New details of U.S. Ambassador Stevens' final hours

In this photo taken April 11, 2011, then U.S. envoy Chris Stevens attends meetings at the Tibesty Hotel where an African Union delegation was meeting with opposition leaders in Benghazi, Libya.
AP Photo/Ben Curtis

(CBS News) On Wednesday, a State Department official is expected to tell Congress he warned his bosses that security in Libya was getting worse before that attack on the U.S. Consulate. Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson tells us his warnings include a log of 230 security incidents that occurred over a year.

Eric Nordstrom is expected to testify that his request for more troops and officers was turned down. As you know, U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack in Bengazhi last month. We've learned new details from State Department sources on what happened the night of the attack.

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The ambassador was taken to a safe room -- a bunker-like area inside the residence by one security agent who remained with him. This is after the attack began after 9:40 p.m. The four other agents ran to get heavy arms to protect the compound.

While they were gone, attackers entered the consulate and sprayed diesel fuel and lit it on fire. The smoke became so thick, that the security agent with Stevens decided they should leave that safe room. He tried to crawl out a window. He got out first -- standard procedure -- but the ambassador did not.

The agent then went back into that room several times, but suffered from smoke inhalation. He never found the ambassador. He radioed for backup -- the other agents didn't even know that the residence was on fire.

  • Margaret Brennan

    Margaret Brennan is moderator of CBS News' "Face The Nation" and CBS News' senior foreign affairs correspondent based in Washington, D.C.