Obama: Benghazi Attack More than 'Mob Action'
U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya's Benghazi was clearly more than a "mob action," amid lingering dispute about the nature of the assault.
Obama also said, in an appearance on the ABC talk show "The View", that the best way to deal with a film deemed offensive to Muslims like the one which sparked anti-U.S. fury in the Middle East was to ignore it.
"There's no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn't just a mob action," Obama said of the Benghazi attack two weeks ago, which killed ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Obama, who is in New York ahead of his annual address to the United Nations on Tuesday, said that despite anger over the film "Innocence of Muslims" there was no excuse for violence.
"The best way to marginalize that kind of speech is to ignore it," he said.
Obama reiterated that the "overwhelming majority" of Muslims bore no threat to the United States.
"They want the same things that families here want. They want opportunity, kids want an education, they want jobs, they want peace. But there are extremist strains that are there," he said.
Last week, White House press secretary Jay Carney said there was no verification at the time that the attack on the Benghazi consulate was a "preplanned attack", attributing the event to the “Innocence of Muslims” film which has sparked protests throughout the Arab world.
“This was the result of opportunism, taking advantage of and exploiting what was happening as a result of reaction to the video that was found to be offensive," Carney told reporters.
At the same time, Carney did acknowledge for the first time that the events in Benghazi amounted to a "terrorist attack."
On Sunday, Rep. Mike Rogers, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, said there's no proof indicating the attack on the consulate in Libya was related to protests over the “Innocence of Muslims” film.
"I have seen no information that shows that there was a protest going on as you have seen around any other embassy at the time. It was clearly designed to be an attack," Rogers told CNN.
While he said still thinks there may be evidence that the attackers could have known Ambassador Stevens was on the property at the time, Rogers added, "9/11 is probably more important to that equation than even the ambassador."
On Monday, Libya’s new President, Mohamed al-Megaryef, voiced his condolences for the terror attack in Benghazi, adding that “what happened on 11th of September towards these U.S. citizens does not express in any way the conscience of the Libyan people, their aspirations, their hopes or their sentiments towards the American people.”