CHRISTOPHER STEVENS had been ambassador to Libya for three months when he was killed on September 11th 2012 in Benghazi. His death, on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on America, was a reminder that the government cannot keep all of its people safe all of the time.
For an ambassador to be killed while serving is rare, but attacks on embassies and consulates are not, and they have often resulted in deaths. Mr Stevens’s murder also coincided with the closing stages of a presidential campaign in which Barack Obama claimed to have al-Qaeda “on the run”. In the following days, White House officials said that Ambassador Stevens’s death was the result of a spontaneous protest, which is what the initial intelligence reports suggested, rather than a planned terrorist attack. They stuck to this line for longer than they should have. Security at the consulate was not as robust as it might have been.
Such are the facts of the case that is known in American politics simply as Benghazi. There have already been several investigations, as well as a bipartisan report issued by the Senate intelligence committee, which...Continue reading