Events in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on 11 September gave rise to a host of questions which still hang in the air nearly two months later. They are being held in suspension by the processes of the American presidential election. The Obama administration is not talking and the American media, by and large, is not asking (and that is reflected in New Zealand media).
On that day, the American ambassador and three others were killed in a well-organised and well-armed attack by al-Qaeda terrorists. This would not have been a surprise to local staff, or officials in the various diplomatic and security agencies. The consulate building had been attacked in a smaller way on two occasions before and the Ambassador had asked for more protection. The nearby British diplomatic post had also been attacked (Britain subsequently closed it and withdrew its ambassador), as had been the local International Committee of the Red Cross facility. More generally, there was a notable build-up of Islamic activist groups in the region and plenty of unsecured lethal weaponry left over from the Libyan civil war.