Updated: Stop Using Chris Stevens’ Death for Political Gain

Dr. Anne Stevens, the sister of Ambassador Chris Stevens, has served as a family spokesperson since his death. She’s had enough of irresponsible politicians and their allies politicizing her brother’s death:

It is clear, in hindsight, that the facility was not sufficiently protected by the State Department and the Defense Department. But what was the underlying cause? Perhaps if Congress had provided a budget to increase security for all missions around the world, then some of the requests for more security in Libya would have been granted. Certainly the State Department is underbudgeted.

I do not blame Hillary Clinton or Leon Panetta. They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world. And their staffs were doing their best to provide what they could with the resources they had. The Benghazi Mission was understaffed. We know that now. But, again, Chris knew that. It wasn’t a secret to him. He decided to take the risk to go there. It is not something they did to him. It is something he took on himself….

Part of being a diplomat is being out in the community. We all recognize that there’s a risk in serving in a dangerous environment. Chris thought that was very important, and he probably would have done it again. I don’t see any usefulness in continuing to criticize her. It is very unjust….

It was so important to have a U.S. presence in Benghazi and to show support for the American center being set up and other programs, such as the Benghazi Medical Center. We were helping them establish their new society. I don’t think we’ll ever know why he made the decision to take the risk of going to Benghazi, knowing there were multiple attacks. It was clearly a bad decision….

With the many issues in the current election, to use that incident—and to use Chris’s death as a political point—is not appropriate.

Bubaker Habib, a local contractor for the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, meanwhile, has reminded everyone of Stevens’ heroic work, which should define his legacy, rather than his life and death being instrumentalized for attacks by shameless political hacks.

Upon my arrival (in the US) I was dismayed to find that the public conversation here had veered from memorializing a slain hero to hijacking his legacy for naked political agendas. Yet I maintained faith that, over time, the country would settle its discord, heal its wounds and return to honoring Chris Stevens, his life’s work and the noble mission for which he died.

We all know this has not happened, but not everyone will understand why. Yet I have had a front-row seat. For months, I have been approached by people seeking to persuade me to publicly endorse their false version of events that night, namely that Chris was taking part in secret weapons smuggling and that the secretary of state was responsible for letting him die….

The truth is that Chris’s mission was to help build a partnership between the United States and the Libyan people and to help rebuild the country. That’s what brought him to Benghazi, first as a special envoy in 2011 and then as ambassador in September 2012. He knew the dangers better than anyone else, yet he believed his mission was too important not to carry out to the fullest of his abilities. The attacks that claimed his life and those of three other brave Americans were crimes and tragedies of the greatest magnitude. The blame rests entirely and unquestionably on those who carried out the attacks….

The mission of the United States in Libya in 2011 and 2012 was noble, and Chris was its most lovable and effective champion.

Updated: Nine days after this article was published, the New York Times published this letter to the editor from Ambassador Chris Stevens’ mother:

As Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens’s mother, I am writing to object to any mention of his name and death in Benghazi, Libya, by Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party.

I know for certain that Chris would not have wanted his name or memory used in that connection. I hope that there will be an immediate and permanent stop to this opportunistic and cynical use by the campaign.