Qaddafi’s Secret Stash of Condoleezza Rice Photos Reveals Crush

Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) -- When rebels stormed Muammar Qaddafi’s fortified compound this week, they found the Libyan dictator’s photo album of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, whom he once described as a “darling black African woman.”

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland today described the discovery as “deeply bizarre and deeply creepy.”

In September 2008, when Qaddafi was seeking to improve relations with the U.S., he and Rice had an Iftar meal to mark the end of the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan. Rice’s eight-hour stop in Tripoli made her the highest-level U.S. official to visit Libya in more than 50 years.

For the occasion, Qaddafi donned a white robe with a green and yellow sash patterned in outlines of the African continent. Rice was dressed in a sober pin-striped grey suit.

After their meeting, Rice told reporters that the relationship with Libya was “off to a good start” and “Libya has changed. America has changed.”

In greeting Rice, Qaddafi at the time put his hand to his heart asked her how she was. “I’m very well, thank you,” she answered. Undeterred by the language barrier, Qaddafi spoke to her in Arabic through an interpreter.

Qaddafi had been an ardent fan of Rice even before their face-to-face encounter. In a 2007 interview with al Jazeera he described her as his “darling black African woman.” He referred to her as Leezza and said “I love her very much.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson in New York at fjackson@bloomberg.net; Nicole Gaouette in Washington at ngaouette@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net