Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 9/14/2012
Q: At Benghazi? What happened at Benghazi –
MR. CARNEY: We certainly don’t know. We don’t know otherwise. We have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack. The unrest we’ve seen around the region has been in reaction to a video that Muslims, many Muslims find offensive. And while the violence is reprehensible and unjustified, it is not a reaction to the 9/11 anniversary that we know of, or to U.S. policy.
Q: But the group around the Benghazi post was well armed. It was a well-coordinated attack. Do you think it was a spontaneous protest against a movie?
MR. CARNEY: Look, this is obviously under investigation, and I don’t have –
Q: But your operating assumption is that that was in response to the video, in Benghazi? I just want to clear that up. That’s the framework? That’s the operating assumption?
MR. CARNEY: Look, it’s not an assumption –
Q: Because there are administration officials who don’t — who dispute that, who say that it looks like this was something other than a protest.
MR. CARNEY: I think there has been news reports on this, Jake, even in the press, which some of it has been speculative. What I’m telling you is this is under investigation. The unrest around the region has been in response to this video…Jake, again, what we have seen is unrest around the region in response to a video that Muslims find offensive, many Muslims find offensive. We have seen incidents like this in the past, in reaction to other actions — cartoons and other actions that have been taken, that have been — have led to protests and violence in the region.
And we have managed those situations, and we are working to ensure that our diplomatic personnel and our diplomatic facilities are secure as we deal with the response to this video, which we believe is offensive and disgusting…The cause of the unrest was a video, and that continues today, as you know, as we anticipated. And it may continue for some time. We are working with governments around the region to remind them of their responsibilities to provide security to diplomatic personnel and facilities, and we are ensuring that more resources are put in place to protect our embassies and consulates and our personnel in these parts of the world where unrest is occurring.
Q: You’ve mentioned a number of times now that this was in response to a video or a film. Would you not agree, though, that it’s moved beyond that? That some are stirring violence by focusing on U.S. policy, or targeting the U.S. in general? That it’s no longer just about the film?
MR. CARNEY: Well, the reason why there is unrest is because of the film; this is in response to the film. I don’t doubt –
Q: Well, that’s what sparked it. You think that’s what sparked it.
MR. CARNEY: We do think that’s what sparked it.
Q: Right. But it’s moved beyond that, hasn’t it?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I don’t — we obviously are not polling protesters to find out what their motivations are. There is no question that there’s anti-American sentiment in various countries around the Middle East; that’s not a discovery I think we’ve made today.
What is the case is that the protesters in these countries are not representative of the broader sentiment in those countries, at least in the sense that — sentiment that would say that the reaction, the proper reaction to a film that is offensive is violence. As I said yesterday, that’s not in keeping with Islam, and it’s certainly something that we do not accept. And we have made clear to leaders in the region that they need to make clear that it is not an acceptable reaction to a film, however offensive it might be.
Again, this is not a film that the United States government had anything to do with. We reject……..