A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Roots Not Related to Ambassador Stevens


Q: Is Charles Roots a cousin of the late U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, and did he write the “true story” about Stevens’ death?

A: No. Roots is not related to Stevens, and he says he is “disgusted” by a story attributed to him about Stevens’ death.

FULL QUESTION

Is the story about Ambassador Stevens by his cousin Dr. Charles Roots true?

Written by a cousin of Ambassador Stevens, a US Navy Chaplain, Senior Pastor Ret’d

THIS IS A TRUE STORY…and a dirty one! Be sure to read at least to the Bold highlighted area – and then pass it on. You need to read this true account of what happened to our Ambassador Stevens and the other 3 who died. If this doesn’t make you mad………Cynthia Lee Myers wanted to share the truth of what happened over in Libya, you will not find this in the media yet, but it aired on FNC…..please read….

“Here is my story. A week out the Embassy in Tripoli began receiving multiple tips about an Al Queda cell in the area planning an attack on 9/11 in response to the killing of Bin Laden. For the next several days, the state dept and WH were asked for a security force and were denied at least six times. Ambassador Stevens and his team were given the all clear that the Consulate in Benghazi was safe and there was no need for a security force other than his 3 personal guards (One being my cousin) and a few Libyans who were not armed. Then the attack and murders occurred. [EET ]

Immediately the WH claimed it was a protest gone bad over a you tube video. Obama made a quick speech in the Rose Garden on Sept.12 before catching a plane to Vegas to campaign. He made a generic statement at the end of his speech after placing the blame on an overheated protest over the video. He said “No act of terror will shake the resolve of America.” Later that day and over the next 2 days, the liberal media began saying Ambassador Stevens and the other 3 men died of smoke inhalation. This was not the case.

Out of respect for my cousin, I’m not going to be specific about his murder. However Ambassador Stevens was brutally murdered. His genitals were cut off, he was sodomized and beaten and cut and stabbed and burned. He was drug thru the streets and left for dead. This is eyewitness testimony of a local Dr. who found the Ambassador in a ditch and tried to save his life. He had no idea who he was. The other 3 men, including my cousin, met similar fates. And deaths due to smoke inhalation is a 100% fabricated LIE. The next week I drove my aunt and Uncle and 2 others to DC to receive his body. We met with Hillary, Panetta, and Susan Rice. ALL of whom apologized and said it was a protest gone bad over a video and exited the area. Next, Obama entered with the same story and didn’t apologize and wasn’t sympathetic. My aunt cried to this man and all he did was hand her flowers and walk away. I tried to get his attention, but didn’t. I got upset and yelled liar to him, he kept walking. Then a secret service agent grabbed my arm and led me to a room where I was held till the proceedings were over.

America, I saw firsthand how cold this man is. What kind of liar he is. Most of you haven’t a clue about this tyrant and yet you support him. And act like every word he says is Gospel. These murders and the fast and furious cover ups make Watergate look like a kid who told his bff’s secret to the class.

THIS PART YOU DON’T KNOW, BUT SHOULD. AMERICAN VALOR, BENGHAZI , LIBYA:

The stunning part of this story is that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty killed 60 of the attacking force. Once the compound was overrun, the attackers were incensed to discover that just two men had inflicted so much death and destruction.

The news has been full of the attacks on our embassies throughout the Muslim world, and in particular, the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others in Benghazi, Libya. However, there’s a little known story of incredible bravery, heroics, and courage that should be the top story.

So what actually happened at the U.S. embassy in Libya? We are learning more about this every day. Ambassador Stevens and Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, along with administrative staff, were working out of temporary quarters due to the fact that in the spring of 2011 during the so-called Arab Spring, the United States cut ties with then president Moammar Gadhafi. Our embassy was looted and ransacked, causing it to be unusable. It is still in a state of disrepair. Security for embassies and their personnel is to be provided by the host nation. Since Libya has gone through a civil war of sorts in the past 18 months, the current government is very unstable, and therefore, unreliable.

A well-organized attack by radical Muslims was planned specifically targeting the temporary U.S. embassy building. The Libyan security force that was in place to protect our people deserted their post, or joined the attacking force. Either way, our people were in a real fix.

And it should be noted that Ambassador Stevens had mentioned on more than one occasion to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that he was quite concerned for his personal safety and the welfare of his people.

It is thought that Ambassador Stevens was on a “hit list”. A short distance from the American compound, two Americans were sleeping. They were in Libya as independent contractors working an assignment totally unrelated to our embassy. They also happened to be former Navy Seals.

When they heard the noise coming from the attack on our embassy, as you would expect from highly trained warriors, they ran to the fight. Apparently, they had no weapons, but seeing the Libyan guards dropping their guns in their haste in fleeing the scene, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty snatched up several of these discarded weapons and prepared to defend the American compound.

Not knowing exactly what was taking place, the two Seals set up a defensive perimeter. Unfortunately Ambassador Stevens was already gravely injured, and Foreign Service officer, Sean Smith, was dead. However, due to their quick action and suppressive fire, twenty administrative personnel in the embassy were able to escape to safety. (But all have been silenced and kept away from Congress and all investigations on Benghazi!!) Eventually, these two courageous men were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers brought against them, an enemy force numbering between 100 to 200 attackers which came in two waves. But the stunning part of the story is that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty killed 60 of the attacking force. Once the compound was overrun, the attackers were incensed to discover that just two men had inflicted so much death and destruction.

As it became apparent to these selfless heroes, they were definitely going to lose their lives unless some reinforcements showed up in a hurry. As we know now, that was not to be. I’m fairly certain they knew they were going to die in this gun fight, but not before they took a whole lot of bad guys with them!

Consider these tenets of the Navy SEAL Code:

1) Loyalty to Country, Team and Teammate,

2) Serve with Honor and Integrity On and Off the Battlefield,

3) Ready to Lead, Ready to Follow, Never Quit,

4) Take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your teammates,

5) Excel as Warriors through Discipline and Innovation,

6) Train for War, Fight to Win, Defeat our Nation’s Enemies, and…

7) Earn your Trident every day.

Thank you, Tyrone and Glen. To the very last breath, you both lived up to the SEAL Code. You served all of us well. You were courageous in the face of certain death. And Tyrone, even though you never got to hold your newborn son, he will grow up knowing the character and quality of his father, a man among men who sacrificed himself defending others.

Dr. Charles R. Roots Senior Pastor Former Staff Sergeant, USMC Captain, U. S. Navy Chaplain Corps (Ret.) This should be passed on and on and on.[/EET]

FULL ANSWER

Charles Roots is not related to the late Christopher Stevens, and he denied writing anything that graphically described how Stevens was “sodomized and beaten and cut and stabbed and burned” on the night of the terrorist attack in Benghazi.

Roots sent the following note to his colleagues at the Ripon Free Methodist Church on May 31:

Folks,

Many of you have been receiving my weekly column, Roots in Ripon for a number of years, so you’re familiar with the way I write. I truly appreciate your patronage.

In the past several days I have heard from several people asking for me to verify an article attributed to me which is currently on Snopes. I checked it out, and the answer is a resounding NO! I did not write this drivel, and am disgusted by its message and tone.

Please know that this is not something from me. The two articles I wrote on Benghazi are “Courageous” and “Benghazi Redux.” I have attached both for your review.

Again, thanks for your support. And please help me dispel this rumor associating me with the Snopes story.

Blessings!

Chuck Roots

Gayle Mottweiler, the church’s office secretary, forwarded Roots’ note to FactCheck.org. She also told us in a telephone interview that Roots, a former U.S. Marine and a retired Navy chaplain, has only one cousin who lives in Idaho, a fact she confirmed with one of his daughters. We reached out to Roots directly for this story, but didn’t hear back from him.

So how did his name become attached to the chain email above?

A portion of Roots’ “Courageous” blog post from Oct. 3, 2012, has been included in the email. Some versions of the email, however — such as this one spotted by Snopes.com — don’t include Roots’ blog post, and instead attribute his name only to the story about Stevens’ death.

What Roots wrote for his blog begins with the line: “But the stunning part of the story is that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty killed 60 of the attacking force.” That’s a reference to the two former Navy SEALS who, along with Ambassador Stevens and State Department Information Management Officer Sean Smith, were killed in the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.

In a follow-up blog post on May 22, 2013, Roots said that the claim that the two men killed “60 of the attacking force” came from an unnamed personal friend of his who also happens to be related to either Woods or Doherty. However, we found no mention of how many of the attackers Woods and Doherty killed, if any, in news stories or government-issued reports.

Be that as it may, everything that comes before that part of the email was penned by someone else.

What Happened to Chris Stevens?

The first half of the viral email includes a graphic account of what allegedly happened to Stevens during the night of the attack.

“Ambassador Stevens was brutally murdered. His genitals were cut off, he was sodomized and beaten and cut and stabbed and burned. He was drug thru the streets and left for dead,” the email claims. Those gory details are attributed in the email to a “Cynthia Lee Myers,” who is said to be the cousin of one of Stevens’ “personal guards” who also died during the attack.

We weren’t able to determine if “Cynthia Lee Myers” is a real person or not. Some versions of this email claim that she was interviewed on “FNC,” or the Fox News Channel. We didn’t find video, audio or a transcript of the alleged interview through an Internet search or a search of the Nexis news database.

Our fellow fact-checkers at PolitiFact.com came across another version of the email that attributed the story to Dee Dee Myers, the former press secretary to President Bill Clinton. But she also denied writing the story.

In any case, there are several problems with the so-called “true story” of what happened to the ambassador.

First, four Americans died during the terrorist attack: Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. And neither Smith nor Woods nor Doherty was a “personal guard” to Stevens.

Smith, a management information officer, worked on computers for the State Department. And Woods and Doherty, while part of a security contractor force in Benghazi, were not specifically assigned to protect Stevens. In fact, they weren’t even with the ambassador when the attack began. Woods and Doherty were killed after leaving a secure location to aid those under attack at the main U.S. diplomatic building.

In addition, news reports from the Associated Press and CNN don’t support the claim that Stevens was physically abused.

According to an AP report, Ziad Abu Zeid, the Libyan doctor who worked for almost an hour to revive Stevens after locals carried him to the Benghazi Medical Center, said that he died of severe asphyxiation from smoke, which caused bleeding in his stomach, but that he had no other injuries.

The same doctor, this time in an interview with a reporter for CNN, said that Stevens’ body was covered in soot when he was brought to the hospital, but, again, did not mention him suffering any of the injuries described in the email account.

Plus, the unclassified report issued by the independent Accountability Review Board on Benghazi didn’t say that Stevens suffered any external injuries. Neither did an interim report issued by five committees charged with investigating the attack in the Republican-led House.

The claim that Stevens was sexually assaulted before he died may have been based on later-retracted stories from two foreign news organizations.

According to a Washington Times story, Tayyar.org, a Lebanese news organization, cited Agence France-Presse news sources in reporting that Stevens had been raped by gunmen during the attack. But the AFP said that report “falsely quoted our news agency and has no truth whatsoever to it.” AFP added that the Lebanese website had removed its online report and “published a denial, saying that AFP did not report such a thing.”

The Libyan Free Press also initially reported that Stevens had been sodomized, but that paper, too, later removed its video making the claim, according to the Times.

The claim that Stevens was burned was likely based on an image not of Stevens in 2012, but a photo of another, unidentified man being held down and struck with what looks to be a cattle prod. The image was circulated on social media under the headline “Next Time Someone Says ‘Hillary Clinton 2016’ Remind Them of This.”

A controversial, but authentic, Agence France-Presse photo of Stevens’ body being carried to the hospital by Libyan civilians doesn’t show the ambassador with any burns, stab wounds or even blood on him.

— D’Angelo Gore, with Alexander Nacht

Sources

Mottweiler, Gayle, office secretary for the Ripon Free Methodist Church. Phone interview with FactCheck.org. 4 Jun 2014.

Mottweiler, Gayle, office secretary for the Ripon Free Methodist Church. Email sent to FactCheck.org. 4 Jun 2014.

Roots, Charles. “Courageous.” Roots in Ripon blog. 3 Oct 2012.

Roots, Charles. “Benghazi Redux.” Roots in Ripon blog. 22 May 2013.

Accountability Review Board for Benghazi. Unclassified report. Accessed 4 Jun 2014.

Interim Progress Report for the Members of the House Republican Conference on the Events Surrounding the September 11, 2012 Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi, Libya. 23 Apr 2013.

Damon, Arwa. “Video purportedly shows Libyans rushing to aid U.S. ambassador.” CNN. 18 Sep 2012.

Associated Press. “J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador To Libya, And 3 Embassy Staffers Killed In Attack On American Consulate In Benghazi.” Huffington Post. 12 Sep 2012.

Picket, Kerry. “AFP not behind report of purported rape of murdered U.S. ambassador to Libya.” Washington Times. 13 Sep 2012.

Townsend, Fran. “Former Navy SEALs died after coming to the aid of others.” CNN. 21 Sep 2012.

Vogel, Steve. “Sean Smith, 34, killed in U.S. Consulate attack in Benghazi.” Washington Post. 14 Sep 2012.

Huffington Post. “Papers Run Graphic Photo Of Christopher Stevens, Ambassador Killed In Libya (GRAPHIC).” 13 Sep 2012.