U.S. Ambassadors Abroad KIlled by Terrorist Activities

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by Richard Gueren, Political Editor

On September 11, U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and information management officer Sean Smith and security personnel members Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed in Libya.

In Cairo, a group of protestors scaled the U.S. embassy wall and tore down the American flag, replacing it with a black Islamic flag.  In Benghazi, the attack on the U.S. consulate lasted a long time, and the attackers used rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles, hand grenades, gun trucks, and mortars.  Protests continued in Egypt during the following days, resulting in one death and over two hundred injuries.  In a few more days, protests commenced at U.S. Embassies in as many as twenty different countries.

For a week and a half, Americans have been speculating about how the overseas advisers were killed.  Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., said on NBC’s Meet the Press shortly after the attacks that:  “what happened in Benghazi was, in fact, initially, a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo”. Rice also believed that the protests were related to the anti-Islam video being widely circulated in the Arab world.  Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation on the same day, Libyan President Mohammed Magarief called the attack “preplanned”.  However, it took one week for the Obama Administration to acknowledge that it was a terrorist attack.  White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, said “it was self- evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack”.

            In later news headlines, U.S. officials said that the Benghazi attack appeared to be “complex” and “professionally executed”.  Privately, U.S. officials say they believed the Benghazi attack was coordinated and planned in advance, and not prompted by the film. Al-Qaeda has indicated responsibility and said it was in revenge for a U.S. drone strike that killed an al-Qaeda leader in May. In an exclusive interview with NPR in Benghazi, President Mohammed el-Magarif says foreigners infiltrated Libya over the past few months, planned the attack, and used Libyans to carry it out.