Congress Responds to Killing of U.S. Ambassador in Libya
This post has been updated. Originally published at 10:09 a.m.
Elected officials have begun to respond to the Wednesday killing of U.S. ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three embassy staff in Benghazi.
President Barack Obama has condemned the attacks and leaders in Congress have issued statements this morning, offering their condolences to the victims' families.
House Speaker John Boehner:
"... Eleven years after September 11, this is a jolting reminder that freedom remains under siege by forces around the globe who relish violence over free expression, and terror over democracy -- and that America and free people everywhere must remain vigilant in defense of our liberties."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
"... I have traveled to many of America's embassies abroad, and I have always been impressed by and grateful for the leadership and commitment of America's ambassadors and State Department personnel. Ambassador Stevens was a career Foreign Service officer and a former Peace Corps volunteer, who spent his life giving of his time and his talents to promote democracy and American values.
"I support President Obama's directive to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the world, and to provide whatever resources necessary to keep our personnel in Libya safe. And I will continue to the monitor the situation as we learn more about these terrible events."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor:
"... These terrible incidents highlight the ongoing security challenges in Libya and Egypt, and I call upon the Libyan and Egyptian governments to protect diplomatic facilities, secure their borders, and redouble efforts to combat extremist terrorism within their countries. Eleven years after September 11, it is clear that Islamic extremist terrorism still poses a tremendous threat to the Middle East, to the United States, and to the international community. These attacks will not deter America from continuing to promote peace, democracy, individual and religious freedom and an unwavering respect for human life throughout the region and the world."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:
"... These American diplomats served on the front lines of our efforts to work with the Libyan people toward a future of democracy, freedom, justice, and stability. Their commitment to peace and security stand in stark contrast to those who perpetrated this violent act.
"On my visit to Libya and the region earlier this year, I met with some of the courageous foreign service officers representing our nation in the Middle East, despite enormous risk to their own safety. As we mourn the loss of the Americans in Benghazi, we pay tribute to all of the men and women standing their post abroad on behalf of our values and our partnerships across the globe."
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy:
"I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of four fellow Americans serving our country in Benghazi, Libya, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country. The work of our diplomats overseas is defined by courage and dedication to the United States' commitment to freedom and democracy across the globe. These deplorable acts of violence on our facilities and countrymen will not shake our steadfast commitment to honor their work and sacrifice."
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer:
"... Yesterday, four of these proud Americans paid the ultimate price, in the name of the values that make our nation so great - the protection of basic rights, religious freedom, and the development of democratic institutions. The extremists who carried out this horrendous attack will not change our unswerving commitment to these values and they must be brought to swift justice."
Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin:
"I condemn in the strongest way possible the violence that took their lives and the protests at our Embassy in Egypt. ... Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith and tens of thousands of Americans serve our nation, represent our values and promote democracy and human rights in countries across the world. They often serve in dangerous places, without their families or loved ones, and lack recognition. Today, we stand in mourning those we've lost and in solidarity with the brave Foreign Service Officers representing our country abroad."