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Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.
One of the emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mentions that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.
The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.
U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Benghazi assault, which President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials ultimately acknowledged was a “terrorist” attack carried out by militants with suspected links to al Qaeda affiliates or sympathizers.
President Barack Obama called comments from Republican Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin about rape and abortion “offensive” and “way out there” on Monday, and said politicians should not be making healthcare decisions on behalf of women.
“The views expressed were offensive. Rape is rape and the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me,” Obama told reporters in the White House briefing room.
Akin, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, said in a television interview on Sunday that women have biological defenses to prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape,” making legal abortion rights unnecessary.
U.S. President Barack Obama (C) attends the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner in Washington and stands next to Reuters Editor in Chief Steve Adler (L) and WHCA President and Reuters correspondent Caren Bohan (R) April 28, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing
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While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet. Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. Across the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected. To minimize this risk, new legislation must be narrowly targeted only at sites beyond the reach of current U.S. law, cover activity clearly prohibited under existing U.S. laws, and be effectively tailored, with strong due process and focused on criminal activity. Any provision covering Internet intermediaries such as online advertising networks, payment processors, or search engines must be transparent and designed to prevent overly broad private rights of action that could encourage unjustified litigation that could discourage startup businesses and innovative firms from growing.
Human rights protesters dressed in orange prison-style jumpsuits and covering their heads with black bags marched past the White House on Wednesday to mark the 10th anniversary of the U.S. military detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.