The diary in which Ambassador Chris Stevens recorded the days leading up to his death in Benghazi, Libya has been published online, revealing that in his last entry, the ambassador scrawled, “Never-ending security threats…”
The seven-page diary, published with redactions today on the special operations website SOFREP.com, was originally found on the floor of the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi by a reporter from CNN days after that facility and a nearby CIA annex were targeted in separate sustained attacks by militants on Sept. 11, 2012. Stevens was killed in the attack along with State Department computer specialist Sean Smith and two former Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who were working as contractors with the CIA.
The journal shows Stevens was grateful to be back in Benghazi and eagerly watching democracy slowly sprouting in the northern African nation. He had last visited Benghazi nine months before when he snuck in the country in the midst of the popular uprising against dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
“Back in Benghazi after 9 months,” he writes. “It’s a grand feeling, given all the memories.”
Stevens is generally optimistic in his descriptions of Libya and its people, but he notes the “dicey conditions” on the ground there, where he said militias rule, and references previous attacks on diplomats. That didn’t stop Stevens from doing his job, detailing the many meetings he had the day he died.
CNN reported on the contents of the journal — including Stevens’ security concerns and his belief he was on an al Qaeda hit list — in the days after the attack to some controversy, but did not publish it at the request of Stevens’ family.
Today State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell confirmed the diary on SOFREP.com did appear to be Stevens’ and repeated the family’s wishes that the journal not be published.
“Ambassador Stevens was a cherished member of the State Department community who was clearly deeply committed to U.S. diplomacy and to the people of Libya, and he is profoundly missed here at this department and here in this government,” Ventrell told reporters.
Brandon Webb, a former Navy SEAL who founded SOFREP.com and wrote their report on the diary with ex-Special Forces soldier Jack Murphy, told ABC News they chose to publish the document “because it has value in the continued national conversation regarding senior State Department leadership’s negligence regarding security, and their lack of integrity and accountability since the attack.”
“Seeing Ambassador Stevens’ handwritten notes adds a level of intimacy previously not seen,” said Webb, who was best friends with Glen Doherty before he was killed.
Following an investigation into the assault, the State Department released an unclassified version of their Accountability Review Board report. The report said the investigation found “systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department [that] resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.” Four State Department employees were relieved of their duty as a result, including the assistant secretary for Diplomatic Security.
Today Jan Stevens, Christopher Stevens’ father, penned an op ed for CNN in which he discusses his son’s service.
“Chris was not willing to be the kind of diplomat who would strut around in fortified compounds. He amazed and impressed the Libyans by walking the streets with the lightest of escorts, sitting in sidewalk cafes, chatting with passers-by. There was a risk to being accessible. He knew it, and he accepted it,” Jan Stevens writes, without mentioning the diary. “What Chris never would have accepted was the idea that his death would be used for political purposes. There were security shortcomings, no doubt. Both internal and outside investigations have identified and publicly disclosed them. Steps are being taken to prevent their reoccurrence.”
“So rather than engage in endless recriminations, his family is working to continue building the bridges he so successfully began,” he adds.
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ABC News’ Luis Martinez contributed to this report.