Amb.Stevens' Final Diary Entry: 'Never ending security threats...'
SOFREP, a special forces blog, has published the contents of Ambassador Stevens' diary. The final entry made on September 11th reads "Never ending security threats..." Stevens also recounted a list of prior attacks in Benghazi very similar to the one State Department officials had removed from public talking points days after the attack.
The diary was discovered in Benghazi by CNN days after the attack but has not been published until today. SOFREP notes that "any personal thoughts not related to Stevens’ official duties have been
redacted out of respect for the late Ambassador and his family." And indeed some entries in the published pages are heavily redacted. What remains are some notes about the situation in Libya. The September 11th diary entry begins on a hopeful note, "It's so nice to be back in Benghazi. Much stronger emotional connection to this place--the people but also the smaller town feel and the moist air and green and spacious compound."
But Stevens' final entry is like something out of a movie. He writes "Never ending security threats..." followed by a long blank page. Stevens may have been referring to an incident described by Sean Smith just hours before the attack. He wrote on a gaming message board "We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures."
Smith's comments were later confirmed by documents found abandoned at the compound by reporters for Al Aan TV in Dubai. Six weeks after the attack, well after the FBI had visited the site, the reporters found an unsighned letter dated September 11, 2012 which read:
early this morning at
0643, September 11, 2012, one of our diligent guards made a troubling report.
Near our main gate, a member of the police force was seen in the upper level of
a building across from our compound. It is reported that this person was
photographing the inside of the U.S. special mission and furthermore that this
person was part of the police unit sent to protect the mission. The police car
stationed where this event occurred was number 322.
Perhaps the most damning statement found in Stevens' journal is one reported by Foreign Policy dated September 6th "Dicey conditions, including car bombs, attacks on consulate, British
embassy, and our own people. Islamist 'hit list' in Benghazi. Me
targeted on a pro-Q [Qaeda? Qaddafi?] website (no more off-compound
jogging)." This is similar to a paragraph found in early drafts of the Benghazi talking points:
Since April there have been at least five other attacks against foreign
interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June
attack against the British ambassador's convoy. We cannot rule out the
individuals has [sic] previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also
contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.
The State Department was aware of the list of attacks which so concerned Stevens. It was apparently also aware that there may have been surveillance of the compound prior to the attack. But unidentified higher ups pushed spokesman Victoria Nuland to have this information removed from the talking points lest State look bad in front of Congress.