Protesters steal a damaged police vehicle after clashes with riot police near the US embassy in Cairo September 13, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
WASHINGTON, DC -- The murder of America's ambassador to Libya and three other U.S. citizens in the north African country late Tuesday night may have been planned and organized in advance, and not the result of an angry mob, according to US officials.
The murderers reportedly used rocket-propelled grenades and mortars to attack Ambassador Chris Stevens' convoy, and the attack coincided with the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Earlier Wednesday, President Barack Obama condemned what he called an "outrageous and shocking attack" outside the US consulate in Benghazi that killed Stevens and three other American diplomatic workers in what was initially thought the work of a mob angered by an anti-Islam film made in the U.S.
A similar protest led to a breach of the US Embassy in Cairo, Egypt where protesters tore down the American flag.
The US beefed up security at all diplomatic posts around the world, and sent 50 Marines to Libya to protect the embassy there in case more security threats loomed.
According to reports, US officials were investigating all possible angles of the attack, but were reluctant to jump to any conclusions.
But the House of Representatives' intelligence committee chairman Mike Rogers said he had "no doubt.
"It was a co-ordinated, military-style, commando-type raid," Rogers told Fox News. "This was a well-planned, well-targeted event. No doubt about it."
In June, a pro-al-Qaida group claimed responsibility for detonating an explosive device outside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi where Stevens was murdered Tuesday, and the same group is believed to have attacked a British diplomatic convoy with rockets in Benghazi in the same month.
And Reuters reported Wednesday anonymous US officials said some reports from the region hinted al-Qaida's north Africa-based affiliate may have been involved.
But whoever is to blame, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday it was not the fault of the Libyan people or the new government, but rather "a small and savage group" of people.
And Obama vowed they would be brought to justice.
"Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waiver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act and make no mistake, justice will be done," he said at a White House press conference Wednesday. "It's especially tragic that Chris Stevens died in Benghazi
because it is a city that he helped to save. At the height of the Libyan revolution Chris led our diplomatic post in Benghazi with characteristic skill, courage and resolve. He built partnerships with revolutionaries and helped them as they planned to build a new Libya."
Obama's Republican challenger in the presidential election Mitt Romney blasted the White House late Tuesday, accusing them of sympathizing with the protesters in Egypt who breached the embassy there over the anti-Islamic video.
The embassy did release a statement condemning not the breach of the embassy but rather the video itself.
Later Wednesday, Romney doubled-down on the attack on
Obama, saying his administration was sending mixed messages to the world by seemingly "apologizing for America's values" of free speech to make the video, and not condemning the attack on the embassy.
The White House said the statement from the Embassy in Egypt was not approved by the State department.
Romney also called the murder of Stevens and the others outrageous, disgusting, and heartbreaking.
Obama's campaign fired back at Romney for what they said was trying to score political points over the death of US diplomats.