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September 12th, 2012
10:11 AM ET

Fran Townsend: Death of U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens an ‘extraordinary loss’ for Libya

CNN contributor Fran Townsend weighs in on the death of American ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya following attacks Tuesday on the U.S. consulate in Libya and the embassy in Egypt.

“Chris Stevens had a particular sort of affinity for Benghazi,” says Townsend, the former Homeland Security advisor to the Bush administration. “At the height of the fighting, he was with the rebels in Benghazi before there was sort of an official consulate, an establishment there, and that’s prior of course to being appointed ambassador. He knew Benghazi. He knew the rebels in Benghazi. He felt very comfortable there. This is a guy who was a real professional who rolled his sleeves up. He wanted to help the Libyans get the freedom that they had fought for and so it’s an extraordinary loss not only for the state department, and obviously Chris’ family, it’s a loss to the country.”

Townsend adds that the international community has turned its attention away from Libya and that there needs to be a commitment to developing institutions and establishments in the country. “Libya has been in a very fragile security situation and really needs the attention and support of the international community,” she says. “Unfortunately, it will now get the attention it needed before this tragedy, it will get it now because of this.”

Filed under: Arab Spring • Egypt • Libya • State Department
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