Reaction has been largely supportive to the release of the personal journal of murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens, whose chilling pleas for help during the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi went unanswered.
"The overall reaction has been very positive," said Brandon Webb, a former Navy Seal who co-authored "Benghazi: the Definitive Report," in an interview with Newsmax.
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"Any time you publish something where there's a perception that this is a very personal document, people are understandably going to be a little bit shocked, but once people read his final thoughts they see it was more of a professional journal," said Webb, who serves as editor-in-chief of SOFREP.com
, a website for the Special Operations Forces Situation Report.
Motivation to make the details public was in direct response to the "smoke and mirrors that was coming out of Washington" with few getting the story straight on exactly what went down in Benghazi, Webb said.
"For us it was important because there was a lot of speculation about what Ambassador Stevens was thinking during his final days and when you see it in his own handwriting and that he truly did care about the political situation in Libya but also had a deep concern over the security system and it's in his own words. It's an important piece when we're talking about the accountability of the State Department."
The journal was first discovered by CNN. It details the final days of Stevens' life, leading up to the massacre. SOFREP made a decision to publish its contents, but withheld any deep personal details out of respect to the ambassador's family. He was among four people who died on Sept. 11, 2012, including two Navy Seals, when terrorists attacked the American compound in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city.
Webb described the most chilling post as Stevens' last entry. It was likely penned within hours before the attack.
"It's true we operate, the State Department operates, the US operates, in very dangerous places in the world. But my thing is this wasn't a case where you had people going forward and you had the adequate security that they warranted it. To me and others it was just gross negligence on the part of the State Department with the clear lack of security," Webb said of Stevens' desperation and fear.
"They were taking security measures away from these guys when Tripoli and Benghazi were rated as the top 10 most dangerous facilities" by the State Department on its own assessment, the DETL, which is the Security Environment Threat List.
Webb said SOFREP got the diary through sources connected to the State Department. "These people care about the truth and they don't want to expose any sensitive information, but they want the truth to be told people to be held accountable," he said. "I just hope we see some consequences within the State Department, where he says no one has been relieved of command or held accountable for not helping Stevens and others there.
Webb claims Undersecretary of Management Patrick Kennedy "clearly ignored repeated subordinate requests for security." Webb noted that of the 264 facilities around the world that use the State Department's security threat rankings system, Benghazi and Tripoli were in the Top 10 of 14 facilities rated high or critical threat.
He describes a communications breakdown for Stevens' and others that kept them from getting the protection they deserved.
"A lot of people don’t realize Tripoli was evacuated as well," Webb said of the looming danger in two cities in Libya where U.S. kept personnel.
"So Benghazi's calling down to the embassy in Tripoli and they're not getting any help because they're too busy evacuating the embassy in Tripoli because they just didn’t have adequate security."
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