President Obama today strongly condemned a deadly overnight attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, calling the murder of four Americans there an “outrageous and shocking” act and vowing to “bring to justice the killers.”
“There is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence, none,” Obama said in a Rose Garden statement.
The president underscored that the violence was perpetrated by a rogue group of Libyan militants, not the Libyan government or the Libyan people.
“The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts,” he said. “Already, many Libyans have joined us in doing so, and this attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya.”
Obama, who aides say was first notified of the attacks Tuesday night, said that he had immediately ordered increased security at U.S. diplomatic outposts in Libya and around the world.
The State Department confirmed earlier Wednesday that among the dead were U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. Two other Americans killed have not yet been identified since officials were still notifying their families.
Obama hailed Stevens’ leadership in helping to foster Libyan democracy after the downfall of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. “He was a role model to all who worked with him and to the young diplomats who aspire to walk in his footsteps,” he said.
Noting that the incident took place on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Obama invoked a legacy of American resiliency and determination as a basis for confidence that the country can heal and move forward.
“No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for,” Obama said. “Today we mourn for more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.”
After his brief remarks, the president met with State Department employees to express his solidarity with U.S. diplomats stationed around the world.
“At this difficult time, he will give thanks for the service and sacrifices that our civilians make, and pay tribute to those who were lost,” according to a White House official.