The attack on U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya is an outrageous and horrible tragedy. The film that the demonstrators claim to be protesting might be deplorable, but it is no excuse for the wanton murder of innocent diplomats. This was an act of murder, plain and simple. We wholeheartedly support the strong and clear position expressed this morning by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and as we reflect on this tragedy, we need to remember that it was carried out by a small mob that in no way characterizes the opinions and attitudes of people in the region.
It is good that the Libyan government has condemned this act, but now they must take immediate steps to hunt down those who committed this crime and bring them to justice. If they are to be a government, they must act like one.
If the Libyans do not act quickly, there will be no doubt be severe political consequences for their country.
A final note about Ambassador Chris Stevens: Ambassador Stevens was a model diplomat who served his country with grace, dignity, and the utmost respect for both the United States and those to whom he represented it. His career in the foreign service spanned the region, including posts in Jerusalem, Damascus, and Riyadh. Before being appointed Ambassador to Libya, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission when the United States reopened its Libyan embassy in 2007 and later as Special Representative to the National Transitional Council. The United States has lost a kind, brilliant, and empathetic public servant.