A Libyan looks at documents at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi after the attack

A Libyan looks at documents at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi after the attack Ibrahim Alaguri/AP

Obama orders stepped-up security at diplomatic posts

In wake of Libya attack, president praises efforts of civilian employees overseas.

This article has been updated.

In the wake of an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other embassy staff were killed, President Obama has ordered increased security at U.S. diplomatic installations around the world.

"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," Obama said in a statement. "While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants."

Obama praised not only the work of Stevens and other embassy personnel, but federal employees who serve in other foreign outposts as well.

"The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe," he said. "As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement that in addition to Stevens, Sean Smith, an information management officer and 21-year veteran of the Foreign Service, also was killed in the attack. "Like Chris, Sean was one of our best," Clinton said. Before working at the post in Libya, Smith had served in Baghdad, Iraq; Pretoria, South Africa; Montreal and The Hague in the Netherlands.

"America's diplomats and development experts stand on the front lines every day for our country," Clinton said. "We are honored by the service of each and every one of them."

On Wednesday, President Obama ordered that flags be flown at half-staff at federal buildings and military posts in the United States and abroad until Sept. 16 in honor of those killed in what he called a "senseless attack."