Official: Civilian job push for Libyan scientists

By DOUGLAS BIRCH | September 15, 2011 | 5:25 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — A State Department official says the U.S. is trying to revive a program intended to keep Libyan scientists from working for terrorist groups or countries considered hostile to America.

The official says the Obama administration has asked the new Libyan government to allow the U.S. to re-establish contact with hundreds of chemical, biological and nuclear experts who worked in Moammar Gadhafi's weapons of mass destruction programs.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, says Libya's new leaders haven't responded yet.

The U.S. program that tried to steer those scientists into research on desalination, oil and gas production and nuclear medicine was suspended during the fighting that has thrown Gadhafi from power.