SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Ambassador Chris Stevens’ stepfather said Wednesday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has reached out to his family to offer her sympathies about the deadly Sept. 11 raid on the consulate in Libya that killed his stepson, but offered them no privileged information about the adequacy of diplomatic security.
As Clinton testified before Congress about the department’s missteps leading up to the assault at the U.S. outpost in Benghazi, the family avoided discussions of how to keep diplomats safe and focused instead on Clinton’s personal efforts to express her regrets through meetings and missives.
“We’re very aware of her sympathy because of our contact with her and the way she has connected with us,” said Stevens’ stepfather Bob Commanday, of Oakland. “It’s a tragedy and nothing that is said or done can bring him back, so we are just going on with life.”
In her last formal congressional testimony on Capitol Hill as America’s top diplomat on Wednesday, Clinton once again took full responsibility for the State Department’s shortfalls preceding the evening attack that killed Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans.
Her voice cracking at one point, Clinton said the experience was highly personal and insisted that the department was moving swiftly and aggressively to strengthen security at U.S. missions worldwide.
Commanday said he had not yet heard Clinton’s testimony, but said the family has avoided commenting on diplomatic security leading up to the attack that killed his stepson.
“We have always totally avoided this discussion about the adequacy, inadequacy, blame, whatever, of the situation that happened because we only know what we read in the paper and we have no privileged information,” Commanday said in a telephone interview. “We have no role in this. We are victims.”
Stevens, 52, grew up in a family of doctors and lawyers in Piedmont near Oakland, and showed an early interest in foreign policy. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1982, and learned Arabic when he subsequently volunteered for the Peace Corps as an English teacher in a remote village in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains.
After earning a law degree at the University of California’s Hastings College of Law in 1989, he joined the foreign service with early postings in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Israel and Egypt. He was dispatched to Benghazi during heavy fighting in April 2011 to set up an office to work with the Libyan opposition.
Follow Garance Burke on Twitter at
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past