Amid the political debate about the timeline of the characterization of the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, what has been perhaps under-reported is how Ambassador Chris Stevens met his demise in the attack.
On September 12, reports stated that Stevens died from “severe asphyxiation” according Dr. Ziad Abu Zeid, who treated the ambassador after the attack. Most news services included the phrase “apparently from smoke inhalation” in their reports of the doctor’s account of the ambassador’s death. Different news sources stated that the doctor attempted to revive the ambassador from 45 to 90 minutes.
Most sources claim that Ambassador Stevens suffered from smoke inhalation while trapped alone in his safe haven inside the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, shortly after being separated from the small group he was with. What is not certain is how the ambassador ended up at the hospital and the circumstances of the ubiquitous photo of him in the hands of what appears to be an angry mob. Some have stated that the “mob” was actually a group of people attempting to help the ambassador. Reports of the ambassador being sodomized during the attack remain unconfirmed, and the Libyan doctor also did not mention any evidence of a sexual assault.
A video purportedly of the ambassador being extricated from his hiding place has surfaced. It has been argued that this group may be actually rescuing the ambassador, while others claim the group is attempting to capture him. Some translations of the video claim that the young men state that the ambassador is alive, though it is impossible to tell from the video itself. One report states that this group put the ambassador in a private car and took him to the hospital. This has not been corroborated. The reaction of the crowd in the video has been spun in different ways. Are they celebrating the ambassador’s death, or are they celebrating the fact that he is not dead? Watch the video below and decide for yourself.
Here is perhaps one of the most detailed accounts of the events leading up to Ambassador Stevens’ death, from the Guardian.