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.
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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.
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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.

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by: Jerry from: Indiana
September 20, 2012 6:33 PM
It's about time someone woke his man up !


by: Optimist from: Everywhere
September 20, 2012 6:09 PM
The Obama administration is for Hispanic-Americans. Nominating Supreme Court Judge (Sonia Sotomayor), the first Hispnic in history is one more evidence that Democrats are better for Hispanic-Americans than Conservatives who stand are against Hispanics. Conservative governers like Gov. Braun is making the situation worse for Hispanic-Americans from living here and contributing to society. The Obama administration is the best friend to Hispanic-Americans, while the Conservatives are against Hispanic-Americans.

In Response

by: Cru from: DC
September 21, 2012 9:31 AM
Trade your integrity for more money, Maria Elena. Why not? Romney has.

In Response

by: Richard from: Georgia
September 21, 2012 9:08 AM
Optimist... please explain to me a couple of things. 1. How does Sonia Sotomayor help Hispanics in this country? 2. Exactly what do the conservatives do and/or believe that is bad for Hispanics? I would like some facts please, not opinions or impressions.

I hear this kind of talk all the time but I'm still waiting for someone to come up with the facts to back it up. Now when you refer to Hispanics if what you are truly referring to is "illegal" Hispanics then please be more specific. I would certainly agree that the Democrats are MUCH better for Illegal immigrants than the conservatives.

As for Sonia Sotomayor... it's nice to see her on the court but I hope she got there because of her qualifications... not her race. Either way... unless you believe she is going to be prejudicial in favor of Hispanic interests I fail to she how she is going to help Hispanics any more than any other Supreme Court Justice.

In Response

by: Maria Elena from: Texas
September 21, 2012 8:59 AM
Optimist, you do not speak for me and mine. Just because Obama has nominated a Hispanic for the Supreme Court it does not make him better for Hispanics. What is better for Hispanics is money, a better economy which is something that Obama has failed to do. I want a job for my children, three of them are out of jobs. I want a better paying job for myself. I want to be able to buy a house. Not every Hispanic is concerned about immigration or having a Hispanic judge in the Supreme Court. We do not think as one person. Do not patronize us. It is condescending and wrong. I'm not looking for a handout, just a better life, and republican governors seem to be able in these bad economic times. And that's what I want.

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