Sean Smith, one of the State Department employees killed in Tuesday’s attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was a popular Internet gamer who went by the name “Vile Rat,” according to an online post.
User “The Mittani” wrote Wednesday that he had known Smith for more than six years and described him as a well-respected and heavily influential player in the role-playing space game “Eve Online.” Mittani said he and Smith were friends “both in real life and in internet spaceships.”
Smith, along with Ambassador Chris Stevens and two other American personnel, was killed when the consulate came under a mob attack in protest of a film said to be offensive to Islam. Smith was a foreign service information management officer, according to the State Department.
Mittani said Smith was chatting online at the time the attack started:
(12:54:09 PM) vile_rat: assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures
At one point, Mittani said, Smith wrote the words “f–k” and “gunfire,” then was disconnected.
“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 he said ‘F–’ and ‘GUNFIRE’ and then disconnected and never returned,” Mittani wrote.
In a statement Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Smith was a husband and father of two who joined the State Department 10 years ago.
“Like Chris, Sean was one of our best. Prior to arriving in Benghazi, he served in Baghdad, Pretoria, Montreal, and most recently The Hague,” Clinton said.
Mittani wrote that Smith shaped the Eve Online galaxy largely through his “talent as a diplomat.”
“I’m clearly in shock as I write this as everything is buzzing around my head funnily and I feel kind of dead inside,” he wrote. “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.”