Attack on U.S. consulate in Libya was the work of terrorists, White House says

Libyans and Americans gather in front of the U.S. consulate gate to pay their respect to the victims of the attack on the U.S. consulate, in Benghazi, Libya. Libyans and Americans gather in front of the U.S. consulate gate to pay their respect to the victims of the attack on the U.S. consulate, in Benghazi, Libya. Mohammad Hannon/AP

The White House on Thursday described the attack at the diplomatic facility in Libya as a “terrorist attack.”

"It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently and the result was four deaths of American officials,” press secretary Jay Carney said.

Carney cited the testimony of National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen, who told lawmakers on Wednesday that extremists groups may have been involved in the attack, including  elements of al-Qaida. The U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed. 

Olsen also “made clear,” Carney said, that “we have no information at this point to suggest that this is a significantly pre-planned attack. But this was the result of opportunism, taking advantage of and exploiting what was happening as a result of the video which was found to be offensive."

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