Son of Libyan leader visited Houston in January

March 25, 2011 2:39:42 PM PDT
We have a picture of a guy taken at the Port of Houston in January. The government says he had a blood thirsty role in the massacre of civilians in Libya. 13 undercover is exposing why he was here and how you helped pay for part of it. It's the photo op the Port of Houston is trying to explain. It's another 13 Undercover exclusive.

Just weeks before the US attacked Libya, a key Libyan was here at the Port of Houston doing a photo op the port is probably regretting now.

In the photo, you can see the chairman of the Port of Houston posing with a man who's got a pretty infamous dad -- Moammar Gadhafi. He's pretty infamous in his own right.

Khamis Gadhafi was wearing a suit and tie the day the photo was snapped in late January, but he wears another hat back home in Libya. He's the commander of a brutal brigade named after him, and he's accused of hiring mercenaries to massacre civilians in Misurata last month.

So why was this special forces commander allowed in to one of Houston's most sensitive sites for possible terrorism?

It turns out the Port of Houston was hitting up Gadhafi's son up for some foreign business, trying to cut a consulting deal to do work at Libya's ports.

And you paid for all the photos, the catered lunch. The day included a virtual tour of port facilities, from the government structure to security, even a trip to inspect our cargo terminal.

On Thursday night, the port refused to give us any official to talk to us on camera about the Libyan visit but in a statement told us in recent years, the United States government has eased diplomatic relations with Libya.

Port Authority representatives have traveled to Libyan ports, and the Port Authority entered into informal agreements to encourage future trade with the region.

Hindsight maybe 20-20, but with worries Libya might now retaliate with a campaign of terror for what the U.S. and its allies are doing to that country, giving Gadhafi's brutal son details about one of the nation's largest ports could be a problem.

Hopefully Khamis didn't have time to relay what he learned because a couple of days ago he was killed, supposedly by a kamikaze rebel pilot.

But he wasn't the only member of the Libyan delegation shown in a group shot with the head honchos of the Port of Houston.

We've learned from WikiLeaks cables that the US government once invited the Libyan special forces commander to tour US military facilities.

This is a developing story.

Houston's aviation department confirms they met with Gadhafi's son on the late January trip for an hour at the request of the Port. The focus of the meeting was a possible direct flight between Houston and Tripoli. There was a tour, but an airport spokesman says it was of just the airport perimeter and no sensitive areas.

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Statement from Lisa K. Ashley, director of corporate communications, at the Port of Houston Authority:

In January 2011, prior to the recent unrest in Libya, the Port of Houston Authority granted a request to meet with Khamis Gadhafi during an educational visit he made to the United States. The Port Authority was among a number of national and local institutions visited by Mr. Gadhafi in the course of an internship associated with his Masters of Business Administration. During his visit, he toured several Port Authority facilities and received briefings on trade relations.

In recent years, the United States government has eased diplomatic relations with Libya. In 2010, in conjunction with U.S. efforts to encourage trade with Libya, the U.S. entered into a bilateral trade agreement with Libya. Port Authority representatives have traveled to Libyan ports, and the Port Authority entered into informal agreements to encourage future trade with the region.

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