The news in Libya is going from bad to worse: U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens has reportedly been killed in a rocket attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Stevens is said to have died from smoke inhalation; journalist Zaid Benjamin tweeted a photo believed to be of the U.S. diplomat after he was killed. Reuters is also reporting that three other embassy staff died in the attack.
As The Cable reported last night, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked last night be an "armed mob," which set fire to the building. As in Cairo, demonstrators were protesting an anti-Islam film that had been largely unknown until this week. The Washington Post reported that the filmmaker, an Israeli living in California, went into hiding after demonstrations broke out in both Libya and Egypt.
Stevens, a career Foreign Service officer who had previously served across the Middle East, had been the point person for U.S. diplomatic efforts during last year’s war to topple Muammar al-Qaddafi. After NATO’s establishment of a no-fly zone, he based himself in Benghazi, where he worked to unite the country’s disparate rebel groups under the Transitional National Council.
It is a tragic irony that the U.S. diplomat who had done so much to free Benghazi from the grip of a dictator that it despised would die at the hands of that city’s residents only months later, in a spasm of religion-fueled hatred.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C.| The Cable |