The U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, was killed on Tuesday night during a riot in Benghazi. Friends and colleagues recall the diplomat as a man who dedicated his life to promoting democracy, committed to peace, and in love with the region of the world where he lost his life.
Three other Americans working at the consulate perished alongside Stevens in a battle that pitched American and Libyan defenders against militant gunmen who, White House sources said on Wednesday, seemed to have pre-planned the attack on the U.S. consulate and used a demonstration outside the consulate compound as a distraction. While the last of the four victims has not yet been identified, the Daily Beast remembers the other two named victims who fell alongside Stevens while serving their country abroad.
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A ten-year veteran of the State Department, Sean Smith was in Libya on a “brief, temporary assignment,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday. The 34-year-old father of two young children, Samantha and Nathan, Smith was an Air Force veteran who had served in a number of posts, including in Baghdad and The Hague.
As Wired first reported, Smith was also an active online gamer—and apparently sent a chilling message to one of his fellow gamers before armed militants assaulted the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, exchanging fire with American and Libyan defenders.
In the gaming group EVE Online, a collective of about 400,000 people who play the complicated science fiction game, Smith was known as “Vile Rat.”
It’s still unclear the motivation behind Smith’s message, but he wrote “assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures” on Tuesday night. As Wired noted, it was not long after that message was sent that the assault on the compound reportedly began.
In the gaming group EVE Online, a collective of about 400,000 people who play a complicated science fiction game, Smith was known as “Vile Rat.” Friend Alex Gianturco paid tribute to his fellow EVE enthusiast in an obituary posted online on Wednesday. “In Baghdad the same kind of thing happened – incoming sirens, he’d vanish, we’d freak out and he’d come back ok after a bit,” Gianturco wrote. This time, there was only silence.
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On Thursday morning, the mother and sister of Glen Doherty, a 42-year-old native of Massachusetts, confirmed the former Navy SEAL too was among those killed in the attack on the Benghazi consulate. His name had not yet been released by the U.S. State Department.
“He was on security detail and he was protecting the ambassador and also helping the wounded,” Doherty’s sister Katie Quigley told The Boston Globe.
A former member of the elite Navy SEALs, Doherty bounced around careers, for a time working as a Utah ski instructor, before settling into military service. He served in the elite special forces unit for seven years, Quigley told the Globe.
Mikey Weinstein, the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, told the Huffington Post that Doherty also served on the advisory board of the MRFF, a group that attempts to fight religious influence in the armed forces.
While in the Navy, Doherty was posted in Iraq and Afghanistan. He left the Navy four years ago, said Quigley, who described her brother as “an adventure seeker.” He had worked abroad in Israel, Kenya, and Libya since going to work with a private security company in recent years.
“You have to understand. Glen was highly trained. He was the best of the best,” the grieving Quigley said. “He wouldn’t have gone down for some protest over a movie.”
“This was serious, well-planned, well-executed,” Quigley said. “He was very good at what he did.”