Fact Check

Was the American Ambassador in Libya Raped Before Being Killed?

U.S. news accounts reported that Ambassador Stevens was alive when brought to a hospital, and he died of smoke inhalation from the fire started in the attack on the consulate.

Published Sep 18, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 14:  Intern Chris Jobson (L) and press assistant Isaiah Calvin (R) of Senate Democratic Media Center sign condolence book for Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens at the U.S. Capitol September 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Image Via Alex Wong/Getty Images
The American ambassador in Libya was raped and murdered during an attack on the U.S. Consulate.

In September 2012, Chris Stevens, the American ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans were killed when a mob armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades overwhelmed the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi and set fire to it. Ambassador Stevens died in the attack, becoming the first U.S. ambassador to be killed in the line of duty since 1979.

Shortly afterwards, the Lebanese news site Tayyar.org reproduced an Agence France Presse (AFP) account of the attack and included a paragraph stating that Ambassador Stevens had been raped and killed by gunmen and his body has been dragged through the streets:

Sources said that "the U.S. ambassador to Libya was raped sexually before killing by gunmen who stormed the embassy building in Benghazi last night to protest against the film is offensive to the Prophet Muhammad," The sources told AFP that the "Ambassador was killed and his body displayed in a manner similar to what happened when Gaddafi was killed."

An image was also circulated which was purportedly taken from a television news report and is said to show Ambassador Stevens in the hands of his killers:

Claims circulated online that picked up on this account and presented it as fact:

The American Ambassador in Libya was sexually raped before being killed, the American press has not said anything yet.

Very disturbing and explicits pictures that have not been shown in the US.

The American Ambassador in Libya was sexually raped before being killed, the American press has not said anything yet.

The news has jumped in some Lebanese ultra left blogs. The perpetrators of the massacre at the American Embassy in Libya savagely tortured the American Ambassador, Chris Stevens, violated sexually, before killing him. They then had a festive dance of death, swinging the corpse from one side to another.

Written by a cousin of Ambassador Stevens, a US Navy Chaplain, Senior Pastor Ret'd

Here is my story. A week out the Embassy in Tripoli began
receiving multiple tips about an Al Queda cell in the area planning an
attack on 9/11 in response to the killing of Bin Laden. For the next
several days, the state dept and WH were asked for a security force and
were denied at least six times. Ambassador Stevens and his team were given
the all clear that the Consulate in Benghazi was safe and there was no
need for a security force other than his 3 personal guards (one being my
cousin) and a few Libyans who were not armed. Then the attack and murders

Immediately the WH claimed it was a protest gone bad over a you
tube video. Obama made a quick speech in the Rose Garden on Sept.12 before
catching a plane to Vegas to campaign. He made a generic statement at the
end of his speech after placing the blame on an overheated protest over
the video. He said "No act of terror will shake the resolve of America.
Later that day and over the next 2 days, the liberal media began saying
Ambassador Stevens and the other 3 men died of smoke inhalation. This was
not the case.

Out of respect for my cousin, I'm not going to be specific about
his murder. However Ambassador Stevens was brutally murdered. His genitals
were cut off, he was sodomized and beaten and cut and stabbed and burned.
He was drug thru the streets and left for dead. This is eyewitness
testimony of a local Dr. who found the Ambassador in a ditch and tried to
save his life. He had no idea who he was. The other 3 men, including my
cousin, met similar fates. And deaths due to smoke inhalation is a 100%
fabricated LIE. The next week I drove my aunt and Uncle and 2 others to DC
to receive his body. We met with Hillary, Panetta, and Susan Rice. ALL of
whom apologized and said it was a protest gone bad over a video and exited
the area. Next, Obama entered with the same story and didn't apologize and
wasn't sympathetic. My aunt cried to this man and all he did was hand her
flowers and walk away. I tried to get his attention, but didn't. I got
upset and yelled liar to him, he kept walking. Then a secret service agent
grabbed my arm and led me to a room where I was held till the proceedings
were over.

America, I saw firsthand how cold this man is. What kind of liar
he is. Most of you haven't a clue about this tyrant and yet you support
him. And act like every word he says is Gospel. These murders and the fast
and furious cover ups make Watergate look like a kid who told his bff's
secret to the class.

Dr. Charles R. Roots Senior Pastor
Former Staff Sergeant, USMC Captain,
U. S. Navy Chaplain Corps (Ret.)

AFP said in response to the Tayyar report that:

Concerning your query on the report published by a Lebanese website according to which ambassador Stevens was sodomized. That report falsely quoted our news agency and has no truth whatsover to it. AFP promptly sent a strongly worded complaint to that website and they removed the report and published a denial, saying that AFP did not report such a thing.

U.S. news accounts reported that Ambassador Stevens was not raped and killed by members of that mob, as claimed above: he was alive when brought to a hospital, he bore no external injuries, and he died of smoke inhalation from the fire started in the attack on the consulate:

The ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, was missing almost immediately after the start of an intense, four-hour firefight for control of the mission, and his body was not located until [the following] morning at dawn, when he was found dead at a Benghazi hospital.

Within 15 minutes the militants had gained access to the compound "and began firing into the main building, setting it on fire. The Libyan guard and our mission security personnel responded," [a U.S.] official said.

Three people, including Stevens, a security officer, and information management officer Sean Smith, were in the building, the official said, asking not to be identified.

They became separated due to the heavy smoke. "The regional security officer made it outside, and then he and other security personnel returned into the burning building in an attempt to rescue Chris and Sean."

"Security personnel were endeavoring to get him out of the building when they got separated by the incredibly thick smoke and fire," the official said, adding that photos from the incident gave "some sense of how awful the conditions were."

"And they then turned right back, and got more help, and went back in to look for him. So this was really quite an heroic effort."

The team found Smith's body, but could not find the ambassador, and were driven back out of the building by the smoke and heavy arms fire.

Wanis al-Sharef, a Libyan Interior Ministry official in Benghazi, said Stevens and other officials were moved to a second building — deemed safer — after the initial wave of protests at the consulate compound. According to al-Sharef, members of the Libyan security team seem to have indicated to the protesters the building to which the American officials had been relocated, and that building then came under attack.

A Libyan doctor who treated Stevens said he died of severe asphyxiation, apparently from smoke. In a sign of the chaos of during the attack, Stevens was brought alone by Libyans to the Benghazi Medical Center with no other Americans, and no one at the facility knew who he was, the doctor, Ziad Abu Zeid, told The Associated Press.

Stevens was practically dead when he arrived close to 1 a.m., but "we tried to revive him for an hour and a half but with no success," Abu Zeid said. The ambassador had bleeding in his stomach because of the asphyxiation but no other injuries, he said.

CNN obtained a video which, contrary to accounts that Ambassador Stevens was murdered by the U.S. consulate's attackers, is said to show a group of Libyans attempting to rescue a still-alive Stevens from the burned-out consulate building:

The chaos is palpable, as a throng of Libyans frantically scramble outside a damaged building. Suddenly, a man's body is carried from inside toward an open window — and the frenzy and sounds become even more urgent, more emotional.

"Get him out!" some yell.

After joyfully discovering the man — a foreigner, apparently, a voice in the crowd says — is alive after he's dragged out, fresh screams ring out.

"Allahu Akbar," which translates from Arabic to "God is great," men in the crowd shout. Others raise fists to the sky, seemingly rejoicing that this man has somehow survived.

According to the man who shot the video, the wounded man shown is Chris Stevens, the late U.S. ambassador to Libya. If true, the grainy images show some of his last moments alive.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland acknowledged the video, even as she stressed it's not clear "whether or not it's authentic, whether or not it is an accurate representation of what happened, whether or not it's Ambassador Stevens."

The man who shot the aforementioned video, Fahed al-Bakush, told CNN he'd arrived shortly before midnight to find the consulate cafeteria building up in flames.

The smoke was so thick, he said, that you could barely see the consulate's main building.

Yet the video shows lots of activity, especially near an open window. People clambered in and out of it, aided by small flashlights and each other.

Eventually, the wounded man was carried out. Afterward, he's pictured on the ground in what appears to be a shirt and dark pants.

"He had a pulse and his eyes were moving," al-Bakush said of the man he said is Stevens. "His mouth was black from all the smoke."

With the man now outside, some yelled out, "Carry him," and others said, "We need to take him ... to the hospital." A later photo, also seen online, showed the wounded man being put on another man's shoulder and whisked away.

The circumstances of Ambassador Stevens' death are still under investigation:

The FBI has now opened an inquiry into the attack and the circumstances of the deaths of the three who were killed.

"We are not clear on the circumstances between the time when [the ambassador] got separated from the rest of the group inside the burning building to the time that we were notified that he was in a Benghazi hospital," [a U.S.] official said.

An autopsy will now be carried out to determine the cause of death.

As of this writing, the U.S. government has still not released any post-mortem information documenting the nature of Ambassador Stevens' death.


Damon, Arwa.   "Video Purportedly Shows Libyans Rushing to Aid U.S. Ambassador."     CNN.com.   18 September 2012.

Kirkpatrick, David D. and Steven Lee Myers.   "Libya Attack Brings Challenges for U.S."     The New York Times.   12 September 2012.

Mohamed, Esam.   "U.S. Ambassador to Libya, 3 Other Americans Killed in Rocket Attack."     [Los Angeles] Daily News.   12 September 2012.

Agence France Presse.   "Ambassador Chris Stevens' Final Hours a Mystery."     The Australian   13 September 2012.

CBS News.   "Assault on U.S. Consulate in Benghazi Leaves 4 Dead."     12 September 2012.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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