Sept. 12, 2012 -- intro:This morning, Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya was among four Americans killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate located in the Libyan city of Benghazi. Stevens, 52, was killed when an armed mob including 20 gun-wielding attackers set fire to the building, possibly in protest of an American-made movie that was deemed offensive to Islam's Prophet Muhammad. The attackers stormed the consulate firing automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades at the building. Nearly a dozen Americans were inside the building during the time of the attack.
See how politicians reacted to news of the Libyan attack.
quicklist:1title:Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. category: Joint Paper Statementtext:"We are anguished and outraged by the death of four citizens of the United States, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, during an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families.
"Chris was one of America's finest and bravest diplomats, and also someone we considered a friend. In the midst of last year's uprising in Libya, Chris traveled at great personal risk to Benghazi to represent the country he loved as the U.S. envoy to the Libyan opposition. He advanced American interests and values in Libya and stood with the Libyan people throughout their struggle for freedom and during the challenging times that followed. His death at the hands of extremists is a tragic and awful loss for the people of both the United States and Libya.
"There is still much we do not know about what happened in Benghazi yesterday. What is clear, however, is that the attackers must be apprehended and punished. We appreciate that senior Libyan leaders have condemned these cowardly attacks, and we now look to the Libyan government to ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice, and that U.S. diplomats are protected. We have confidence that our own government will provide all necessary assistance to this end.
"Yesterday's attack is a tragic and terrible reminder that – despite the hopes of the Arab Spring – the forces of violent extremism in the Middle East are far from defeated, and that the revolutions inspired by millions of people who dream of freedom and democracy can still be hijacked by small groups of violent extremists who are eager to kill to advance their evil ideology.
"Despite this horrific attack, we cannot give in to the temptation to believe that our support for the democratic aspirations of people in Libya, Egypt, and elsewhere in the broader Middle East is naive or mistaken. We cannot resign ourselves to the false belief that the Arab Spring is doomed to be defined not by the desire for democracy and freedom that has inspired millions of people to peaceful action, but by the dark fanaticism of terrorists.
"To follow this misguided path would not only be a victory for the extremists and their associates, but a betrayal of everything for which Chris Stevens and his colleagues stood and gave their lives. In short, it would be a betrayal of our own best ideals as Americans and our own enduring interest in using our great influence to support the overwhelming majority of people in the Middle East who want to be free from the kinds of murderers and terrorists who killed our people yesterday in Benghazi."
quicklist: 1title: Mitt Romneytext:"I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks."
quicklist: 2title: President Barack Obama text:"I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.
I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya's transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward."
quicklist: 3title: Sarah Palintext:"If he doesn't have a 'big stick' to carry, maybe it's time for him to grow one."
"Apparently President Obama can't see Egypt and Libya from his house," began Palin.
"In response to this, the U.S. embassy in Cairo issued a statement that was so outrageous many of us thought it must be a satire. The embassy actually apologized to the violent mob attacking us, and it even went so far as to chastise those who use free speech to 'hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.'"
"But where is the president's statement about this?" asked Palin.
"I realize there must be a lot on his mind these days – what with our economy's abysmal jobless numbers and Moody's new warning about yet another downgrade to our nation's credit rating due to the current administration's failure to come up with a credible deficit reduction plan."
"But our nation's security should be of utmost importance to our Commander-in-chief," Palin continued.
"America can't afford any more 'leading from behind' in such a dangerous world. We already know that President Obama likes to 'speak softly' to our enemies. If he doesn't have a 'big stick' to carry, maybe it's time for him to grow one."
quicklist:4title: Marco Rubiotext:"I am deeply saddened and troubled by the mob attacks in Libya that led to the murder of our ambassador and three members of his staff. I had the chance of meeting Ambassador Chris Stevens during his confirmation process and again when I visited Libya last year. He was an exemplary diplomat and his embassy staff could not have been more helpful and knowledgeable during my visit. My prayers are with the families and loved ones of these courageous diplomats who were working to help the Libyan people rise from the ashes of Gaddafi's rule.
"It is imperative that these senseless mob attacks be condemned by the Libyan government and that it commit to stop this violence and bring those responsible for the deaths of our American diplomats to justice. In both Libya and Egypt, their governments have an obligation to resolutely condemn these violent attacks and protect American diplomatic missions and personnel based on their soil.
"The Libyan and Egyptian people should understand that the U.S. shares their commitment to building more hopeful and prosperous nations. However, if left unchecked, violent attacks like these against our embassies and diplomats will lead Libya and Egypt down a dark path and rob them of their hopes of a more prosperous and democratic future. The broader publics in Libya and Egypt should condemn the violence and distance themselves from the unruly and intolerant elements of their society that threaten the security and future of their nations."
quicklist:5title: Nancy Pelositext: "Our thoughts and prayers rest with the families and loved ones of Ambassador Stevens and the three other Americans killed in this vicious and heinous attack against the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi. We condemn this brazen assault in the strongest possible terms.
"These American diplomats served on the front lines of our efforts to work with the Libyan people toward a future of democracy, freedom, justice, and stability. Their commitment to peace and security stand in stark contrast to those who perpetrated this violent act.
"On my visit to Libya and the region earlier this year, I met with some of the courageous foreign service officers representing our nation in the Middle East, despite enormous risk to their own safety. As we mourn the loss of the Americans in Benghazi, we pay tribute to all of the men and women standing their post abroad on behalf of our values and our partnerships across the globe."
quicklist: 6title:Harry Reidtext: "It does take away how important these jobs are of these Foreign Service officers," Reid said from the Senate floor, "I join President Obama in condemning these senseless acts of violence. My thoughts are with the families of those who were killed in this horrible attack it is too often forgotten that American diplomats risk their lives on a daily basis."
quicklist: 7title:Mitch McConnelltext:"We honor the Americans we lost in Libya, and we will stand united in our response," McConnell said, "Among the things we can all agree on in Washington is that attacks on the U.S. and its representatives will be met with resolve, and that America's presence and defense of our national interests across the globe will not be deterred by the acts of violent extremists."
quicklist:8title: Sen. Jim Inhofetext: "We mourn the tragic murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens, a friend whom I met with in February of this year, and the three others. These individuals lost their lives in service to their country, and Ambassador Stevens was a brave American who was acting to protect his fellow citizens. Kay and I offer our prayers to their families.
"These attacks, the murder of our ambassador, and the disgraceful treatment of his body must have consequences. The timing of this on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 is more than just coincidence. Sadly, America has suffered as a result of President Obama's failure to lead and his failed foreign policy of appeasement and apology. The world must know beyond doubt that America will not allow these types of attacks on our people. Obama's failed leadership is in direct contrast with Ambassador Stevens' brave leadership and effort to protect Americans at the consulate.
"There are many disturbing facts about these attacks that raise many troubling questions. For this reason, today I am calling on Chairmen Levin and Kerry to hold hearings immediately on the lack of intelligence, security, and appropriate response. We must have answers to these questions to prevent similar attacks in the future."
quicklist: 9title:Rep. Allen Westtext: "Less than 24 hours after our nation remembered the heinous attacks of September 11, 2001, Americans find their sovereign soil attacked again as more American lives are lost at the hands of intolerant, barbaric, radical Muslims.
United States Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and several embassy staff were murdered late yesterday when suspected religious extremists stormed the United States Consulate in Benghazi. This morning, my condolences and prayers go out to the families of the victims. Americans need to question whether the deaths of these innocent patriots could have been avoided. The Obama Administration touted the Arab Spring as an awakening of freedom, which we now see is a nightmare of Islamism.
Even more concerning, is the initial response to these attacks last night from the embassy officials of the Obama Administration was to apologize for a Facebook video that supposedly hurt Muslim feelings. President Obama's policy of appeasement towards the Islamic world has manifested itself into a specter of unconscionable hatred.
How anyone can believe this President is strong on national security and foreign policy is beyond my comprehension. President Obama has clearly surpassed former President Jimmy Carter and his actions during the Iranian Embassy crisis as the weakest and most ineffective person to ever occupy the White House."