House Republicans recently released an 800-page report detailing the findings of their two-year investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attack. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, highlighted a disconnect between Washington and what was happening on the ground in Libya. The report did not focus on blaming Hillary Clinton specifically, although some members of the committee did accuse her of reacting to the attack with a political goal in mind, according to NBC News.
With this new development, the family of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador killed in Libya, is speaking out about the death of their loved one and about who should be blamed for what happened on that day in 2012. In particular, Anne Stevens, Chris’ sister, has been quite outspoken about Benghazi, speaking on behalf of the family on numerous occasions over the past several years. Now, she has a new statement about Hillary Clinton.
Here’s what you need to know about Anne Stevens, Chris’ sister.
1. She Works at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Anne Stevens works as a pediatrician at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. She specifically does a lot of research work, in particular trying to find out more about lupus, according to The Seattle Times.
Anne’s two brothers are Tom and the late Chris Stevens, and her parents are Mary and Jan Stevens. The Seattle Times reports that Anne, Chris and Tom are actually the great-great-great-great grandchildren of Chief Comcomly, member of Washington’s Chinook Tribe who assisted Lewis and Clarke on their expedition.
Anne remembers Steven as a good brother and a good man, noting that the outpouring of support after the Benghazi attack eased the family’s pain a bit.
“It helps to have the world mourning with you,” she said. “It helps to know he was appreciated.”
2. She’s Working on Improving Health Care in Libya
As it turns out, while Chris Stevens was in Benghazi, he was working with several physicians to launch a new project with the goal of improving health care in Libya. Although this endeavor was cut short by Stevens’ death, his sister Anne decided to finish what he started, now devoting much of her time to trying to improve Libya.
“This was one of the most neglected part of the country under Gaddafi,” she said. “They don’t have enough ambulances, anything like the 911 system or many of the most basic features of health care we take for granted here.”
Anne has been working with Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital to help launch a 911 system in Libya and to train physicians in the United States to send to Benghazi. She says the goal is that eventually these improved systems will spread throughout Libya as a whole. Anne had never done any work overseas prior to Stevens’ death, but after the attack, she decided to do all she could to continue his mission.
3. She Received Thousands of Supportive Letters from Muslims
Not long after the Benghazi attack, the non-profit Muslim organization CelebrateMercy organized a campaign to write letters to the family of Chris Stevens. Anne says she was overwhelmed with all of the support from people hoping to ensure this attack did not harm relations between the United States and Muslims around the world. Many of the condolences came from Libyans.
“I want to thank you on behalf of our family for the tremendous efforts you have been making to collect letters from people around the world,” she said in a statement to CelebrateMercy. “We are thankful for the goodwill of the thousands of good people who are reaching out. It is this public display of goodwill that will move us all to better understanding and collaboration.”
Stevens soon met with the founder of CelebrateMercy in Washington, D.C., where she was presented with all of the letters written to her bound together in a book.
“Violence and vandalism, no matter how angry you are, is not right in any religion,” CelebrateMercy founder Tarek El-Messidi said. “By killing an innocent man, this mob did more to offend the Prophet Muhammad’s legacy than this film could have ever done.”
4. She Set Up a Fund in Honor of Chris
Not long after Chris’ death, Anne helped set up RememberingChrisStevens.com, a website with the dual purpose of serving as a memorial for her brother and for raising funds to promote continued communication between the United States and the Middle East.
“Chris had a passion for building bridges between the peoples of the Middle East, North Africa, and the United States,” the website reads. “In this spirit, a fund has been established in his name to support this important, yet unfinished, endeavor.”
The Libyan government itself made a contribution to this fund. Anne says that she hopes that Chris’ goal of uniting the Western and Arab worlds continues even after the attack.
“I want to keep hoping the progress will continue,” she told the Seattle Times. “We can’t run away and say it’s too scary and dangerous. We have to keep collaborating.”
5. She Doesn’t Blame Hillary Clinton for Her Brother’s Death
In a recent interview with The New Yorker, Anne Stevens says she does not blame Hillary Clinton for her brother’s death, instead pointing towards the fact that the State Department is underbudgeted and needed more money from Congress.
“I do not blame Hillary Clinton or Leon Panetta,” Stevens said. “They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world. And their staffs were doing their best to provide what they could with the resources they had. The Benghazi Mission was understaffed. We know that now. But, again, Chris knew that. It wasn’t a secret to him. He decided to take the risk to go there. It is not something they did to him. It is something he took on himself.”
Stevens also said that Hillary Clinton has taken full responsibility for what occurred in Benghazi and that there is nothing useful to be gained out of continuing to criticize her. She went on to say that she feels her brother’s death has been politicized.
“Every report I read that mentions him specifically has a political bent, an accusatory bent,” she said. “One point that seems to be brought up again and again is the accusation that the attack was a response to the video. I could understand why that conclusion would be made, because it was right after the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Egypt. But, frankly, it doesn’t matter that that was the thinking, that night, about why the attack occurred. It’s irrelevant to bring that up again and again. It is done purely for political reasons.”