Anyone who has read my works in the past know that I'm all about the Person to Person (P2P) connections between the various actors in politics, terrorism and organized crime. In fact anyone who has had an interesting life leaves a trail of information behind them either in their private life or public life: awards, plaudits, movie reviews, or even cat blogging. Get noticed for something in even a small company that puts out a press release means that it should be on the web somewhere if it happened post-1998. It is inescapable in many ways and trying to scrub one's life means having to be able to get either to major search engine look-ups or to the information at countless organizations globally.
I am, perhaps, not the best of all possible online researchers. With that said I can usually turn up something on someone in the news after a good hour of looking around. Perhaps I can be obtuse, overlook the blindingly obvious or otherwise just plainly overlook something. Still in a couple of hours I can usually get decent hints on where to start looking.
For the first time I've hit a blank wall: someone with no background that I can get at least one-deep on who has been in the news who has had high visibility.
I hit all my usual sources and a few out of the ordinary, like looking for political contributions. You know, giving money to candidates, campaigns, parties or PACs. People looking to cover their tracks can't get rid of that stuff... but if you don't contribute to any candidate or campaign, you then have no trail.
Getting awards or being recognized as having done something in a profession, or even just attending industry events (meetings, conferences, etc.) in a speakers capacity or even high level attendee leaves a trail. Work on your own and high level clients will give you praise for your work, unless you are a hitman or some such and that tends to get its own notoriety of a different sort.
If you actually lead a life worth living, get high level recognition you then have a build-up to it, a trail.
Get the idea?
So who am I having problems getting info on?
The assassinated US Ambassador to Libya: John Christopher Stephens.
That is how his name is spelled at the US State Dept.
I can find his razor thin bio, repeated, often word for word, at many outlets.
His work for the Peace Corps? Pre-Internet and so not easy to find, at best.
His time as a trade lawyer in DC from 1991? Zilch. Can't find a company he worked for or even clients who praise him.
Anything before he was an Ambassador? Still looking.
Why did the man get this job? Was it a favor from a well connected individual? Bundled contributions? Excellence at State at doing something... anything?
Like I said, I could just be overlooking the obvious here. I'm just interested in his past history, who he worked for, where he was before he got the Ambassador's job... the sort of thing that might tell me more about his life which was so recklessly put into danger in one of the worst places of the Middle East. In a vehicle that doesn't look armored. With a thin security detail.
His death was disavowed by the Libyan government. Al Qaeda applauds it and takes credit for it. This wasn't a 'murder' it was an assassination of the representative of the United States while overseas. The assassination of an Ambassador is an Act of War, no matter who does it: war Public or Private is still war.
I don't like finding someone with no past who has become Ambassador of the US who is then assassinated in an act of war.