Was it a planned, inside job?

Protesters trying to get to a U.S. embassy are held back by police in Kuwait.
Protesters trying to get to a U.S. embassy are held back by police in Kuwait. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

4 arrested in ambassador slaying. More to come?

Posted: September 14, 2012

BENGHAZI, LIBYA - Heavily armed militants used a protest of an anti-Islam film as a cover in their deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate, screaming "God is great!" as they scaled its outer walls and descended on the main building, a witness and a senior Libyan security official said Thursday.

The account, the most detailed yet of the rampage that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, came as the Libyan government said that four people suspected in the attacks had been arrested and more were being sought.

The security official, eastern Libya's deputy interior minister, Wanis el-Sharef, said that it was a two-pronged attack. He said that hours after the crowd stormed the consulate Tuesday night, the militants raided a safe house in the compound just as U.S. and Libyan security arrived to evacuate the staff, suggesting that infiltrators within the security forces may have tipped off the militants to the location of the safe house.

The Obama administration was caught by surprise by the ferocity of the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi. Now it is bracing for another potential eruption of violent demonstrations in parts of the Muslim world after Friday's weekly prayers - traditionally a time of protest in the Middle East and North Africa.

The U.S. put all of its diplomatic missions overseas on high alert, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered an explicit denunciation of the video as the administration sought to pre-empt further turmoil at its embassies and consulates.

"The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video," she said before a meeting with the foreign minister of Morocco at the State Department. "We absolutely reject its content and message."

"To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible," Clinton said. "It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage."

While rejecting the content of the video, Clinton stressed that no matter how offensive it is, the film cannot be used as an excuse for violence. She then reminded foreign governments that they have a responsibility to protect embassies.

Around the world, U.S. missions issued warnings to Americans about demonstrations that could turn violent.

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