WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Wednesday condemned attacks on a U.S. consulate in eastern Libya that killed the U.S. ambassador and three American members of his staff. He ordered increased security at U.S. diplomatic posts around the world.
In a White House statement, Obama said he had ordered "all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe."
The attacks occurred Tuesday night in the eastern city of Benghazi by protesters angry over a film that ridiculed Islam's Prophet Muhammad, according to Libya officials. Ambassador Chris Stevens, 52, was killed when he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff as the building came under attack by a mob guns and rocket propelled grenades. Three other Americans were also killed.
The State Department identified one of the other Americans as Sean Smith, a foreign service information management officer. The identities of the others were being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
Obama called Stevens a "courageous and exemplary representative of the United States."
"I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi," Obama said in the statement. The four Americans, he said, "exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe."
The Pentagon said early Wednesday that it was working with the State Department on Obama's order for increased security around the world.
"We are following this tragic incident closely with the State Department," Lt. Col. Steven Warren, a Defense Department spokesman said. "We are prepared to support the State Department in any way."
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said those killed had been "committed to helping the Libyan people reach for a better future."