President Obama calls Libyan intervention biggest mistake of his administration

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Obama Says Lack of 'Day After' Plan in Libya Is His Worst Mistake

President Barack Obama told FOX News what he thought was the worst mistake of his presidency on Sunday, saying his failure to adequately plan for the aftermath of the U.S.-supported overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 was "probably" his biggest error.

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"Probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya," the president told Fox's Chris Wallace in response to the inquiry.

RELATED: President Obama through the years

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44 behind-the-scenes images of Barack Obama's tenure as president
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President Obama calls Libyan intervention biggest mistake of his administration
White House photographer Pete Souza took this photo of President-elect Barack Obama moments before Obama took the oath of office. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama shared a moment at the Inaugural Ball on January 20, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

The next day, Obama entered the Oval Office to begin his first full day as America's 44th president. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Obama reads a letter that former President George W. Bush left for him in the Oval Office's resolute desk. Leaving a letter for the incoming president has become a White House tradition. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Obama toured the White House grounds with curator William Allman, chief usher Adm. Stephen Rochon, and presidential personal aide Reggie Love. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Here's a photo of Obama meeting with senior advisers in the Oval Office during the third week of his presidency. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Wearing an embroidered crew jacket, Obama waited for the first of many flights aboard Air Force One. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Obama gave his first State of the Union address on February 24, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

The Obamas walked to Marine One on the South Lawn before heading off on one of their first trips to Camp David. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

The Obamas were welcomed by Queen Elizabeth II to Buckingham Palace in London while in town for the G20 summit. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Obama gave a fist bump to a US soldier while visiting troops at Camp Victory in Iraq on April 7, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

President Obama and Michelle smiled at each other inside a White House elevator after a Cinco de Mayo celebration. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Obama and Vice President Joe Biden practiced their putting skills on the White House green. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Obama tours the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt for the first time during his 11th presidential trip abroad. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

In this July 2009 photo, Obama attended his first G8 summit, which was held in L'Aquila, Italy. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Over the summer of 2009, Obama visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Obama laughed at a picture of himself during an interview on the "Late Show with David Letterman." (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

The Obamas welcomed children from local schools for Halloween festivities at the White House. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Obama was applauded by Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Obamas posed for their first holiday portrait in front of the official White House Christmas tree. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

At the beginning of the new year, White House photographer Pete Souza took this photo of Obama meeting with members of his cabinet. The president's chair is marked with a plaque engraved with his inauguration date. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

The Obamas danced during the Governors' Ball held in the East Room of the White House. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Obama reads some documents while waiting for Marine One at the Westchester County Airport in New York. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Obama speaks with a congressman about the healthcare-reform bill. "In those final days before the vote, the President made hundreds of calls," wrote White House photographer Pete Souza. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Alongside White House staff and Vice President Joe Biden, Obama clapped while watching the historic House vote to pass the Affordable Care Act. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Obama boarded Air Force One while the sun set at Miami International Airport. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

The Obamas pretended to sing with an a capella group after a holiday tour of the White House. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

"A lighter moment during a meeting in the Situation Room of the White House," Souza wrote. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Obama shook hands with US soldiers at Bagram Airfield after an all-night, unannounced flight to Afghanistan in December 2010. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

The Obamas stared at Rio de Janeiro's famous Christ the Redeemer statue while visiting Brazil in March 2011. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Obama saluted a Marine while walking toward Marine One helicopter on the South Lawn of the White House. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Taken on May 1, 2011, from the White House Situation Room, Obama's national-security team monitored the real-time mission against Osama bin Laden. Souza took approximately 100 photographs during this confidential meeting. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

"The president was ready to announce the news about the mission against Osama bin Laden and was putting the finishing touches on his statement in the Outer Oval Office. As he did so, the networks broke in with bulletins confirming that bin Laden had been killed and a photograph of him appeared on the television screen in the background near the Vice President and Press Secretary Jay Carney," Souza wrote. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

"One of the most memorable moments of the year was when the president hugged Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as he walked onto the floor of the House Chamber at the US Capitol to deliver his annual State of the Union address," Souza wrote in January 2012. Giffords was shot in a 2011 mass shooting in Arizona. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)
"The President hugs the first lady after she had introduced him at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa. The campaign tweeted a similar photo from the campaign photographer on election night and a lot of people thought it was taken on election day," Souza wrote. When the campaign tweeted it on election night, it became the most retweeted photo of all time. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)
Obama kissed the first lady for the "kiss cam" during the US men's Olympic basketball team's game against Brazil in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Obama sang "Happy Birthday" to Michelle in the Blue Room of the White House in 2013. Her new hairstyle attracted a lot of attention. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

In this photo, Obama sits in front of cameras taking images that will later make a 3D portrait for the Smithsonian Institution. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

"We were at the NATO Summit in Wales when someone mentioned to the President that Stonehenge wasn't that far away. 'Let's go,' he said. So when the Summit ended, we took a slight detour on the way back to Air Force One," Souza wrote in September 2014. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

Obama laughed as he and Michelle recorded a holiday video message in the Map Room of the White House. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)

This March 2015 photo shows Obama delivering remarks during an event to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery civil-rights marches. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)
Obama shook hands with President Raúl Castro of Cuba during the Summit of the Americas on April 11, 2015. The US and Cuba have moved toward a historic thaw in relations over the past year. (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House)
Vice President Joe Biden announced he would not seek the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination in October, as Obama stood by his side during an appearance in the Rose Garden of the White House. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

In this November 2015 photo, Obama collects a folder holding the bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 after signing it into law in the Oval Office. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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According to the president, he still believes the U.S. was right to intervene in the conflict. U.S. air strikes, intelligence personnel and logistical support proved crucial to bringing the rebellion against Qaddafi to a close, though the country has remained chaotic since. After the coalition against Qaddafi failed to implement a credible successor to his rule, much of the country has been taken over by various militias and warlords.

Source: YouTube

The U.S. is still bombing Islamic State training camps in the country, a testament to the ongoing lawlessness in today's Libya, where the terror group controls an estimated 120-mile stretch of territory around the city of Sirte.

U.N.-appointed Prime Minister Faiez Serraj recently entered the capitol, Tripoli, but according to Foreign Policy'sBel Trew has yet to assert his authority beyond restoring order to the city's streets. Serraj must "rebuild Libya's fractured institutions, tame power-hungry militias, win support from partisans of the government in the east, and -- last but not least -- crush the Islamic State's nascent 'caliphate'," Trew writes, a hefty slate of challenges for any leader.

RELATED: Romantic images of the commander in chief and first lady

33 PHOTOS
Romantic photos of President Obama and Michelle Obama
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President Obama calls Libyan intervention biggest mistake of his administration

Click through this gallery to see more of President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Secret Service agents avert their eyes as the Obamas share a private moment on Inauguration Day 2009.

Photo courtesy: White House

2. Dancing at the White House during the Governors Ball in February 2009.

Photo courtesy: White House / Pete Souza

3. Holding hands while heading to Camp David for the first time in March 2009.

Photo courtesy: White House / Pete Souza

4. In the White House's Red Room with adviser Valerie Jarrett in March 2009.

Photo courtesy: White House / Pete Souza

5. Watching fireworks on the roof of the White House on July 4, 2009.

Photo courtesy: White House / Pete Souza

6. ​Posing for their first holiday portrait at the White House.

Photo courtesy: White House / Pete Souza

7. ​Sharing a kiss after the State of the Union address in 2010.

Photo courtesy: White House / Pete Souza

8. ​President Obama chats with Michelle as they walk the White House Colonnade in Sept. 2010.

Photo courtesy: White House

9. The Obamas visit the Flight 93 crash site on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Photo courtesy: White House / Pete Souza

10. ​Barack whispers something to Michelle during a break between events at the 2011 UN General Assembly.

Photo courtesy: White House / Pete Souza

11. Obama jokes with Michelle after she says Dr. Jill Biden is her "favorite person in the room."

Photo courtesy: White House / Pete Souza

12. ​The First Couple shares a private dance before a May 2012 concert at the White House.

Photo courtesy: White House / Pete Souza

13. ​The First Lady greets Barack Obama on the tarmac at JFK in June 2012.

Photo courtesy: White House

14. ​The Obamas look out over their hometown skyline in Chicago on June 15, 2012.

Photo courtesy: White House

15. ​At Valerie Jarrett's daughter's Chicago wedding in June 2012.

Photo courtesy: White House / Pete Souza

16. ​The First Couple smooches for the KissCam during a timeout at an Olympic basketball exhibition game in 2012.

Photo courtesy: White House / Pete Souza

17. The Obamas made history with this August 2012 hug -- this became the most tweeted photo of all time after Obama sent it out to his followers on election night.

Photo courtesy: White House / Pete Souza

18. ​Barack gives Michelle a kiss during the inaugural parade.

(Photo: AP)

19. ​The Obamas giggle as they ride in the inaugural parade in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2013.

Photo courtesy: White House / Pete Souza

20. Barack and Michelle as they share their first dance during the Commander-In-Chief's Ball on Inauguration Day 2013.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

21. ​The President sings 'Happy Birthday' to Michelle in the Blue Room of the White House. The First Lady's new hairstyle attracted a lot of attention from this photo.

Photo: The White House / Pete Souza

22. ​The Obamas arrive for an official dinner at the Presidential Palace in Dakar, Senegal, June 27, 2013.

Photo courtesy: The White House

23. Barack Obama waves as he and Michelle arrive for a reception for the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors recipients.

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

24. Barack kisses Michelle as he takes the stage to speak about college education with representatives of colleges, universities and philanthropic groups. His speech was focused on getting more low-income students to attend college.

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

25. ​The Obamas and their pets Sunny and Bo, wait to greet visitors in the Blue Room during a White House tour.

Photo courtesy: The White House / Pete Souza

26. In this 2014 photo, Mrs. Obama reacts while her husband confesses what their favorite junk foods are to children attending the Kids State Dinner. The first lady likes french fries and the president likes chips and guacamole.

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

27. ​The Obamas hold hands during the event to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches on March 7, 2015.

Photo courtesy: White House / Pete Souza

28. The Obamas pose for a "Gimme Five" initiative photo in the East Room of the White House during the annual Easter Egg Roll, on April 6, 2015.

Photo courtesy: White House

29. The first lady snuggled against the president during a video taping for the 2015 World Expo in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on March 27, 2015.

Photo courtesy: White House

30. ​The Obamas react to a child in a pope costume and mini popemobile as they welcomed children during a Halloween event on the South Lawn of the White House.

Photo courtesy: White House

31. The Obamas arrive at the Kennedy Center Honors Reception at the White House in Washington December 6, 2015.

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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The president recently told the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg many of the U.S.' European allies in the conflict had lost interest in Libya after Qaddafi was toppled in 2011, contributing to the "mess" the country remains in.

"So we actually executed this plan as well as I could have expected," Obama told Goldberg. "We got a UN mandate, we built a coalition, it cost us $1 billion -- which, when it comes to military operations, is very cheap. We averted large-scale civilian casualties, we prevented what almost surely would have been a prolonged and bloody civil conflict. And despite all that, Libya is a mess ... I had more faith in the Europeans, given Libya's proximity, being invested in the follow-up."

Obama's admission may pose a challenge for former secretary of state and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, widely viewed as the architect of the administration's intervention in Libya in 2011. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has called attention to the Libyan intervention as an example of Clinton's lack of "judgment," while a recent New York Times profile noted her expansive view of when to use U.S. military force "ran aground in a tribal country with no functioning government, rival factions and a staggering quantity of arms."

RELATED: The best images of President Obama with kids

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#ObamaAndKids, best photos of President Obama with children
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President Obama calls Libyan intervention biggest mistake of his administration

Hi!

(Photo via The White House)

This photo is everything.

(Photo via The White House)

A sleepy young Iowan rests his head on the president's shoulder.

(Photo via AP)

This child is a little less calm.

(Photo via The White House)

Twins!

(Photo via The White House)

Hi Ella!

(Photo via The White House)

High fives all around!

(Photo via The White House)

Easter egg roll!

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Obama greets one of his youngest fans in Prague in 2009.

(Photo via Getty)

The president is more amused than his young mohawked friend.

(Photo via Getty)

The signature fist bump.

(Photo via The White House)

Obama puffs out his cheeks to amuse an infant visitor to the Oval Office.

(Photo via The White House)

The president carefully inspects a classroom in Georgia.

(Photo via The White House)

This baby gives Obama a fist bump of his own.

(Photo via The White House)

Keeping pace with children running through the White House.

(Photo via The White House)

Abraham Lincoln watches in approval as the president and a young girl share a hug in the Oval Office.

(Photo via The White House)

A young Ohio boy splits some strawberry pie with the POTUS.

(Photo via The White House)

The president said this shot of him and a pint-sized Spider-Man was his favorite of 2012.

(Photo via The White House)

High five!

(Photo via The White House)

Groovin.

(Photo via The White House)

A quick game of hoops in Missouri Valley, Iowa.

(Photo via The White House)

Cool dad.

(Photo via The White House)

Obama circles his desk with a petite pink pal in hot pursuit.

(Photo via The White House)

The Obamas laugh at a child dressed as the pope.

(Photo via The White House)

It's hard to say who looks more dapper.

(Photo via The White House)

The president fills in as coach for his daughter Sasha's basketball game.

(Photo via The White House)

Skeptical infants peer at the POTUS through a window.

(Photo via The White House)

Obama hoists his young pal Simba-style.

(Photo via The White House)

President Pied Piper.

(Photo via The White House)

Holding House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's granddaughter in California.

(Photo via The White House)

Dandelion blowing on Martha's Vineyard.

(Photo via The White House)

An adorable tie-wearing baby visits the White House.

(Photo via The White House)

The president embraces a young girl during a 2011 visit to Ireland.

(Photo via The White House)

Well hello there.

(Photo via The White House)

Sharing secrets.

(Photo via The White House)

First Lady Michelle Obama persuades her husband to join in the dancing in Mumbai, India.

(Photo via The White House)

The president greeting some Estonian schoolgirls.

(Photo via The White House)

The president at the heart of the La Follette Lancers' huddle in Madison, Wis.

(Photo via The White House)

Spelling out "Ohio" with some of the state's happiest residents.

(Photo via The White House)

Pure delight!

(Photo via The White House)

Trick or Treat!

(Photo via The White House)

Not impressed.

(Photo via BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Sasha and her father splash around in the ocean on a vacation to Florida.

(Photo via The White House)

Peek-a-boo!

(Photo via The White House)

High five!

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The president and his daughters celebrate the arrival of Portuguese Water Dog Bo.

(Photo via Getty)

The POTUS casually greets a family at Stonehenge.

(Photo via The White House)

The president hoists a baby into the air during a visit to Japan.

(Photo via The White House)

A young boy reaches up to compare the president's hair to his own.

(Photo via The White House)

It's Halloween at the White House.

(Photo via The White House)

Secret secrets.

(Photo via The White House)

One White House staffer is extra excited at this encounter.

(Photo via The White House)

This is Lincoln Rose Pierce Smith, the daughter of former deputy press secretary Jamie Smith.

(Photo via The White House)

The president also fits in with a slightly older crowd.

(Photo via The White House)

Obama says hello to a set of twins on the South Lawn.

(Photo via The White House)

The president lets this first grader touch up his hairdo.

(Photo via The White House)

All smiles.

(Photo via SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Nice baby face.

(Photo via The White House)

Presidential pre-school.

(Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

A presidential cheek pinch.

(Photo via The White House)

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