Chris Stevens Diary: Libyan Ambassador Knew He Was On Al-Qaeda Hit List Before Benghazi

Parts of Ambassador Chris Stevens’s personal diary have been published by the special operations website SOFREP. Since the Benghazi attacks, the diary has been used in a variety of foreign policy and media sources. CNN acquired the diary from the consulate and used it in their reporting before sending it back to the Stevens family. The network used it extensively specifically in their coverage of the Benghazi attacks. All of the journal has not been published in coordination with the wishes of the Stevens family; however, what is revealed in the diary is very revealing of Ambassador Stevens's feelings and thoughts before his death. It seems the ambassador was very anxious about the possibility of violence in the wake of the Libyan revolution, and his words in the diary uncover that he had intelligence regarding the targeting of his own life in an Al-Qaeda plot.

Should the entire diary made available to the public? It seems that the answer is no. With much already being revealed about the Benghazi attack through the seven pages available and the entire diary likely used in the Congressional hearings investigating the attacks, the public-at-large might be able to grasp some new information through the remaining excerpts, but it would be much better to honor the wishes of the Stevens family and keep the remainder of the diary private.

Ambassador Stevens’s was very aware about the dangerous situation he faced in Libya. In his diary he describes the aftermath of the Libyan revolution as a "Security vacuum. Militias are power on the ground.” In addition, Ambassador Stevens also explains the growing threat of terrorist attacks in Benghazi. He writes, "Dicey conditions, including car bombs, attacks on consulate, British embassy, and our own people. Islamist 'hit list' in Benghazi. Me targeted on a prominent [Al-Qaeda] website (no more off-compound jogging)." It seems that the ambassador was at least aware of the nature of his situation. That much can be surmised from the diary. Ambassador Stevens was anxious about the state of affairs in Libya and particularly in Benghazi, and subsequent events demonstrated his fears were not without cause. SOFREP Editor-in-Chief Brandon Webb has alleged that because of Stevens’s prior knowledge of the need for more security, the federal government is at fault for not sufficiently responding to the growing threats in Libya. Webb writes “We need new leaders with integrity, ones who are not afraid to admit their mistakes and will hold themselves and their subordinates accountable ... For now, all we are left with is the haunting words of a former U.S. Ambassador: 'Never ending security threats…'”.

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James Gadea

James Gadea is from Atlanta, Georgia. He is a student at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and he is really interested in the relationship between Eastern Europe and the Middle East. James loves history, the smell of Barnes & Noble, and when movie characters say the title of the film that they are in.

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