Close colleague recalls Ambassador Chris Stevens

(KGO)
September 13, 2012 9:45:59 PM PDT
A close friend of Ambassador Chris Stevens is talking about his relationship with the diplomat, his mission in Libya, and the failed security measures at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Dr. Peter Bartu is a United Nations mediator and a visiting UC Berkeley scholar. Today, he is mourning the loss of close personal friend and asking questions about the poor security that allowed Stevens, three other Americans, and several Libyans to be killed.

"This is the first time that an ambassador has been lost in more than 30 years," Bartu told ABC7 News. Bartu and Stevens had a friendship that spanned more than a decade. Stevens and the other Americans died during a protest outside the U.S. consulate over a film that ridiculed Muslims and described the prophet Mohammed as a child molester, playboy, and ruthless killer.

Still being investigated is where Stevens was killed and by whom. Asked about the compound which Bartu once knew well he replied, "At the time that I knew that compound back in 2011, the security arrangements seemed to be fine. Clearly, the circumstances have changed." The demonstration was one of several protests across the region that day. U.S. officials are working to determine if a militant group planned the attack.

In a YouTube video the Department of State made to introduce Stevens to Libya, the diplomat spoke about how he looked forward to working with the country's new leadership. "He was born into this work," Bartu told ABC7 News. And, he would die doing it, but Bartu is convinced his work was not in vain. "He took great delight in putting himself in the other person's shoes and understanding their culture," he said.

Stevens was raised in Piedmont and educated in the Bay Area. He spent most of his diplomatic career in the Arab world completing two tours in Libya before he was appointed ambassador in May. The home of Stevens' family was quiet Thursday. They made the trip to Washington to retrieve his body and plan for a funeral.

For those who knew Stevens, understanding what happened and why may be difficult, but his friend and diplomatic colleague says they deserve an answer. "Both the U.S. government and the Libyan government are going to have to do a very thorough investigation as to how the circumstances emerged by which the compound was penetrated and Ambassador Stevens was killed. Without a doubt, that has to happen," Bartu said.

At least one person has been arrested for their role in Tuesday's attack and others are being pursued.


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