Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the attack in Libya that killed four U.S. officials, including Ambassador John Christopher Stevens:
"Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to a man who was killed in service to his country, a man who hails from my State of California, Ambassador John Christopher Stevens.
I was shocked and saddened to learn of the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and the other three Americans who were killed during horrible attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya. My deepest condolences go out to their families. They remain in my thoughts and prayers.
He was struck down in the consulate by an act of mob violence which should never have taken place. There is simply no justification for this type of action and I condemn it in the strongest terms.
I would like to begin by telling you a little bit about this dedicated public servant, someone with a unique and distinguished biography.
Born and raised in Piedmont California, Ambassador Stevens graduated from Piedmont High School before receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkley in 1982 and a J.D. from the University of California’s Hastings College of Law in 1989.
Before he joined the Foreign Service in 1991, he was an international trade lawyer in Washington, D.C. and from 1983 to 1985, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco.
His overseas postings were consequential and showed he was an effective Foreign Service officer. He served as:
- the Deputy Principal officer and Political Section Chief in Jerusalem;
- a political officer in Damascus;
- a consular/political officer in Cairo; and
- a consular/economic officer in Riyadh.
In addition to his service abroad, Ambassador Stevens was the Director of the Office of Multilateral Nuclear and Security Affairs; a Pearson Fellow with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; special assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs; Iran desk officer; and staff assistant in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
He also served twice in Libya before becoming ambassador: as Deputy Chief of Mission at our Embassy in Tripoli from 2007 and 2009 and Special Representative to the Libyan Transitional Council from March 2011 to November 2011.
In May, 2012, he became the first U.S. Ambassador to Libya following the fall of Qaddafi.
As you can see, he had a long and distinguished career as one of our top diplomats, someone who learned the language and culture of a region of the world critical to U.S. national security interests.
Clearly, this was someone who was committed to helping the Libyan people achieve their goal of a free and democratic country after decades of brutal dictatorship.
As ambassador, he immediately went to work to help Libya build a new future, engaging government officials, academics, businessmen, and civil society leaders on a daily basis.
Sadly, his term as ambassador and his service to his country ended far too soon.
This attack and the assault on our Embassy in Cairo serve as sobering reminders that we must continue to pay attention to the events in the countries involved in the Arab Spring.
While in some countries like Egypt and Libya autocrats have fallen and the people have elected new leadership, tensions remain high and uncertainty about the future abounds.
There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that these countries fully embrace democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
It is critical, that those responsible for these acts are brought to justice. And I call on the Governments of Libya and Egypt to work closely with the administration to ensure that this does not happen again.
Ambassador Stevens was one of our best. He will be sorely missed."