Conflict arises in Libya
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 12:09
Libya erupted into a civil war Feb. 15, 2011. A series of protests and altercations climaxed after the capture and death of Libya’s leader, Muammar Muhammas Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi Oct. 20, 2011.
Four American personnel in Benghazi, Libya were brutally slain in an attack on the U.S. consulate Sept. 11, 2012 in what was believed at the time to be a response to the release of an anti-Islam film in the U.S.
Among the dead were U.S. Ambassador John Christopher Stevens, a veteran diplomat who served in the Foreign Service for 21 years, Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, who was also a veteran in service for 10 years and security personnel officers Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty.
Stevens was one of the first Americans on the ground when the outbreak of civil uprising first began in Libya.
He was committed to aiding the Libyan people in rebuilding their country after the civil war ended.
Stevens first arrived in Libya in 2007 when he was appointed U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission.
He worked to build up from the ground a team of embassy personnel, negotiated with the Libyan government and acted as chairman to the board of trustees that were responsible for the American School of Tripoli.
He remained in Libya until 2009, then returned as a Special Representative to the National Transitional Council from March to November 2011 and finally arrived in Libya for a third time in May 2012 as U.S. Ambassador.
Smith was an Air Force Veteran that was serving on temporary assignment in Libya as an information management officer.
Prior to Libya, he was involved in diplomatic service in Iraq, South Africa, Canada and the Netherlands.
He joined the Foreign Service a decade ago and was the father of two children.
Woods was a decorated military veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq as a Navy SEAL for 20 years before he became a protector of American diplomatic personnel in 2010.
Doherty was also a Navy SEAL and security contractor. He was assigned protection detail alongside Wood in Libya when he was killed in service.
Smith was on security detail alongside Woods to protect Ambassador Stevens and the U.S. consulate in Libya when he too was killed in service.
Following the attack on the U.S. consulate, new evidence came to light which exposed the attack was not simply a response to an anti-Islamic film, but a premeditated terrorist attack.
Al Qaeda was implicated in the attack.
“The way these perpetrators acted and moved, and their choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration," said Mohamed Yusuf al-Magariaf, president of Libya’s General National Congress in an interview on CBS.
"This leaves us with no doubt that this was preplanned, predetermined."
Many people are in custody in the aftermath of the brutal attack on the consulate, including members of a group called Ansar al-Sharia.
Ansar al-Sharia is a loosely connected radical extremist group based in Benghazi.
However, a senior U.S. official expressed on CNN that Ansar al-Sharia has not been positively identified as responsible for or linked to the attack.
The search continues to identify the people responsible for the deaths of four American diplomatic personnel who lost their lives in service to the U.S. and Libya.
There are more questions than answers as contradictory statements have been released about the true origins of the attack on the consulate.