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Lawmaker urges US to cut aid to Tunisia over blocked access to Libya terror suspect

Republican Rep. Frank Wolf urged the State Department Tuesday to cut financial ties with Tunisia until it allows the FBI to interview the only suspect known to be held in the deadly Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four Americans.

Tunisian government officials have blocked repeated requests by the FBI to interview Ali Harzi, who was detained at the Turkish border for weeks after the Sept. 11 attack before being returned to his home country.

“These unnecessary and unfounded delays are inexcusable and demonstrate that Tunisia is no friend or ally of the United States,” Wolf wrote in a Dec. 11 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  “How is it possible that Tunisia is receiving more than $300 million in taxpayer dollars while simultaneously obstructing FBI efforts to investigate the death of four Americans?”

Wolf said cutting off funding would send a “strong signal” to the African nation. He added, “Should you fail to cut off this aid, I will take appropriate legislative action to end U.S. aid to Tunisia.”

Tuesday marks the three-month anniversary of the attack. Since then, there have been conflicting reports about what warnings the administration may have been given. Lawmakers have continued to argue about U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice’s initial claim that the attack stemmed from a protest gone wrong.

Clinton is expected to testify before two congressional committees on the attacks.

Last week, Wolf introduced a resolution that would create a select House committee to investigate the attack and the administration’s response. It would be set up like those established during the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals during the 1970s.