News / USA

Obama: Video Protests an 'Excuse' to Attack US Facility In Libya

President Barack Obama participates in a town hall hosted by Univision and Univision news anchors Jorge Ramos (L) and Maria Elena Salinas (C), at the University of Miami, Florida, September 20, 2012.President Barack Obama participates in a town hall hosted by Univision and Univision news anchors Jorge Ramos (L) and Maria Elena Salinas (C), at the University of Miami, Florida, September 20, 2012.
President Barack Obama participates in a town hall hosted by Univision and Univision news anchors Jorge Ramos (L) and Maria Elena Salinas (C), at the University of Miami, Florida, September 20, 2012.
President Barack Obama participates in a town hall hosted by Univision and Univision news anchors Jorge Ramos (L) and Maria Elena Salinas (C), at the University of Miami, Florida, September 20, 2012.
Kent Klein
The Obama administration on Thursday called last week’s assault on the U.S. consulate in Libya a terrorist attack. This is the first time that White House officials have called the incident a deliberate attack, rather than a part of protests against a video that many Muslims consider offensive.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters it was “self-evident” that the September 11 attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi was a “terrorist attack.”

A short time later, President Barack Obama said that protests over a video that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad were used as a pretext for a planned strike against Americans.

“What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.  Well, we do not know yet.  And so we are going to continue to investigate this,” Obama said.

The president said Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and other countries have cooperated fully with the United States in the investigation.

The statements by the president and his spokesman were similar to what National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen told a Senate committee on Wednesday.  Olsen said the incident was “an opportunistic attack” that “evolved and escalated over several hours.”

The assault, which killed the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, took place on the 11th anniversary of the al-Qaida attacks that killed several thousand people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

President Obama was speaking Thursday in a question-and-answer forum on the U.S. Spanish-language television network Univision, in Miami, Florida.  

He faced several pointed questions from Hispanic Americans about his inability to push comprehensive immigration reform legislation through Congress.

The president said opposition Republicans would not cooperate on his efforts to update immigration laws, and that he was forced to spend most of his time dealing with the financial crisis.

But Obama said he has taken administrative efforts to allow some young people who came to the United States illegally to avoid being deported.

“I have never wavered in my support of comprehensive immigration reform.  We did put forward a “Dream Act” that was passed in the House [of Representatives], got the overwhelming majority of support from Democrats in the Senate, and was blocked by the Republican Party,” Obama said.

When asked about some 5 million deportations conducted during his administration, the president said he is following the law and is concentrating on those who would pose a danger to Americans.

“We have to focus our attention, our enforcement, on people who genuinely pose a threat to our communities, not to hard-working families who are minding their own business and oftentimes there are members of the family who are U.S. citizens,” Obama said.

Florida is the fourth-largest of the 50 U.S. states in population, and experts say it is the largest of the swing states, where the November 6 election will likely be decided.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 21, 2012 1:08 PM
The mark of weakness is to blame opposition for failure. I don't understand how Americans accept this kind of excuse from a well organized separation of powers that works in unism with the duty of keeping America one and moving forward. Out here we used to see America differently. We never thought American is one place a person's weakness can stop from being the most respected democracy in the world. Today we see differently. Yeah, these things happen when Democrats are in office. The terrorists understand that the president and his team are going to spend another long tenure talking, and no action. A sorry situation!

by: Mike from: pa
September 21, 2012 9:22 AM
really? It took this long for the geniuses running our Gov to determine that this was palnned? Wow, we are in big trouble.

by: InfidelHere from: Buffalo, NY
September 21, 2012 9:17 AM
Come on people! Is this really about cartoons and a video? These people are rampaging and burning flags. They're looking for westerners to beat and kidnap. They're threatening pretty much anybody that doesn’t buy into their cult ideology and are generally raising holy hell not because of any outrage over a stupid video.

These Muslims are outraged because it is part of the Islamic jihadist culture to be outraged!!

You don't really need a reason. You just need an excuse. Wandering around, destroying property, murdering the innocent, firing guns into the air and feigning outrage over the slightest perceived insult is to a jihadist what tailgating is to a football fan.

Isn’t it about time to tell these people where to go??

by: Harold
September 21, 2012 9:08 AM
Obama is totally lost on foriegn policy. There wasn't a protest before or during the Libyan attack.

by: Wyatt Buchanan from: Binghamton NY
September 21, 2012 8:51 AM
and the administration stonewalled the truth for 2 weeks as their story evolved..

It was a terrorist attack. There was even a second attack at a second separate location. Carefully planned and executed. The administration has known about it for weeks but only just started saying it was a terrorist attack. The administration had intelligence days before the event it was going to happen and did nothing. It was carried out by a former Guantanamo detainee all over securing the release of the blind sheik who ordered the WTC bombings.

VOA, get the government on record that they will not release that mutt.

by: Mr Lewis from: Ohio
September 21, 2012 8:49 AM
Every White country on the planet is forced to become multicultural and multiracial.

EVERY white country is told to end its own race and culture.

No one asks that of ANY non-White country. Immigration and forced-assimilation is for ALL & ONLY White countries.

Anti-Whites call themselves "anti-racist", but their words & actions lead to the genocide of only one group: White people.

The true goal of anti-racism is to genocide my people.

Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-White.

by: ali baba from: new york
September 20, 2012 9:37 PM
it is a silly joke that Egyptian authority is co operated in the investigation of the attack of american embassy.the fact that egyptian has the time to stop the attack but they do not do so . now they use their multiple standard in order to get 2.5 billion package for muslim brotherhood fanatic and use the aida for another terrorism attack either kidnapping american .arrest american for false charge.our policy maker act as stupid who never learn fron its mistake

by: Savage from: TX
September 20, 2012 7:44 PM
The article states in the fourth paragraph...“What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests. Well, we do not know yet. And so we are going to continue to investigate this,” Obama said.

What doesn't he know and what does he know?! Either Presendent Obama can't speak (which is possible) or the editors of this rag are slacking.

by: john from: sarasota
September 20, 2012 6:47 PM
boy they had to pry that out of him-any educated person new the video had nothing to do with the attacks

by: jd from: Alabama
September 20, 2012 6:47 PM
So why is it that the White House is so slow to recognize that the attack on the embassy in Libya was a terrorist attack.
Here is why, Obama knew who was responsible for the attack. He was trying his best, he, the Secretary of State, and even the UN security tried to spin it that it was caused because of a low budget film. So why would he try to spin this to the American people?
The administration knew that because of their support for the Arab Spring uprising in Libya Kaddafi released many political prisoners.
We find out now that one of those released is looking like the one who planned the attack that was responsible for four American deaths.
The administration is trying everything they can to take the focus of all American’s off this fact.
The bottom line is, It was the Dem’s that were pushing hard on then President Bush to give all detainees in Gitmo a public trial. Then Senator Obama was at the head of this push.
The administration pushed Kaddafi by openly supporting the Arab Spring uprising, to release all political prisoners. It is looking that, one of those prisoners was the one who planned the attack and deaths of four Americans.
This needs to be looked at. If there is a war on terrorism it seems to me that the President and Sectary of State, Hillary Clinton, might be guilty of treason, by aiding and abetting the enemy, if they had knowledge that some detainees from Getmo were being held as political prisoners by Kaddafi.
Comments page of 2

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs