One of the victims of the Libyan embassy riots was an IT manager who was chatting online with a friend shortly before the incident and expressed concerns that he might die that night.
Sean Smith was a foreign service information management officer and avid online gamer who had been chatting with a fellow player a short time before he was killed.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton identified Smith as one of the dead in a statement on Wednesday, and said he was a father of two, a ten-year veteran of the department, and "one of our best." She added, "Prior to arriving in Benghazi, he served in Baghdad, Pretoria, Montreal, and most recently The Hague."
Smith went by the handle "Vile Rat" in the game EVE Online, according to a blog post by a friend on Wednesday. The friend signs himself as The_Mittani; Wired Magazine identifies him as Alex Gianturco.
Just before being killed, Vile Rat messaged his friend: "assuming we don't die tonight. We saw one of our 'police' that guard the compound taking pictures."
We knew that Vile Rat was in Benghazi; he told us. He commented on how they use guns to celebrate weddings and how there was a constant susurrus of weaponry in the background. He was in situ to provide IT services for the consulate, which meant he was on the net all the time, hanging out with us on Jabber as usual and talking about internet spaceship games.
Smith had been posted in Baghdad in 2007 or 2008, writes Gianturco. "He would be on jabber, then say something like 'incoming' and vanish for a while as the Kayatushas came down from Sadr City." Gianturco says he had been hoping to visit Smith at one of his postings.
He continues: "If you play this stupid game, you may not realize it, but you play in a galaxy created in large part by Vile Rat's talent as a diplomat. No one focused as relentlessly on using diplomacy as a strategic tool as VR."
Vile Rat was on Jabber when Tuesday night's embassy attack hit, Gianturco says. "In Baghdad the same kind of thing happened - incoming sirens, he'd vanish, we'd freak out and he'd come back ok after a bit." This time, Vile Rat sent an expletive, followed by the word "GUNFIRE," "and then disconnected and never returned," writes The_Mittani.
I'm clearly in shock as I write this as everything is buzzing around my head funnily and I feel kind of dead inside. I'm not sure if this is how I'm supposed to react to my friend being killed by a mob in a post-revolutionary Libya, but it's pretty awful and Sean was a great guy and he was a goddamned master at this game we all play, even though a lot of people may not realize how significant an influence he had. It seems kind of trivial to praise a husband, father, and overall badass for his skills in an internet spaceship game but that's how most of us know him, so there you go.
Wired has more on Smith's gaming connections.
Smith was also a moderator on the Internet community, Something Awful, according to Wired.
This was a terrible attack. Learning about Smith's gaming and professional connections brings it closer to home for many of us.
Cloud Providers Struggle to Offer Regulatory Compliance
Huawei Denies Cybersecurity Plea Is Self-Serving
Reddit Crashes During Historic Obama Chat
— Mitch Wagner , Editor in Chief, Internet Evolution