September 14, 2012
The killings of the US ambassador to Libya and three of his staff
were likely to have been the result of a serious and continuing security
breach, The Independent can reveal.
American officials believe the attack
was planned, but Chris Stevens had been back in the country only a
short while and the details of his visit to Benghazi, where he and his
staff died, were meant to be confidential.
The US administration
is now facing a crisis in Libya. Sensitive documents have gone missing
from the consulate in Benghazi and the supposedly secret location of the
"safe house" in the city, where the staff had retreated, came under
sustained mortar attack. Other such refuges across the country are no
longer deemed "safe".
Some of the missing papers from the
consulate are said to list names of Libyans who are working with
Americans, putting them potentially at risk from extremist groups, while
some of the other documents are said to relate to oil contracts.
According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department
had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in
Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be
targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert
and "lockdown", under which movement is severely restricted.