Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News is reporting that after Ambassador Christopher Stevens died, U.S. officials told the Benghazi Medical Center to use a “John Doe” pseudonym on his death certificate. A U.S. official claimed this was done to avoid making the importance of Stevens’ death known.
The same official, who wished to remain anonymous, said that U.S. officials still claim they don’t know whether Stevens was alive when the cell phone video recordings of his body being carried or dragged from the U.S. mission were made. They also claim ignorance as to who brought Stevens to the medical center.
U.S. officials claim that medical staff attempted resuscitation for about 40 minutes, although a Libyan doctor said it was 90 minutes.
The anonymous official laid out the events of the night of the attack in this timeline featured in Attkisson’s report:
- On Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 10 PM in Benghazi, State Department Information Officer Sean Smith’s body was removed from the mission. Stevens’ whereabouts were unknown.
- By 11 PM, some Libyans, who may have been looters, found Stevens and removed him from the mission; someone transported him to the medical center, where his identity was unrecognized. An unidentified man used Stevens’ cell phone and, using the number programmed in the phone, called the U.S. embassy in Tripoli. He spoke in Arabic and wanted Americans to get Stevens, but U.S. officials were suspicious that the hospital was in the hands of hostile militia forces. The officials refused to send a U.S. rescue team that was waiting at Benghazi’s airport.
- A local contact, whom the Americans knew as “Babakar,” contacted the U.S. embassy and confirmed Stevens’ death. He sent some of his friends to retrieve Stevens’ body at the hospital; when officials there asked what name to use on the death certificate, U.S. officials told them to use “John Doe.” Babakar’s associates brought Stevens’ body to the airport and the Americans recovered it then.
- Stevens was flown from Benghazi to Tripoli on the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 12. According to the official’s story, it was then that Barack Obama found out about the death.
- The night of Sept. 12, a C-17 military aircraft brought the Americans who were killed to Ramstein, Germany. On Sept. 14, the victims’ bodies were brought to Andrews Air Force base for a ceremony, after which Stevens’ body was taken to an FBI facility in Dover, DE, for an autopsy. It was found he died of asphyxia, presumably from smoke inhalation. Strangely enough, officials there said there was no internal damage, no indication of assault and no mistreatment of his body.