Christopher Stevens was on al Qaeda hit list, Hillary Clinton says ‘no’
Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya who died in a terrorist attack on the consulate in Benghazi, said he was on an Al-Qaeda hit list, according to CNN.
Citing a source familiar with Stevens’s thinking, the news network reported he was worried about Al-Qaeda’s increasing presence in Libya and never-ending security problems in Benghazi.
Now US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday she has “absolutely no information or reason to believe there is any basis” to suggest that Ambassador Stevens believed he was on an al Qaeda hit list.
The State Department is setting up an independent panel to examine the Benghazi attack, Foreign Policy reported Wednesday. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry said the panel preempts the need to pass a GOP bill asking the State Department to report to Congress on the attacks in 30 days.
Stevens spoke about a rise in Islamic extremism and al Qaeda’s growing presence in Libya, the source said.
The White House, for the first time Thursday, declared the attack that killed Stevens and three other people a terrorist attack.
On Wednesday, Matthew Olsen, director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, gave a similar statement.
“I would say yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy,” Olsen said at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing.
At a memorial service Thursday in Libya, Mohamed al-Magariaf, president of Libya’s General National Congress, expressed sorrow for the deaths of the four who were working “for the sake of Libya.”
Libyan and U.S. officials attended the service in Tripoli for Stevens, computer expert Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
Stevens “helped Libya in its darkest hours,” al-Magariaf said.
“He worked tirelessly as a representative of the United States of America.”
The U.S. national anthem played at the ceremony.
Al-Magariaf vowed the perpetrators will be brought to justice.