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Diplomat Killed in Libya: 'I Might 'Die Tonight’

One of U.S. diplomats who was killed Tuesday said in an online forum hours prior to the attack that he had a feeling he might "die tonight."
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 9/13/2012, 12:03 PM

An interior view of the damage at the U.S. consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen y
An interior view of the damage at the U.S. consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen y
Reuters

One of the American diplomats who was killed Tuesday at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, said in an online gaming forum hours prior to the brutal assault that he had seen suspicious people taking pictures outside his compound and wondered if he and his team might "die tonight."

Sean Smith, a foreign service information management officer assigned to the consulate, was well known in the online gaming forum EVE Online, where he went by the name "vilerat," and was seen as a leader by his fellow gamers.

Smith was killed along with three others, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, when the U.S. consulate in Libya was attacked by a vicious mob, who later dragged the body of the ambassador though the streets of Libya in a show of victory.

Hours prior to attack, Smith reportedly sent a message to Alex Gianturco, the director of "Goonswarm," Smith's online gaming team or "guild."

”Assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures,” the message, which was first reported by the Wired news source, read.

Within hours of posting that message, Smith, a husband and father of two, was dead.

“My people, I have greivous [sic] news,” Gianturco wrote following the attack. “Vile Rat has been confirmed to be KIA in Benghazi; his family has been informed and the news is likely to break out on the wire services soon.”

“Needless to say, we are in shock, have no words, and have nothing but sympathy for his family and children,” he continued. “I have known Vile Rat since 2006, he was one of the oldest of old-guard goons and one of the best and most effective diplomats this game has ever seen.”

As word of the attack spread, tributes to the American diplomat flooded the online forum.

"To your wife and children, know that the love of thousands of video game nerds, the world over, fall to your shoulders," wrote one poster, according to Wired. 

"Vile Rat was a shining example of life lived to its fullest," wrote another. "A great man in all respects and will be missed by many. Not even 12 hours ago we were talking in jabber, he had made a joke about the lack of security in such places and crappy Internet. The whole thing seems surreal."