"It was difficult to get there at the time. There weren't any flights. So we came in by a Greek cargo ship and unloaded our gear and our cars and set up our office there," Chris Stevens recounted in the article.
"My mandate was to go out and meet as many members of the leadership as I could in the Transitional National Council."
"I've gone around with our small team and tried to get to know other people in the society there."
Stevens said the Libyans were genuinely grateful to the United States for supporting their aspirations for freedom, as demonstrated by the greeting the team received.
The Libyans had hoisted British, French, Qatari and American flags at Freedom Square, the vast open area in front of the Benghazi courthouse, to greet the members of the mission. But the group's members needed more than a warm welcome; they needed a place to bed down for the night.
They soon settled into a formerly government-owned hotel where other foreign missions and international journalists were lodged, but they had to move when a car bomb exploded in the hotel parking lot.
Diplomatic advances were accomplished against a background of quiet success in overcoming some extraordinary operational barriers. Normal management and communications were rendered especially difficult for the U.S. team because Gadhafi loyalists had sabotaged the country's telephone and Internet systems, limiting contact both among Libyans and between Libya and the rest of the world.
"The immediate concern when we got there was that Gadhafi's forces had almost infiltrated and taken over Benghazi, but they were pushed out by NATO," Stevens said.
Just before his posting as ambassador, he posted the following video on Youtube. It makes heart-breaking viewing today:
During the 2011 uprising against Colonel Gadhafi, Stevens became the chief liaison between the U.S. and the Transitional National Council (TNC), acting as a vital go-between for the rebels.
(Photo: Reuters / )
During the 2011 uprising against Colonel Gaddafi, Christopher Stevens (pictured) became the chief liaison between the U.S. and the Transitional National Council (TNC), acting as a vital go-between for the rebels.