U.S. increases embassy security worldwide after Libya attack
NATIONAL NEWS (CNN) — The United States moved to increase embassy security around the world after the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three staffers.
"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," U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement Wednesday morning in response to the attack.
The United States deployed a group of Marines known as a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team to Libya to assist with securing U.S. facilities, two U.S. officials said Wednesday. It was unclear what steps the United States was taking elsewhere in the world.
The moves come a day after the attack in Benghazi that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens amid protests at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Demonstrators also attacked the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday. Protesters in both countries were apparently angry about an online film considered offensive to Islam.
"There's a lot of skittish people at the State Department right now," said CNN foreign affairs reporter Elise Labott.
It is unclear whether Stevens' death resulted from the broader anti-American protests or a separate, local plot against the ambassador, former State Department official James Rubin said.
"Until you are able to answer that question, it's kind of hard to assign the significance of this," said Rubin, who was State Department spokesman during the Clinton administration.
Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, however, said it was clear the attacks were part of a coordinated assault on U.S. interests.
"This is not just about Libya," he said on CNN's "Starting Point."
He said that simultaneous attacks in Libya and Egypt, on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, could happen only with "a fair amount of collusion and a fair amount of planning."
Mohammed Al-Megaryef, head of Libya's ruling party, told reporters Wednesday that "the transitional government has done all that it could in order to protect the embassies, the consulates and the foreign companies in Libya."
Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib said the government would increase security Wednesday in response to the attacks.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she had spoken to the Libyan president seeking additional protection for American interests in the country.
She said the U.S. government is also working with countries to "protect our personnel, our missions and American citizens worldwide."
CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report.