Christopher Stevens, a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, helped Libyans transition from Gadhafi dictatorship.
Anti-Muslim hate film sparks protests in Middle East
U.S. envoy Christopher Stevens, left, who died in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is shown here in April 2011 meeting in Benghazi with physician Suleiman Fortia, a member of the Libyan opposition council.
President Barack Obama delivers a statement alongside Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, following the death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and others, from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Sept. 12.
Cindy Lee Garcia was in the film, which she said was re-cut to be anti-Islamic and that she knew nothing about the producer’s hateful intentions.
U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, who was killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate, was a Bay Area man.
Along with Stevens, another diplomat and two American security guards died in the attack on Tuesday, the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.
Born and raised in Piedmont, Stevens attended Piedmont High School before graduating from the University of California, Berkeley in 1982, and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco in 1989.
Stevens, who spoke Arabic and French, was a career diplomat and a former Peace Corps volunteer who spent three years, from 1983 to 1985, teaching English in Morocco in the 1980s.
He was the son of retired Marin Symphony cellist Mary Commanday and stepson of San Francisco Classical Voice founder Robert Commanday. His stepfather told NBC that Stevens played the saxophone “about at the Bill Clinton level, but marginally in public.”
The Consulate was attacked by a group of protesters angry over a film that ridiculed Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Stevens, a diplomat and lawyer, was the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979.
Current and former colleagues described Stevens, 52, as a man of decency and intelligence whose easy manner belied a serious mind and a yen for tough assignments.
“He was a ‘have satellite phone, will travel’ kind of guy,” a colleague said.
“They just killed the best of the next generation in the inner sanctum of the foreign service,” said a retired senior U.S. diplomat who knew Stevens, describing him as a trustworthy and light-hearted man who made friends easily.
Law enforcement on Thursday identified Nakoula Basseley Nakoula as the man behind “Innocence of Muslims,” the anti-Islam movie that is widely blamed for riots, which have spread to countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Earlier reports centered around a certain Sam Bacile, but many doubts have been cast on Bacile’s identity. Cell phones tied to Bacile and Nakoula traced to the same address.
Nakoula, 55, ran afoul of the law in 2010, when he pleaded no contest to federal bank fraud charges after being indicted in a scheme involving fake bank accounts created using stolen Social Security numbers.
He was given a 21-month prison sentence and had to pay $790,000.
Nakoula is now reported to be a Coptic Christian, not Jewish and Israeli-American as previously stated.
Actors in “Innocence of Muslims” say they were duped by the man claiming to be Bacile and that the film as they knew it was not about Islam.
One actress claimed all the offensive references were dubbed over the lines the cast actually read. The movie was originally titled “Desert Warriors.”