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80
NOVEMBER 2012
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
strain diplomats. As a political ofcer in
Jerusalem, with the sensitive assignment
of working with the Palestinian leader-
ship, he tried to get into the West Bank
even when violence fared between
Palestinians and Israelis.
As Ghaith al-Omari, a former top
adviser to the Palestinian Authority who
dealt with Amb. Stevens during peace
negotiations, told the
Washington Post
:
“We were on opposite sides in a way.
During a meeting, he was very proper
and professional. Having a cofee after
the meeting, he was very friendly and
asked a lot of questions. You ended up
with a diplomat who had texture.”
“He understood so much about the
Middle East,” Austin Tichenor, a high
school classmate and lifelong friend,
told the
Post
. “Te only small solace is
that he died the same way he lived,” he
added—in the thick of things.
“I was honored to know Ambassador
Chris Stevens,” Secretary of State Hillary
Rodham Clinton said in her remarks at
Andrews Air Force Base on Sept. 14.
“I want to thank his parents and siblings
for sharing Chris with us and with our
country. What a wonderful gift you gave
us. Over his distinguished career in the
Foreign Service, Chris won friends for
the United States in far-fung places.”
“One of the very fnest ofcers of his
generation in the Foreign Service” is
how Deputy Secretary of State William
J. Burns described Christopher Stevens
on Sept. 12. “I last saw Chris on a visit
to Libya about six weeks ago, shortly
after his arrival as ambassador, and I
remember thinking on the plane ride
home that his was the kind of courage
and talent and leadership that would
inspire another generation of American
diplomats,” Burns told the
Washington
Post
. “We will miss him deeply, but long
remember his example.”
Mr. Stevens maintained a daily regi-
men of running even in Libya, jogging
through goat farms, olive groves and
vineyards. He played tennis, was a Los
Angeles Lakers fan and enjoyed playing
the saxophone. He was a member of
AFSA and DACOR.
His father, Jan S. Stevens, is a lawyer.
His mother, Mary Commandy, a cellist
with the Marin Symphony Orchestra
from 1976 to 2004, is a Chinook Indian,
and Stevens and his siblings are direct
descendants of Chinook Chief Com-
comly. Te Stevenses divorced in 1975,
and both remarried.
Christopher Stevens is survived by
his father, Jan Stevens; his mother and
stepfather, Mary and Robert Comman-
day of Piedmont, Calif.; a sister, Anne;
a brother, Tomas; and a stepsister,
Hilary.
Te family has created a Web site,
Remembering Chris Stevens
(
www.
rememberingchrisstevens.com) an
d
established a fund in his name to
support the work of building bridges
between the people of the United States
and the Middle East, the endeavour to
which he dedicated his life.
n
Sean Patrick Smith
, 34, a State
Department information management
ofcer and 10-year veteran of the For-
eign Service, was in Libya on a tempo-
rary assignment when he was killed.
A native of San Diego, Calif., Mr.
Smith enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in
1995 at the age of 17. He served for six
years as a ground radio maintenance
specialist, including a deployment to
Oman, before leaving the Air Force in
2002 as a staf sergeant. He joined the
Foreign Service that year as an informa-
tion management specialist.
Hailing Sean Smith as “one of our
best,” Secretary of State Clinton praised
his service to the country in previous
postings to Brussels, Baghdad, Pretoria,
Montreal and Te Hague. “He enrolled
in correspondence courses at Penn
State and had high hopes for the future,”
Clinton continued in her remarks at
Andrews Air Force Base.
Referring to the many grieving fam-
ily members, friends, and colleagues
Smith leaves behind, Clinton added:
“And that’s just in this world. Because
online in the virtual worlds that Sean
helped create, he is also being mourned
by countless competitors, collaborators
and gamers who shared his passion.”
Mr. Smith was well known as a
computer expert and an active member
of the online gaming community. In
particular, he was an avid participant
in EVE Online, the intergalactic multi-
player game of space combat, diplomacy
and political intrigue where he was
known as “Vile Rat”—a smart but tough
diplomat and spy who worked on behalf
of a major alliance called Goonswarm.
Online gamers were among the frst
to learn of his death. Mr. Smith, who
had been online with fellow gamer and
Goonswarm director Alex Gianturco
shortly before the Sept. 11 attack on
the U.S. consulate errupted, signed of
temporarily with this fateful message:
“...assuming we don’t die tonight. We
saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the
compound taking pictures.”
It had happened before. “In Baghdad,
the same kind of thing happened—
incoming sirens, he’d vanish, we’d freak
out and he’d come back ok after a bit,”
Gianturco recalled later. But, “this time
he said ‘F---’ and ‘Gunfre,’ then discon-
nected and never returned.”
Tat night Gianturco, known in the
EVE world as Te Mittani, posted this:
“My people, I have grievous news. Vile
Rat has been confrmed to be KIA in