Real Science

On September 11—the day Stevens and three other Americans were killed—the ambassador signed a three-page cable, labeled “sensitive,” in which he noted “growing problems with security” in Benghazi and “growing frustration” on the part of local residents with Libyan police and security forces. These forces the ambassador characterized as “too weak to keep the country secure.”

· Roughly a month earlier, Stevens had signed a two-page cable, also labeled “sensitive,” that he entitled “The Guns of August: Security in Eastern Libya.” Writing on August 8, the ambassador noted that in just a few months’ time, “Benghazi has moved from trepidation to euphoria and back as a series of violent incidents has dominated the political landscape … The individual incidents have been organized,” he added, a function of “the security vacuum that a diverse group of independent actors are exploiting for their own purposes.”

“Islamist extremists are able to attack the…

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