WASHINGTON -- President Obama condemned the "outrageous attack" by a mob on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed the U.S, ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.
In a statement released early Wednesday, Obama praised the service of Ambassador Christopher Stevens as "courageous and exemplary." He called the violence -- reportedly sparked by an American-made film that protesters said mocked the prophet Muhammad -- as "senseless."
"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," Obama said.
The president said the administration would "provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe."
He called Stevens a "courageous and exemplary" diplomat who had "selflessly served our country and the Libyan people" during the Libyan revolution last year, and later as ambassador to Tripoli.
"His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice," Obama said. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss."
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also issued a statement, saying she had called Libyan leader Mohamed Magariaf to coordinate increased security.
"Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others," she said. "Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind."
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-- Kathleen Hennessey