Story Summary

US Ambassador to Libya, 3 Others Killed in Rocket Attack

Libya’s prime minister apologizes to the American people for the “cowardly act.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton names a second victim as Sean Smith.

“Criminals” burned and ransacked the U.S. Consulate, a Libyan official says.

Ambassador grew up in Davis area and Northern California

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libyaWASHINGTON (CNN)-

An independent review of the September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi released Tuesday cited “management deficiencies” at high levels of the State Department.

The attack left four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens,dead.

“Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” the report read.

It said “there was no protest prior to the attacks,” which the report described as “unanticipated in their scale and intensity.”

The report also cited as “inadequate” the Bureau of Diplomatic Security security staff in Benghazi on the day of the attack and in the months and weeks leading up to it, “despite repeated requests from Special Mission Benghazi and Embassy Tripoli for additional staffing.”

Before the report was released, a source who had read it told CNN that senior management in charge of diplomatic security “does not come out well at all.”

Assistant Secretary of State Eric Boswell is the head of diplomatic security, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb oversaw State Department decisions on security at the diplomatic outpost. Lamb testified before Congress about the security precautions; documents show Lamb denied repeated requests for additional security in Libya.

The Accountability Review Board completed its investigation into the matter this week and sent a copy to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for review. A classified version of the report was delivered Tuesday afternoon to members and staff of the committees on Capitol Hill that have jurisdiction over the State Department.

The unclassified version was released Tuesday night.

Veteran diplomat Thomas Pickering and former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, both members of the review board, will brief members of the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees in a classified setting about the report on Wednesday.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Tuesday that Clinton, who is home recovering from a stomach virus and concussion, wrote a letter to members of Congress that will accompany the report being sent to Capitol Hill.

Clinton ordered the review in the aftermath of the attack. Such reports are mandated by Congress when Americans working on behalf of the United States government are killed overseas.

Read more: Benghazi attack back in the spotlight

In a notice sent to all State Department employees Tuesday, the department explained how the report would be implemented once it was released.

“To implement the Board’s recommendations, the Secretary has directed the Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources to lead the implementation team, supported by the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, the Under Secretary for Management, the Director General of the Foreign Service, the Executive Secretary and the Deputy Legal Advisor,” the notice said.

Employees were told that the implementation team had met Tuesday and would continue to do so regularly to implement the recommendations of the board.

The politics surrounding the events that led to the report have claimed one political casualty, with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice last week pulling her name from consideration to succeed Clinton. Some Republican senators had said they would put a hold on her nomination if President Barack Obama had submitted it, based on comments Rice made in the days after the attack.

In place of Clinton, Deputy Secretaries of State William Burns and Thomas Nides will testify before the House and Senate committees Thursday.

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National & World News
10/16/12

Clinton: I’m Responsible for Diplomats’ Security

LIMA, Peru-

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday tried to douse a political firestorm over the deadly assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, saying she’s responsible for the security of American diplomatic outposts.

“I take responsibility,” Clinton told CNN in an interview while on a visit to Peru. “I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”

But she said an investigation now under way will ultimately determine what happened at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed on September 11.

“I take this very personally,” Clinton said. “So we’re going to get to the bottom of it, and then we’re going to do everything we can to work to prevent it from happening again, and then we’re going to work to bring whoever did this to us to justice.”

The attack took place in the eastern Libyan city that was the cradle of that country’s 2011 revolution. Obama administration officials initially blamed a mob inflamed by a U.S.-produced movie that mocked Islam and its Prophet Mohammed, but later said the storming of the consulate appears to have been a terrorist attack.

With criticism growing, Vice President Joe Biden said during last week’s vice presidential debate that the White House did not know of requests to enhance security at Benghazi, contradicting testimony by State Department employees that requests had been made and rejected. After the debate, the White House said the vice president did not know of the requests because they were handled, as is the practice, by the State Department.

“In the wake of an attack like this, in the fog of war, there’s always going to be confusion,” Clinton said. “And I think it is absolutely fair to say that everyone had the same intelligence. Everyone who spoke tried to give the information that they had. As time has gone on, that information has changed. We’ve gotten more detail, but that’s not surprising. That always happens.”

She added, “What I want to avoid is some kind of political gotcha or blame game.”

“I know that we’re very close to an election,” Clinton said. “I want to just take a step back here and say from my own experience, we are at our best as Americans when we pull together. I’ve done that with Democratic presidents and Republican presidents.”

Her remarks drew a quick response from three Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee, including ranking member John McCain.

Clinton’s statement of responsibility was “a laudable gesture, especially when the White House is trying to avoid any responsibility whatsoever,” the Arizona senator said in a joint broadside with Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. However, they added, “The security of Americans serving our nation everywhere in the world is ultimately the job of the commander-in-chief. The buck stops there.”

Stevens, State Department computer expert Sean Smith and security contractors Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods died in the Benghazi assault, which State Department officials now say was the work of dozens of armed men.

Clinton also described a desperate scene in the State Department during the hours of the attack, as staff tried to find out what had happened.

“This was a many-hour ordeal that we were all involved in, and I was deeply concerned as you would obviously assume, to hear about an attack,” she said. Not only was the picture coming out of Libya murky, but also, “Then we couldn’t find Ambassador Stevens, and we were trying desperately to figure out what happened to him and to Sean Smith and to the others who were there.”

Clinton said her mission now is to make sure such an attack will never happen again, and also to ensure the work of American diplomats won’t be stopped even in dangerous areas like Benghazi.

“We can’t retreat. We have to continue to lead. We have to be engaged,” she said. “We can’t hang out behind walls.” She said Stevens, who came to Benghazi on a cargo ship to start building ties with rebel leaders during last year’s revolt, “knew that more than anybody.”

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LOS ANGELES-

Actors in the anti-Muslim film “Innocence of Muslims” are weighing options to file a lawsuit against the filmmaker, saying they were duped by the man who has a criminal past.

Read more on KTLA.com

TRIPOLI, Libya — Four people have been arrested in connection with the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead, the top aide to the president of the parliament said Friday.

Read more at ktla.com

Ambassador Chris Stevens lived in Davis as a child. Tia Ewing reports.

This video was published to YouTube in May 2012 as an introduction of Chris Stevens to Libya, where he was starting his ambassadorship.

Meet Chris Stevens, US Ambassador to Libya, and learn about his unique connection to the Arab world. تقديم السفير الأمريكي الي ليبيا السيد كريس ستيفنز التقي مع السفير الأمريكي الي ليبيا السيد كريس ستيفنز وتعرف علي علاقته المميزة والفريدة بالعالم العربي

Local News
09/12/12

Killed Ambassador Grew up in Davis, Bay Area

DAVIS-

An ambassador killed Tuesday during an attack on the US Consulate in Libya grew up in Davis and the Bay Area.

J. Christopher Stevens was among the four Americans killed in the rocket attack on the consulate building in the city of Benghazi.

Stevens lived in Davis in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, attending Pioneer Elementary School and Emerson Junior High School.

He then moved to the Bay Area, attending Piedmont High School and graduating in 1978.

Stevens then went to the University of California, Berkeley, for undergraduate studies before joining the Peace Corps.

He arrived in Libya as ambassador from the US in May 2012. Stevens has served various overseas missions as part of the US Foreign Service, several in the Middle East.

Stevens is the first sitting ambassador to be killed while serving since 1979.

In addition to Stevens, an information officer Sean Smith, and two Marines also died in Tuesday’s attack.

LIBYA —

U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday strongly condemned the killing of the United States ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, in a rocket attack on the U.S. Consulate in the city of Benghazi on Tuesday.

He called the attack “outrageous,” and confirmed that four Americans, including Stevens, were killed.

“Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States,” Obama said.

Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador to be killed in an attack since 1979.

Libya’s Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib apologized “to the American people and the government, and also to the rest of the world” for the “cowardly criminal act.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton identified a second victim as Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer who was a ten-year veteran of the State Department, a husband and a father of two.

The two other victims have not been named.

An “angry crowd” marched on the consulate on Tuesday, furious about an online film considered offensive to Islam, Libya’s Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif said Wednesday. The U.S. mission in Egypt was also attacked Tuesday in response to the film.

Al-Sharif said that consulate security staff opened fire when they heard gunfire outside the mission.

“This led to more anger and this is when the consulate was stormed,” he said, suggesting that there were elements loyal to the regime of deposed dictator Moammar Gadhafi aiming to create chaos among the protesters.

“Criminals managed to get in and they burned and ransacked the consulate,” he said.

The U.S. mission is very badly damaged and was being looted on Wednesday, said a contractor working at the mission, who asked not to be named for security reasons.

He said he saw the bodies of all four Americans on the street Wednesday morning.

Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur said Stevens was “a friend of Libya, and we are shocked at the the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.”

“I condemn these barbaric acts in the strongest possible terms. This is an attack on America, Libya and free people everywhere,” Abushagur said on Twitter.

The contractor in Benghazi said he could hear rocket-propelled grenade attacks Tuesday night.

Libyans were also killed, the contractor said, saying the victims were shot on the spot.

The bodies of the four Americans are now at Benghazi airport, the contractor said, citing the Libyan minister of foreign affairs and a top immigration official in Benghazi.

Libya’s governing party condemned the attack as a “criminal and cowardly act” and vowed to “track down the perpetrators and to maintain the country’s security and the safety and security of its guests,” Libya’s official LANA news agency reported.

Stevens was the American envoy to the Libyan rebel movement that overthrew Gadhafi last year, based in the rebel capital of Benghazi.

Friends say he loved Libya and had a deep affinity for the Libyan people, enjoying heading out into the field and getting to know people.

A speaker of Arabic and French, he was among the first American diplomats sent to Libya in 2007 when the United States resumed ties with the Gadhafi regime.

The last time an American ambassador was killed by terrorists was in 1979, when the envoy to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs, was kidnapped and killed during an attempt to rescue him, according to State Department records.

Stevens is the sixth U.S. ambassador to die by violence in the line of service. Two others have been killed in plane crashes.

CNN’s Stephanie Halasz, Jomana Karadsheh, Elise Labott , Lesa Jansen, Saad Abedine, Mariano Castillo and Kirsten Dewar contributed to this report.

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