Q&A on the News

Q: Benghazi is in the news again since Hillary Clinton is running for president. Has anyone explained why Ambassador Christopher Stevens decided to go from Tripoli, where he was safe, to Benghazi, where he was unprotected and then killed?

—Anna Holloway, Newnan

A: Stevens traveled to Benghazi the day before the attacks on Sept. 11, 2012, to "reconnect with local contacts," the State Department Accountability Review Board reported, according to a 2015 Washington Post article.

Stevens had been the U.S. deputy chief of mission to Libya from 2007 to 2009 and had spent time in Benghazi in 2011.

He had been the ambassador to Libya since May 2012.

The Accountability Review Board also stated that Stevens, who spoke both Arabic and French, wanted to help with staffing at the Benghazi Special Mission compound and to open a library.

He was scheduled to stay at the compound until Sept. 14. The compound wasn’t an official facility and didn’t have a Marine guard.

“Chris Stevens did not ask anyone for permission to go to Benghazi; I don’t think it would have crossed his mind,” Hillary Clinton told the House Foreign Affairs Committee in 2013, as reported by the Post.

Stevens, information officer Sean Smith and CIA contractors Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2012.

Andy Johnston with Fast Copy News Service wrote this column. Do you have a question? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).