August 25th, 2011
11:22 PM ET

Smitten Gadhafi? Rebels find Condoleezza Rice photo book

We'd long heard that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi admired former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. In 2007, he called her "Leeza ... my darling black African woman" whom he loved "very much."

Just words? Perhaps. Or maybe, as a discovery this week suggests, he really was quite impressed.

Rebels ransacking his Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli found a photo album of Rice, The New York Times reports.

A description of the album, from the Times:

"There she is, in one (picture), smiling off to the side, her flip-do accented perfectly for the camera. And there she is in another, smiling next to you-know-who during that visit to Tripoli. He is wearing a flowing white robe with purple sash and Africa pin; she looks more businesslike in a gray pinstripe suit with white pearls, her flip-do having given way to a page-boy bob."

Rice was with the Bush administration when the United States restored relations with Libya in 2005, after Gadhafi decided to abandon his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, renounce terrorism and compensate victims of a 1986 disco bombing in Berlin and the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.

In a 2007 interview with Al Jazeera, Gadhafi said this about Rice:

"I support my darling, black African woman. ... I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders. ... I love her very much. I admire her, and I'm proud of her because she's a black woman of African origin."

Gadhafi met with Rice the next year, when Rice made the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state to Libya in more than 50 years. CNN's Elise Labott reported on their meeting in a reception room at Gadhafi’s Tripoli compound:

"Gadhafi, wearing a white robe and a black fez but not his trademark dark sunglasses, shook the hands of the male members of Rice's staff but not Rice, instead offering the traditional greeting of his hand over his heart for her," Labott reported in her piece, noting that Muslim men are prohibited from shaking hands with women to whom they are not related.

Rice's office, when reached by CNN on Thursday for reaction to the photo album, said she'd reserve comment until the release of her book on November 1.

Fouad Ajami, a Middle East expert, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and an outspoken critic of Gadhafi, provided some context regarding why Gadhafi would stress Rice's African roots and comment on her dealings with Arab leaders.

"He ... fancied himself at one point as something of an African," Ajami told CNN's Joe Johns on Thursday. "He basically said at one point that Libya is an African country, (that) it has nothing to do with the Arabs. And he dubbed himself king of the kings of Africa, and he turned his back on the Arabs."

Ajami said he wouldn't think Rice is thrilled.

"Secretary Rice is an esteemed colleague ... at Hoover and something of a friend, so I don't think she's flattered by this," Ajami told Johns on "The Situation Room."

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Filed under: Condoleezza Rice • Libya
soundoff (553 Responses)
  1. mtdHouston

    "I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders."
    How misguided. If African leaders would actually be concerned about their people, that would be a breakthrough.
    CORRUPTION: find a continent or a moment in history when it has not been the greatest downfall of humanity.

    August 26, 2011 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. Chester

    perhaps they should have the pages of this album tested for DNA..... He might have also left fingerprints that could be useful now that he's a fugitive.

    August 26, 2011 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  3. benderover

    Obviously he has a good taste for S@#T

    August 26, 2011 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
    • disjustin

      Obviously you like bending over and being on your knees!!! Ugly is as Ugly can be]

      August 26, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. raven

    LOL! @ Andrea M.

    August 26, 2011 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    Gadhafi at least has good taste in women..

    August 26, 2011 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. Chris from California

    Homie got jungle feva!

    August 26, 2011 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jason

    I wonder if every crazy despot that is ever removed from power will also have their facebook and e-mails made public. Maybe their diary, too. It seems this whole rebellion was like a bigger brother bullying his little sister. Hilarious.

    August 26, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. johnsmith

    corruption made the country hollow.

    August 26, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. Just Me

    Ohhhhh...If he had not committed genocide Ghadaffi would be sort of a nutty uncle that every family would love to have around<<

    August 26, 2011 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. raven

    And Greg..LMAO!

    August 26, 2011 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. Homer

    More propaganda. CNN always has these turncoat 'experts' giving their CIA advised 'opinions' to be presented as truth and the voice of those who do not speak. Shame on you CNN.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Ch. Ali Ghafoor

      why these are not aware of this propaganda? I don't claim gadhaffi character but after gadhaffi libya will be no more a previously in iraq.

      August 26, 2011 at 3:21 am | Report abuse |
    • BOB

      Don't forget to look under your bed tonight. I'm sure a CIA agent is there to kill you as you sleep.

      August 26, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mojtba

    On this so called story, all Helene Cooper, NY Times, and CNN producers need to get a life. Going through his possessions to find new stories to write about is fine and expected. But don’t you think, as media reporters, you should find/write about more valuable stories to shade light about Gaddafi’s corruption, crimes, come-backs to the international arena after Lockerbie bombing and who helped him and represented him to the world again as “oh he is acting better and reforming” and how it’s been done. The guy is a goldmine of interesting stories, and that is the only story you cared to write about today?!

    August 26, 2011 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. Techi In US

    I was never a Fan of Gadhafi but it’s funny how the west loves him one day and the next he is strange, odd etc… After all it was leaders from EU and US who were flying there to make oil deals just few years ago. I don’t think there is anything strange in admiring the secretary of state. Too much is being made of this photo album. I don’t think he was romantically fascinated by her. He was just proud of this successful black women.
    Now that he is unpopular and on the run every one wants to distance him/her self from him.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
    • BOB

      The West loved him? Speak for yourself, dude.

      August 26, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sam

    The plot just gets thicker.. lol.. Gotta love pictures, they say a million words.. lol

    August 26, 2011 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
  15. apartisan

    Close-up pix of Gadhafi have an ick factor - his eyes look like he' been heavily drugged for decades.

    Whereas, Condi is a classy lady. But, was an awful National Security Advisor, with 9/11 on her watch.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
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