The State Department agents lost track of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens during the incident, in the heavy smoke after the militants set fire to the building. Stevens was overcome by smoke and was later carried out of the damaged building by Libyans who took him to a local hospital where he apparently died from smoke inhalation. His exit from the building was filmed on a camera cellphone and posted on YouTube. It later became part of a composite video crafted by the intelligence community to show lawmakers a real-time sequence of the attack, weaving it together with surveillance video from a CIA drone and from the consulate's security cameras.
U.S. intelligence has blamed the attack on militants who are members of a number of different groups, from the local Libyan militia Ansar al-Shariah, whose members were seen at the U.S. consulate during the attack, to militants with links to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb — core al-Qaida's leading representative in the African region. The consulate's cameras captured many of the faces of armed men in a mob, and some have been questioned, but most remain free.
U.S. intelligence efforts have been hampered by the evacuation of CIA officers from Benghazi in the aftermath of the attack.
Libyan officials could not be reached for comment.
AP writer Adam Goldman contributed to this report.
Dozier can be followed on Twitter (at)kimberlydozier.
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