September 28, 2012
The September 11th surprise attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi forced the U.S to send a group of highly trained Marines to Tripoli that resulted in the deaths of four Americans and one U.S Ambassador.
The Marines that were sent to Libya to guard U.S diplomatic facilities were members of an elite group known as a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team, or FAST, whose role is to respond on short notice to terrorism threats and to reinforce security at embassies.
Officials were investigating whether the rampage was a backlash to an anti-Islamic video with ties to Coptic Christians or a plot to coincide with the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
There were two Americans confirmed dead in Libya: U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and a foreign service officer, Sean Smith, a U.S. Air Force veteran. Contrary to early media reports, it does not appear that two Marines were killed alongside Stevens and Smith. A Marine Corps official who would not speak for the record told Danger Room that the Corps did not and currently does not have assets in Benghazi. It is currently unclear who the two other Americans dead in Libya are.
President Barack Obama vowed in a Rose Garden address that the U.S. would “work with the Libyan government to bring to justice” those who killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, information manager Sean Smith and two other Americans who were not identified. Three other Americans were wounded.
Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty in 30 years.
“We will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people,” President Barack Obama said on Wednesday morning at the White House.
The violent demonstration in Benghazi assembled, ostensibly in reaction, to an American video criticizing the Prophet Muhammad, around the same time a similar mob in Cairo breached the gates of the U.S. Embassy there. Speaking from Washington on Wednesday morning, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said “there is no justification for this,” and said the “world will never know a true and lasting peace” as long as people use religion as a pretext for violence.
The one-story villa that serves as the consulate was a burned-out wreck after the crowd armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades rampaged through it. Slogans of “God is great” and “Muhammad is God’s Prophet” were scrawled across its scorched walls.
The movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” came to attention in Egypt after its trailer was dubbed into Arabic and posted on YouTube. The video-sharing website blocked access to it Wednesday. The trailer depicts Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman in an overtly ridiculing way, showing him having sex and calling for massacres.
In a statement on his official Facebook page, Egypt’s Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, condemned the movie, saying the government was responsible for protecting diplomatic missions as well as the freedom of speech and peaceful protest.
But, he added, authorities “will confront with full determination any irresponsible attempt to break the law.”