Chris Stevens' mother speaks out on death in Libya
(CBS News) In her first national TV interview, U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens' mother talked to CBS News about her son who was killed in Libya on September 11, his legacy, and what the government is telling her about his death.
The world now knows Stevens as a fearless ambassador, a man determined to support the Arab Spring. Yet Mary Commanday knew Stevens simply as her son. Commanday said, "He was a cheerful, positive-thinking person, and he was intelligent enough to know how to balance that with doing good work."
Asked how much she worried about his safety, Commanday said, "I asked him about it and I said, 'It's pretty dangerous over there, Chris,' he said, 'Well,' he said, he had, he had bodyguards and he trusted his bodyguards."
When asked if he ever expressed any concerns about his own personal safety, Commanday said, "No. ... He said, they went running with, they go running with me, they, they're always around."
But that security she thought was enough is now in question. Stevens and three other Americans were killed when terrorists attacked the consulate in Benghazi on September 11.
During Tuesday's presidential debate, the killings in Libya became a heated argument. Mitt Romney says the Obama administration misled the American people by first saying the attack was part of a spontaneous demonstration.
Romney said in the debate, "It was very clear this was not a demonstration, this was an attack by terrorists, and this calls into question the president's whole policy in the Middle East."
President Barack Obama countered, "The suggestion that anybody on my team, whether the Secretary of State, our U.N. ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we've lost four of our own, governor, is offensive."
The mother of Sean Smith, who was also killed in the attack, added fuel to the fire when she told CNN's Anderson Cooper that she does not trust what little the administration is telling her.
"I look at TV and I see bloody hand prints on walls, thinking, my God, is that my son's?" she said. "I don't know if he was shot. I don't know -- I don't know. They haven't told me anything. They are still studying it. And the things that they are telling me are just outright lies."
But Commanday doesn't want to talk about the politics surrounding her son's death. She said, "I don't think it's productive to lay blame on people."
The family held a memorial service in San Francisco this week to remember Ambassador Stevens, even though they don't yet fully understand exactly how he died.
Commanday told CBS News she hasn't had any updates or communications from the White House. Asked if she feels like her questions have been answered, Commanday said, "I mean, you have to know something about something in order to have questions about it and I don't know enough really to ask questions."
CBS News asked, "How much does it matter to you to know?"
Commanday replied, "Well, it doesn't bring him back, does it?"
Watch Ben Tracy's full report in the video above.
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