Posts Tagged ‘Embassy Cairo’

Today was probably the most difficult day of Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.  She always takes it hard when diplomatic and developmental personnel are hurt or killed in service, but the events in Benghazi yesterday were particularly savage, as she described them in her remarks this morning, and it was clear that she took the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens very hard.  Following her statement this morning at the State Department, she went to the White House where President Obama delivered this message.

Remarks by the President on the Deaths of U.S. Embassy Staff in Libya

Rose Garden

10:43 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning.  Every day, all across the world, American diplomats and civilians work tirelessly to advance the interests and values of our nation.  Often, they are away from their families.  Sometimes, they brave great danger.

Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi.  Among those killed was our Ambassador, Chris Stevens, as well as Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith.  We are still notifying the families of the others who were killed.  And today, the American people stand united in holding the families of the four Americans in our thoughts and in our prayers.

The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack.  We’re working with the government of Libya to secure our diplomats.  I’ve also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world.  And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.

Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths.  We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.  But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence.  None.  The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.

Already, many Libyans have joined us in doing so, and this attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya.  Libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside Americans.  Libyans helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried Ambassador Stevens’s body to the hospital, where we tragically learned that he had died.

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 Libyan revolutionaries, and helped them as they planned to build a new Libya.  When the Qaddafi regime came to an end, Chris was there to serve as our ambassador to the new Libya, and he worked tirelessly to support this young democracy, and I think both Secretary Clinton and I relied deeply on his knowledge of the situation on the ground there.  He was a role model to all who worked with him and to the young diplomats who aspire to walk in his footsteps.

Along with his colleagues, Chris died in a country that is still striving to emerge from the recent experience of war. Today, the loss of these four Americans is fresh, but our memories of them linger on.  I have no doubt that their legacy will live on through the work that they did far from our shores and in the hearts of those who love them back home.

Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks.  We mourned with the families who were lost on that day.  I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed.  And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi. 

As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it.  Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.

But we also know that the lives these Americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers.  These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity.  They should give every American great pride in the country that they served, and the hope that our flag represents to people around the globe who also yearn to live in freedom and with dignity.

We grieve with their families, but let us carry on their memory, and let us continue their work of seeking a stronger America and a better world for all of our children.

Thank you.  May God bless the memory of those we lost and may God bless the United States of America.


After these remarks, the President accompanied the Secretary to the State Department where he signed a guest book and offered condolences  to grieving State Department staff.  Here are some photos from the State Department and the White House.

At the State Department making remarks this morning.

In the Rose Garden.

Signing the guest book at the State Department.

Offering condolences to State Department staff.

Everyone here knows that I am no fan of Obama’s, but today he did the right thing for his Secretary of  State,  her staff, and the country in much the same way as George W. Bush did when he went to Ground Zero after 9/11.

I have seen and fought about as much Islamophobia as I can stomach today.  Dear friends and colleagues of mine are Muslim.  One proudly just took her oath of citizenship recently and is so proud to be American.  Those who claim that their freedom of speech is being trampled should remember that Muslim American troops are defending that freedom and that Muslim Americans serve patriotically in embassies all over the world – some, clearly, in very dangerous places.  We are a secular nation where all religions are to be respected. These photos from Benghazi are worth a thousand words.

15 Photos Of Libyans Apologizing To Americans

A peaceful demonstration from Benghazi, the Libyan city where a U.S. ambassador was killed in a consulate attack Tuesday. “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans.”

Finally, using the events in Benghazi and Cairo politically is shameful.  Political opponents need not disagree about everything.  I just heard former Ambassador Nicholas Burns say that this is a time for a political time-out.  This is a time for us to come together and be respectful of those we have lost.   It is not a time to criticize much less to attack and lie.  We all need to take a breath, reflect and offer our condolences to those who have lost loved ones as Secretary Clinton and President Obama did today.

To those who have suffered losses, I am so sorry.  My sympathy is with you.

To those who continue, on Secretary Clinton’s hardest day at State, to spread lies and attack our government,  have you no decency?

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the US Embassy staff at the embassy in Cairo on July 15, 2012. Clinton is visiting Egypt to meet with the nation’s newly elected president and other government and civil leaders to speak about the relationship between the United States and the new democracy. AFP PHOTO/POOL/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)

Remarks at Meeting With Embassy Staff and Families


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Embassy
Cairo, Egypt
July 15, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, and thank you also for your patience. I’ve had an excellent series of meetings today and have had the opportunity to listen to and interact with a number of Egyptians that has given me new insight and a very clear sense of the great dedication that Egyptians have toward the success of this transition to a true democracy.

I want to thank Ambassador Patterson and to DCM Marc Sievers for the leadership they’ve brought to the mission at this time which is so historic. I also want to thank all of you for everything you’re doing every single day. You’re on the front lines of the democratic transition here. And I know it’s not been easy, especially for our local Egyptian staff. Even getting to and from work has been a challenge at times. But I want to thank our Egyptian and our American team here. You’ve responded just extraordinarily with real commitment and fortitude. And I’m delighted that I can thank you in person. The last time I was here, there was still a sense of excitement and energy coming from all that had happened so close by in Tahrir Square. Now, obviously, we are into the hard work, the hard, hard work of trying to be a good partner as the people of Egypt make their transition.

I especially want to thank you because last November and December into January, even though there were large demonstrations and sometimes even riots, you kept on going. Even when the air was thick with tear gas and Molotov cocktails (inaudible), you pulled together to help salvage historic books that had been burned and damaged. You donated blood to help people who’d been injured. When a mob attacked the Israeli Embassy, you stayed up all night coordinating responses and helping to resolve that very unfortunate situation. When the Egyptian judiciary took up a case against American NGOs, you made certain that our citizens were safe. You never stopped supporting and advocating for our Egyptian colleagues who were on trial and for all Egyptians working to build democracy. Whenever an American citizen got into trouble for taking part in demonstrations, you were there to protect their rights, to secure their release. I understand some of you even served Thanksgiving dinner to three young Americans who were jailed over that holiday.

So I know that it’s been a challenging year for all of you, but I particularly want to thank all the drivers, the local security guards, the diplomatic security staff, the Marine security guards, who protected this Embassy and all of you during the turmoil of the year. I want to thank the telephone operators who kept us all connected and tracked us down at any hour of day or night.

And I want to thank you for helping to monitor and report on seven rounds of voting. For the first time in Egypt’s long, legendary history, they have chosen their own leadership. But elections are just the beginning. It’s not the end of anything. Now a government must be formed, and a government that will respect the rights of all Egyptians – men and women, Muslim and Christian, wherever they live in the country.

I met with President Morsi yesterday and told him the United States stands ready to support the Egyptian people, that we are working toward an inclusive government, that we respect the right of Egyptians to build their country, but we believe strongly that universal rights must be protected. All people deserve dignity. All people deserve their freedom.

So I’m hoping that you will continue your efforts that are incredibly important, and to show the support and friendship of the American people to the Egyptian people. And I know that for many of you, you will be telling your grandchildren about this past 15 months, about what is likely to be a better future for Egypt.

So thank you for everything you are doing and that you will do, and I cannot wait to see how this incredibly important story unfolds. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the US Embassy staff at the embassy in Cairo on July 15, 2012. Clinton is visiting Egypt to meet with the nation’s newly elected president and other government and civil leaders to speak about the relationship between the United States and the new democracy. AFP PHOTO/POOL/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the US Embassy staff at the embassy in Cairo on July 15, 2012. Clinton is visiting Egypt to meet with the nation’s newly elected president and other government and civil leaders to speak about the relationship between the United States and the new democracy. AFP PHOTO/POOL/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)


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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) greets members of the USMC "FAST Marines", a quick response team from Norfolk, Virginia, on duty at the US Embassy in Cairo, on March 16, 2011. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS-POOL (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton poses for a photograph with members of the USMC "FAST Marines", a quick response team from Norfolk, Virginia, on duty at the US Embassy in Cairo, on March 16, 2011. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS-POOL (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) walks with US Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scoby, at the US Embassy in Cairo on March 16, 2011. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS-POOL (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)


Remarks at Meeting With Staff of Embassy Cairo


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Cairo, Egypt
March 16, 2011

MODERATOR: (In progress) give us all they’ve got, and I can tell you for the last several weeks have been operating on energy that I don’t think anybody knew they possessed, and that energy is obviously coming from the people of Egypt. So without further ado, Secretary Clinton, thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Ambassador. And let me begin by expressing how proud I am to be here and to have this opportunity to thank all of you, Egyptian and American alike, for your extraordinary service during this historic time here in Egypt. It is for me a great honor to be here. And let me begin by thanking the Ambassador who spent a lot of late nights (inaudible) to the White House and the State Department to give us up-to-the-date reports and the DCM Matt Tueller. Thank you, Matt, for your leadership, and to all of you – Egyptian, American, civilian, military – I thank you for the strong relationship that you have with the Egyptian people and the strong work that you have done on behalf of that relationship.

I know that it’s been a challenging time here in Cairo over the last weeks. During the evacuations, you worked night and day to make sure that over 2,300 American citizens were safely evacuated. And I will speak loudly – (laughter) – and I know that our security and our law enforcement employees did an amazing job in securing the vehicles and the passengers and even helping to treat people as they were coming out of the challenging environment they were in.

Now, I also know that we only have 50 percent of our staff here. I was just talking with the Ambassador. We are hoping to be able to begin to return more of our staff back here to Cairo to give you a little relief and to continue building support for the work that the government here in Egypt is doing. I also appreciate the extra help that you’ve given for my trip. I know it’s not easy any time someone like me shows up and you have to work even harder to be able to fulfill the extra requirements.

I also want to thank our military for the help in rescuing and evacuating Egyptians from Libya. We have brought home more than a thousand Egyptians who were stranded on the border with Tunisia, and I’m very proud of that effort.

There is, however, I know, a very sad note as well, because I want to say a word of appreciation and condolence for Khairy Ramadan Aly. As you know so well, he worked for the embassy here for 18 years. He was killed on January 28th during the demonstrations while searching for his son. His family is here with us. I want to express our sympathy and our appreciation for his service and extend our condolence and support to the family in their time of loss. No words can ever replace the loss of a husband, a father, a grandfather, a colleague, but we are standing with his family and we will continue to do so.

I think that the (inaudible) that you have done is in the real tradition of its expeditionary diplomacy. This was an extraordinary moment, and I was touched by an Embassy Cairo officer who said that the circumstances we’ve been forced to endure have moved us beyond ties and suits and uniforms, and we have forged a camaraderie across all the agencies of the United States Government.

I am very proud of you. And I had the opportunity in my meetings last night and today to express our admiration to the people of Egypt and our support for those civilian and military who are working with the Supreme Council of the armed forces, with the prime minister and the government to translate into reality the dreams and aspirations of the Egyptian people. That is our hope for Egypt, and we stand ready to assist in every way possible, because this is Egypt’s moment, this is Egypt’s story. But the United States has been a partner and will remain a partner and a friend as this great transformation to democracy continues.

Now, what I’d like to do is shake as many hands as possible to personally thank you and to greet you. Before I lose my voice trying to — (laughter) – reach way back there and way back there. But I went to Tahrir Square. I don’t know where Ahmed (ph) and Ike (ph) are, the two young men right there, who were my guides and who described for me their own experiences and what was happening during those tumultuous breathtaking days in Tahrir Square well named for liberation of the human spirit, of a country whose future is, in my view, even greater than the already extraordinary past.

I said to the foreign minister and other ministers that I had dinner with last night that compared to Egypt, the United States is a very, very young country – 225 years (inaudible) 7,000 years. There’s not much of a comparison. But we are the oldest democracy, so we do know a thing or two about translating into reality the democratic principles and values. And we know that it is the most important work that any people can do. It is not easy work. It has taken us a long time. And frankly, we’ve had a lot of struggles along the way. We’ve had our own problems in overcoming divisions, fighting a civil war, reaching out to include women, people of different religions and backgrounds and races – all in the American democracy.

And I have great confidence that Egypt is going to break the mold, that you are going to show how democracy works in a way that, for generations to come, not only future Egyptians but people everywhere, are going to point and say, “That was one of the most important historic turning points.” The pyramids are magnificent, but nowhere near as magnificent as what you have already done.

And now to make sure – (applause) – that all that work and all that sacrifice, including the loss of an employee here at the Embassy, is not in vain, that no one is permitted to hijack this revolution, no one is permitted to turn the clock back on this revolution, no one is permitted to claim it for only one group of Egyptians and try to exclude other Egyptians. That will be the challenge.

And we will help in every way possible to support those who are making the decisions now to support the process that will allow Egyptians to elect the leaders who will lead the first part of this new democracy, and to remind everyone that elections is not all that democracy’s about. People can have an election and then never want to have another election. And what has to happen is to really embed all of the values of democracy into the hearts and minds of the Egyptian citizens.

So I come to thank you, but also to pledge support and to tell you that the United States of America will be with Egypt on this next chapter in the extraordinary history of this civilization.

Thank you and God bless you. (Applause.)

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