- Text smaller
- Text bigger
WARNING: Video contains graphic images
NEW YORK - A 19-second video obtained by WND from Libyan expatriates apparently shows the body of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in a morgue in Benghazi after the Sept. 11 attack in which he and three other Americans were killed.
The video comes in the wake of a report by an independent review panel that concluded systematic management and leadership failures at the State Department led to "grossly" inadequate security at the mission in Benghazi.
Survivors of the attack say Stevens was locked in a safe-room with information manager Sean Smith as the compound went up in flames, fueled by diesel oil, and was unable to escape.
No autopsy results have been released.
After repeatedly insisting the deaths were the result of a violent protest against an obscure anti-Muslim film posted on Youtube.com, the administration pointed to jihadists with ties to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Immediately after the attack, reports by the Lebanese news organization Tagyar.org, citing Agence-France Presse sources, said Stevens was alive after terrorists attacking the compound captured him and that he was sexually abused prior to being killed.
However, four days after the attack, the Washington Times published a denial by AFP. The news wire said the Lebanese site had "removed the report and published a denial, saying that AFP did not report such a thing." A video news report by the Libyan Free Press, which later was removed, also said Stevens was sodomized before he was killed.
At the Sept. 12 U.S. State Department press briefing, an official was asked whether Stevens was alive after the attack and whether he died of smoke inhalation, as had been reported.
"Frankly, we are not clear on the circumstances between the time that he got separated from his – from the rest of the group inside the burning building, to the time that we were notified that he was in a Benghazi hospital," the official said. "And again, we were not able to see him until his body was returned to us at the airport.
"You can imagine that we will not be able to say anything about the cause of death until we’ve had a chance to perform an autopsy."
WND was first to report the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi served as a meeting place to coordinate aid for rebel-led insurgencies in the Middle East, according to Middle Eastern security officials.
In September, WND reported that Stevens played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian security officials.
Last month, Middle Eastern security sources further described both the U.S. mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi as the main intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels that was being coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.