We've been using the Presidential Election thread for this topic, and while there is some crossover, it feels like there's enough interest and information out there to be it's own stand-alone topic.
Much remains unknown, notably the extent to which armed militants may have prepared in advance for an attack as opposed to merely profiting from the opportunity of an angry crowd spinning out of control in a country where guns are everywhere.
However, this much is clear: a crowd gathered at dusk, about 7 p.m. (1700 GMT), chanting slogans against the film and angry at Washington's failure to act against its promoters. At some point, shooting began, with some in the crowd thinking they were under fire from the consulate. Around 10 p.m., rioters surged into the compound, bullets and grenades flew, and fires started.
Among the assailants, Libyans identified units of a heavily armed local Islamist group, Ansar al-Sharia, which sympathizes with al Qaeda and derides Libya's U.S.-backed bid for democracy.
Eventually, some three dozen Americans drove off to a safe house, knowing one diplomat was dead and Ambassador Christopher Stevens missing. When an eight-man rescue team flew in from Tripoli, they and their Libyan escorts were pinned down with the survivors by another attack in which two more Americans died.
Meanwhile, Stevens, 52, had been found by local people and taken, unrecognized, to a hospital, around 1 a.m. A doctor failed to revive him and pronounced him dead of smoke inhalation.
Around dawn, at 7 a.m., the beleaguered American survivors, with their battered military rescue party, were finally escorted back to Benghazi airport by a convoy of Libyan militia fighters in dozens of vehicles, to be flown to Tripoli and safety.