory characters.

Finally, she expressed concern about the journalists stuck at the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli. “We’re monitoring it closely,” she says.

I’m not sure what – if anything – the U.S. government can do to help those journalists. It’s obviously very tense and worrisome.

Live blog: Rebels say Gadhafi forces firing back on own compound after it was seized

Post by:
Filed under: Libya • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. dgagel

    Just heard your question re: FEMA response to VA governor> "Do you have everything you need or has the federal government not shown up?" Really? Your agenda is showing, Wolf. Where did you learn your journalism–Fox?

    August 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  2. Jimmy russell

    The subject is frozen funds from someone elses mineral rights,not the quakes that are increasing in numbers. You were warned about those before jesus was born. As for libya mineral rights i call on america to transfer those funds to the united nations so that the money is not used as political propaganda. Barak obama i suport you as long as you dont allow their oil money to be used to create another economic allusion like the previous administration did with iraq oil money. Lets talk about the $778,000,000,000 that iraq withdrew from usa banks the same time as the first bank calapsed. I dont want another housing bubble created with libya oil money. That was teatarded

    August 26, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  3. Kemberely Chaudhry

    Find Stephen DeDakis
    This is Stephen: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1092210040 Help us find him.

    August 25, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  4. Jerry

    I'm curious, Wolf. Who among the freed journalists were not foreign?

    August 24, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  5. joesmith

    part of the 33 billion was released..$1.6 million of which is offered as a reward for the capture or death of gadhfi..wasn't there 25 million on the head of bin laden, but no one ever turned him in..why will this be different..

    August 24, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  6. RobK

    Just like in Iraq and other cases where the US has been involved. It is fairly easy to depose the tyrant. It is quite another to stabilize the country and have a functioning government form. To do that, you need boots on the ground. Who is going to do that?

    August 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  7. Rev. Emmanuel Dumay

    Wolf, regarding Libya, it's a political "tohu bohu", where neither Ghadafi nor the rebels are in charge. It is total chaos and uncertainty. In the case of Iraq, the U.S. multinational coalition forces that toppled Sadam Hussein fomented an interim post Hussein government. So with respect for the Obama administration I think a U.S. military presence in Tripoli would pave the way for an emerging post Ghadafi regime. The rebels have already crossed the Cuburon, no one wish their momentum to fade away. Col. Ghadafi will hide himself in a spider role, if he learns that the Americans are coming. Otherwise I don't see how stability will take place.

    August 24, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Jim Skaine

      American forces in Libya? No. But if they were there, the T.E.A. would have a great time with them.
      By the way, why do Wolf and David Gergen never have an unqualified positive comment about President Obama. I don't understand it and I have listened for one since 2009

      August 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Bob in Pa

      Amen !
      Nothing should be handed over to any group in Libya until they have formed a fully functional Government and we see that the people approve of it.

      August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  8. Hypercat

    It's interesting to try and understand the real role of the US Ambassador to the UN. Reading about Susan Rice on Wikipedia was somewhat informative, but for a real eye-opener follow the link on that Wikipedia page to the link about GW Bush's Ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad.

    August 24, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
  9. Linda Harris

    I felt the earthquake in Detroit. About 1:45pm I noticed I was swaying back and forth as I was reading a book at the kitchen table. I knew something was wrong and turned on CNN. They were reporting Libya then within minutes switched to DC and reported an earthquake. I know I felt it...just a slow swaying back and forth. I heard they felt it in Toledo....that is just an hour and a half away.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  10. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Donald trump, the golden boy of the Republicans, says we should keep the assets for ourselves, and go in by force and claim their oil as the spoils of war.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Dr. Who

      Why do you hate so much ?
      You need some Anger Management Therapy Mr. Taliban.

      August 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  11. Bob Hazy

    How about the first $1.1B of Libyan funds repatriated (i.e. our stake in the NATO campaign) be in the form of goods purchased from US firms (food stuffs, farm equipment, computers) - harder to embezzle and produces a little bump to our economy in the process .... (it might be a tiny bit illegal, but hey - they were ill-gotten gains to begin with).

    August 24, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  12. Grim Reaper

    Why don't they hold on handing over any money until the journalists are freed and an assessment can be made of any sarin and mustard gas. Or is anyone interested in hearing about 'weapons of mass destruction' again.

    August 24, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  13. Jerry

    This woman is just as clueless, if not more so, than her boss. OK Nobamamites you are now allowed to come out of the woodwork!

    August 24, 2011 at 6:15 am |
  14. Angie

    How ironic if Ghadafi were safe in the hotel with the journalists.

    August 24, 2011 at 5:15 am |
    • Dr. Who

      LOL, we all watched the raids in Iraq on CNN live, if nothing else, Gadhafi had to of learned that is the safest place to be.

      August 24, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  15. dixon

    Now it is clear that Gadhafi has lost power.Another most important thing is to recover all weapons fron the rebels and pro-Gadhafi supporters as soon as possible. Otherwise some mischievours characters will take advantage of the current situation by using these guns in causing more trouble like we saw in Iraq.

    August 23, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  16. Kemberely Chaudhry

    It is a scary situation, especially with the journalists being held at the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli, my thoughts and prayers are with them and pray they return home safely. Thanks Wolf for the post!

    August 23, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
  17. Johnny

    Seeing the headline, "Blitzer: Handing over frozen assets", I thought...

    Wolf Blitzer is handing over his frozen assets?

    August 23, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  18. Its over

    No doubt Mr. Obama is getting his cut.

    August 23, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
  19. david Shaw

    Hi Just seen Sarah Sidner in tripo;i being asked how you tell the difference between real and celebratory gunfire with ther replying with words to the effect of 'Well, Wolf when it's real you can feel the bulletts whizzing past you' I've never been shot at thank goodness, but I wonder. How close does a bullet have to be before you can feel it going past?

    You all should give that woman a friggin raise. Whatever she's gettin paid, believe me..... It aint enough!!

    August 23, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  20. fandango

    The journalists knew the risks when they went there. Now they suffer the consequences like all the rest of the curious. My concern is why the USA can't deduct our expenses form that frozen fund? Why should the US taxpayers have to foot the bill for someone else's freedom? They wanted our help, they got it, now the people of Libya need to pay us and Nato for our expenses, at least.

    August 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • CanYouBackThatUpWithFacts?

      I agree.

      August 24, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  21. Chad Mishra

    Please there is some thing very wrong with evacuation order in your building.

    August 23, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  22. Chad Mishra

    Wolf: today during the earth quake the announcement you recived in the 7th floor of your building, in Washington, DC was wrong : Evacuate, Evacuate... The rule is that when it come to Hi – Rise building, If you are inside the building , you remain inside the building, if you are next to it, get inside; but if you are out side and in a bit distance, you remain outside. The rational it out side the building, falling parts of the building will heart you more often than if you remaine in side the building.
    This event tells me how much Emergency work has to be done in our nation. I can be reached at 206-329-2943...Chad

    I am a Safety Professional!

    August 23, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  23. Dave

    Are the frozen funds earning any interest? I am surprised that Obama and Congress has not procured the funds someway and spent them, forcing the US tax payer to have to caugh up the cash to pay the Lybians back.

    August 23, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  24. PM

    Trade the money for the gasses and weapons!

    August 23, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  25. Cracker

    what about the revolution in Iceland? i heard the People rejected the debt of the bankers, were able to eject corporate viruses from their Government and have reclaimed their freedom. and not a shot was fired. why is this not news? Just curious?

    August 23, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  26. Hypercat

    Thanks, Wolf. I'm so glad to know that Susan Rice "insists" that the rebels are "credible and reponsible" rebels. It's good to know that the man who just overran your country with a free NATO rifle can be trusted. Let's give them a few of the other party's billions and see what they do with it. I'm guessing they will buy more weapons and begin a new round of oppression, but now with higher oil prices that benefit the few who sell the oil over the many that use it. At least we will have Ms. Rice to make sure "We're monitering it closely", or was it "watching it carefully." I am so sorry to see you as their spokesman, Mr Blitzer. There was a time long ago, before your post at CNN, when you stood for honesty, and not just sound bites. And in fact so did CNN. But, somehow, 9/11, Abu Gahrab, and Guantanamo changed all of that and now we have to live with this drivel as news. I'm afraid the entire, real America will never be seen again.

    August 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • Hypercat

      My apologies, Wolf. My memory was a little off when I wrote my post last night. It was you at CNN in the days of the first gulf war and beyond that made CNN a great news network. The Top-of-the-Hour report allowed us to tune to CNN at any time and find out what the news was, not like now, when I can tune to CNN at just about any time to learn someone else's opinion about something that might be news. And then there are the ranters! What makes them worthy of air time on a news network. But now I am harping on CNN. I am sure you would rather see high-quality news readers and reporters over Nancy Grace any day. But you don't have to admit it. I know you have a good job and want to keep it. Kudos for being the man on the spot in the '90s. That plastic decade looks so real now. Little did we know what would come.

      August 24, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  27. taxpayer

    have we determined what group or groups make up the new government? is Al Queda among them? If we haven't why are we giving them the funds back without finding out first?

    August 23, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  28. steve

    Vacations for everyone, lol – Graft, Corruption – here it comes – don't you know – Money is the ROOT of ALL EVIL, LOL

    August 23, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Hypercat

      Well, we'll just give them a couple of billion $s to start with. LOL. I'm sure our trusted government officials will be "watching it closely." Closely enough at least to make sure they get their cut.

      August 24, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  29. Jim Thomas

    Until Kadafi is dead there is no guarantee about anything over there.We cannot even trust the rebels as we donot know which direction they are going to turn.We cannot even trust them either.Jim Thomas Phx.Az.

    August 23, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  30. usaf2

    I have noticed that everytime your write a comment about Blitzer's Article the comment must be modified and clear before posting?

    August 23, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Hypercat

      I haven't found any of my comments to be modified, which would be unacceptable, but they do take a short time to be approved and made public. That's understandable considering the foul language and hateful comments what we see posted on some other open forums. CNN has a strong investment in individuals like Wolf Blitzer. Their reputation needs to be protected and their position respected.

      August 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  31. usaf2

    too much conflict of interest here for Blitzer (The Wooolf in a Armani Suit) to write any article on the Middle East, he is one sided bias actor and should be working for Steven Spielberg in Hollywoooood

    August 23, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  32. obama retoric

    once again the liberal hound dog Blitzer speaks and weaves lies in the media, maybe you should read the real polls that show that any unnamed GOPer could beat obama today, for once it would be nice to see the bias liberal media spaek the truth, but hell hasnt froze over yet so it will no time soon and liberal Blitzer will spin more lies.

    August 23, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  33. Byo

    Wolf,
    In your interview with Mike Rodgers on TSR today, he talked alarmingly about shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons in the possession of Libya. Why were these weapons not used against NATO warplanes in the last 6 months of constant bombardment of Libya. This is just another alarmist congressman. Remember the "weapons of mass destruction" debacle?
    In

    August 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  34. BOB NELSON

    WOLF, WHY DO YOU ALWAYS START MAKING THE NEWS. WHY DO YOU GIVE EVERYONE THE IDEA OF HOW TO OR WHAT IF. WHY EVEN DISCUSS THE MUSTARD GAS ETC. YOU TRY AND PANIC PEOPLE. THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME YOU STARTED ON THE MUSTARD GAS. YOU HAVE MENTIONED IT MANY TIMES. I LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE LOOKING FOR MORE NEWS. THROW ANOTHER LOG ON THE FIRE.

    August 23, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  35. Eric

    Wolf, do you really think its a good idea to have the Chairman of the IC Mr. Rogers go on and on about how terrified we should all be about the chemical weapons that may or may not exsist in Libya? "1000's of ground -air missles"? why were they not used? Actually i found that interview to be almost criminal. A congressman in his position should NOT be on CNN yelling the sky is falling and CNN should not give idiots like him a soap box to spew from.

    August 23, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  36. Jimmy russell

    During the iraq war the usa purchaced iraq oil for resale. The money was withdrawn in augest of 2008. About 775 billion,i didnt document the exact number. I hope you will help prevent future loans to be made with other peoples money. It incourages war and oil thieft. September,a mounth after iraq withdrew their money the first bank went under. The problem was the money was loaned out in a housing bubble. Write your politicians and tell them,no more economic allusions. I knew their trust in others was based on their ability to be trusted.

    August 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  37. como1

    sic "or non beliefs". So damn mad about this I can not see straight.

    August 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  38. como1

    Why is this government handing over the frozen assets? The Lockerbie victims and the other victims around the world of Libyan sponsored terrorism should be compensated IN FULL first. This makes me puke. This is not a Dem or a Repub issue it is what the US government does to play politics at the expense of victims of muslim terrorism to curry favor with the radical bigots in Islam. Fair minded people of all faiths and beliefs of non beliiefs should protest this garbage and demand victim compensation FIRST!!!

    August 23, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  39. Doyle

    It's good to know that Mr. Gadhafi has finally overstayed his welcome in Libya. I certainly hope that the Libyans get some much-needed peace when uproar is over. At least they will have some money to start their new government with. There is one thing that bothers me about the Libyans, and that is why they did not go after Gadhafi a very long time ago. Anyway, I sure hope that Libya will be better off soon.

    August 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  40. Jason

    Why are we in a hurry to hand over those funds? How about we pay for the expense of freeing Lybia with those funds. The American taxpayer had no interest in this. Why did the president do this? The US tax payer is getting more angry every day about how the government spends it's money. Be ready for another shift to the right next November.

    August 23, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  41. richardandrew

    great job from all the reporters in libya congratulations but we have to praay for all of them

    August 23, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  42. ben gaida

    Indeed the arsenal of chemical weapons need to watched very closely by nato forces and my gut feelings tells that gadafi is somewhere in tchad

    August 23, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  43. mark turner

    Wolf...It occurs to me (as regards the east coasts' recent quake) that some inquiries and possible follow-up reports might be warranted as regards potential structural damages and/or integrity of major thoroughfares under and over waterways/rivers since they are routinely used by public transit. Are tunnels and bridges intact? Are subway systems safe? What about caves/mines...such as West Virginia and Virginian mines of various sorts. Are miners safe...is the strata unaffected by the recent quake and subsequent after tremors/shocks?...Etc. Just a thought, for what it's worth.

    August 23, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  44. LadyGagaIsNotAVirgin

    What is Gadhafi being tried for? Shooting unarmed civilians? If that is the case they they better head to Syria next as at last count I believe more (unarmed) civilians have been slaughtered there than what took place in Libya.

    August 23, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  45. Phil

    I hope the US waits to see who is really in charge before they hand over the $33 billion in Libyan assests.

    August 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  46. Melissa

    I know all.......

    August 23, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  47. Boogder

    Congradulations US, I mean Libya.... With over 1,200 air strikes and over 101 drone strikes you did it all by yourselves!

    August 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  48. Lynn L. Bandy

    Wolf,

    You ask, 'Where is Gadhafi?' Did anyone think of looking in Pakistan?

    August 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  49. May

    Right. Under the old regime, we did not have any of the chemicals 'leaked', who knows how stable or unstable this new bunch of people is? Who knows what they might do, just because they can.

    August 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  50. The reporters are not the news

    " Like all of you, I am very worried about their safety"

    Actually Wolf, I am really more thinking of the Libyans. Your colleagues chose their occupation and location and while I wish them no ill I can't honestly say that it would distress me if they ran afoul of a WAR IN A WAR ZONE.

    Get over yourselves. You are not the news.

    August 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  51. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAliban

    This is good news. If it were up to the Donald, he'd be trying to steal their oil and pocket the money.

    August 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  52. caye mitchell

    I was so shocked today to feel the Earthquake here in louisville,KY on the 12th floor,The whole building shook I was very startled.We were all okay and I really couldn't concentrate after that.

    Where is Gadhafi and his family?
    Thanks Mr .Blitzer

    August 23, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  53. Steve Clausen

    I see that the big news today is the earthquake in Vergina. I'm quesing that because it was in the D.C. area it's big new; far bigger than that small quake in Colorado. There is quite a bit more news going on in this country other than in D.C..

    August 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  54. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Before the no fly zone, President Obama made sure all American and foreign citizens were able to leave Lybia but these journalist either decided to stay or re-enter later at their own risk. I pray for their safety because they all do a great job keeping us informed.

    August 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm |

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