A vehicle and surrounding buildings smolder after they were set on fire inside the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi on Sept. 11. (STR / AFP via Getty Images)
President Obama is condemning the “outrageous attack” Tuesday on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that led to the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
“I have directed my administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe,” Obama said in a statement released Wednesday by the White House.
Obama praised Stevens, a 21-year veteran of the Foreign Service, as “a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States.
“Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi,” Obama said.
Also killed in the attack was Foreign Service information management officer Sean Smith, a 10-year State Department employee who was married with two children, according to the State Department.
In a statement Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the identities of the other two Americans are being held until after their families are notified.
The president’s full statement:
“I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.
“I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. 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.
“On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
“The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.
In her statement, Clinton said:
“I had the privilege of swearing in Chris for his post in Libya only a few months ago. He spoke eloquently about his passion for service, for diplomacy and for the Libyan people. This assignment was only the latest in his more than two decades of dedication to advancing closer ties with the people of the Middle East and North Africa which began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. As the conflict in Libya unfolded, Chris was one of the first Americans on the ground in Benghazi. He risked his own life to lend the Libyan people a helping hand to build the foundation for a new, free nation. He spent every day since helping to finish the work that he started. Chris was committed to advancing America’s values and interests, even when that meant putting himself in danger.”
David Jackson reports for USA Today. Federal Times staff contributed to this report.