The Obama White House and State Department did resist that temptation.
On Sept. 12, the day after the attack, White House press secretary Jay Carney judiciously answered the obvious inquiry.
"Does the White House believe that the attack in Benghazi was planned and premeditated?" a reporter asked.
"It's too early for us to make that judgment," Carney said. "I know that this is being investigated, and we're working with the Libyan government to investigate the incident. So I would not want to speculate on that at this time."
The next day, Sept. 13, State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland subtly pointed to a YouTube video as possibly creating a motivation for the attack.
A reporter asked Nuland "whether the Benghazi attack was purely spontaneous or was premeditated by militants."
"Well, as we said yesterday when we were on background," Nuland responded, "we are very cautious about drawing any conclusions with regard to who the perpetrators were, what their motivations were, whether it was premeditated, whether they had any external contacts, whether there was any link, until we have a chance to investigate along with the Libyans. So I know that's going to be frustrating for you, but we really want to make sure that we do this right and we don't jump to conclusions.
"That said," Nuland continued, "obviously, there are plenty of people around the region citing this disgusting video as something that has been motivating. As (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) said this morning, while we as Americans, of course, respect free speech, respect free expression, there's never an excuse for it to become violent."
A Sept. 14 Associated Press story described the video in question as 14 minutes of clips from "the amateurish anti-Islam film 'Innocence of Muslims,'" which "depict the prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman in an overtly mocking way." The video had been posted on YouTube.
Carney brought up the video at the Sept. 14 White House press briefing.
The State Department personnel "were killed in Libya as a result of this unrest," he said. What was the source of this unrest?
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