There is no evidence that Libyan military forces are being given Viagra and engaging in systematic rape against women in rebel areas, US military and intelligence officials told NBC News on Friday.
Diplomats said Thursday that US Ambassador Susan Rice told a closed-door meeting of officials at the UN that the Libyan military is using rape as a weapon in the war with the rebels and some had been issued the anti-impotency drug. She reportedly offered no evidence to backup the claim.
While rape has been a weapon of choice in many other African conflicts, the US officials say they've seen no such reports out of Libya.
Several U.N. diplomats who attended the closed-door Security Council meeting on Libya told Reuters that Rice raised the Viagra issue. The allegation was first reported by a British newspaper.
Pfizer Inc.'s drug Viagra is used to treat impotence.
Diplomats said if it were true that Moammar Gadhafi's troops were being issued Viagra, it could indicate they were being encouraged by their commanders to engage in rape to terrorize the population in areas that have supported the rebels. That would constitute a war crime.
But several diplomats said Rice provided no evidence for the Viagra allegation, which they said was made in an attempt to persuade doubters the conflict in Libya was not just a standard civil war but a much nastier fight in which Gadhafi is not afraid to order his troops to commit heinous acts.
"She spoke of reports of soldiers getting Viagra and raping," a diplomat said. "She spoke of Gadhafi's soldiers targeting children, and other atrocities."
And on Friday, military and intelligence officials, speaking anonymously, said there was no evidence that that was true.
This report from NBC News' Jim Miklaszewski includes reporting from Reuters.