Entries in terrorism (108)


Change to Security Policy for Statue of Liberty Visits Proposed 

Medioimages/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- The National Park Service intends to change its security screening plan for the Statue of Liberty and several prominent New Yorkers are up in arms.

Currently, visitors to Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty is located, are screened before they get on to the boats that take them to the island. The same is true for visitors to Ellis Island. The National Park Service proposes changing it so that visitors would be screened when they arrive on the islands.

Many think that the change poses a safety risk.

 “The Statue of Liberty is a national symbol but unfortunately in this world of terrorism, it's also a natural target,” said NYPD Chief Ray Kelly.

“I don't think it's wise to shift the screening from Manhattan to the potential target,” he said.

“It's sort of saying we're going to screen people at airports after they get off the plane rather than before they get on the plane,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who also opposes the change.
The pre-boarding screenings were first put in place after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In any case, there have been no tours to the Statue of Liberty recently. The island was damaged during Hurricane Sandy, but it is set to reopen July 4.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


DOD: Ft. Hood Massacre Likely 'Criminal Act of Single Individual,' Not International Terror

U.S. Government Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences via Getty Images(FORT HOOD, Texas) -- More than three years since a deadly domestic assault on American troops -- the 2009 Fort Hood massacre that claimed 13 lives, including that of a pregnant soldier -- a top Army attorney maintains that incident was likely a "criminal act of a single individual."

"...[T]he available evidence in this case does not, at this time, support a finding that the shooting at Fort Hood was an act of international terrorism," Lt. Gen. Dana Chipman said this week in a letter to Rep. Thomas Rooney (R-Fla.) on behalf of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

The letter, obtained by ABC News, was apparently written in response to an inquiry from Rooney, Rep. Chaka Fatta (D-Penn.), and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Virg.) sent to Hagel on May 6, which questioned whether concerns of "political correctness" informed the Army's decision to refer to the Fort Hood attack as an act of "workplace violence." Victims of the shooting have long maintained that calling the attack "workplace violence" instead of "combat related" or an act of terrorism has had a massive impact on the benefits and treatment they've received.

In the Fort Hood attack, Maj. Nidal Hasan stands accused of gunning down 13 soldiers and injuring 32 others in November 2009. After the assault, investigators uncovered evidence that Hasan was in communication with al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki prior to the attack. Al-Awlaki was apparently such a threat that he has been the only American citizen ever targeted for a drone strike -- though three others have been collateral damage, according to President Obama.

Witnesses reportedly said Hasan shouted "Allahu Akbar," "God is Great" in Arabic, amid the chaos.

As reflected in Chipman's letter, the Department of Defense has consistently said that in addition to a supposed lack of evidence, it would be irresponsible to call the Fort Hood attack "terrorism" because it "may have a negative impact on the ongoing judicial process" for Hasan.

The letter also denied that the Defense Department had made a decision to classify the attack as "workplace violence" and said, "[N]o benefit has been denied to any of the victims based on any such classification" -- two claims to which the survivors object stringently.

Kimberly Munley, a police officer who was hailed as a hero for her role in stopping the alleged Fort Hood shooter, told ABC News Chipman's letter is "disgraceful" and "another direct slap in the face." Attorneys for Munley and most of the other Fort Hood victims called the letter's claims "counterfactual" and an "insult."

An attorney for several of the victims, Reed Rubinstein, said the Army's new letter is "worse than word games."

"The 'workplace violence' classification has been out there for years, and [the Army] has never walked it back," he said.

In 2010, part of then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' response to the shooting was to "strengthen [the department's] policies, programs and procedures in... workplace violence." In October 2011, the Defense Department said it was reviewing the attack "in the context of a broader threat of workplace violence."

Rubinstein and his partner, Neil Sher, also said calling the attack "an alleged criminal act by a single individual" "rewrites history, consigning the government's admissions of Hasan's al-Qaeda ties… down a bureaucratic memory hole."

Munley said, "It is clear that the Army and the government will continue to not take responsibility for allowing a known terrorist to slip through the ranks while having multiple associations with the now-deceased Anwar al-Awlaki and has complete disregard for those injured on that horrifying day."

In Chipman's letter, she said the Army is willing to reconsider their classification of the event should "new, relevant evidence" arise.

"The Army's decision, in no way, diminishes the common goal of ensuring the victims are treated and cared for promptly and compassionately," the letter says. "Although we cannot undo the outcome of that day, taking care of those affected by the Fort Hood shooting... remains one of the Army's top priorities."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


AG Holder: Homegrown Terrorists Threat Rivals Overseas

White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- After years of security briefings and thwarting terrorist plots, national security still keeps Eric Holder awake.

"I still worry at night," the U.S. attorney general told ABC's Pierre Thomas in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview on Wednesday.

"I'm concerned about whether or not we have done all that we can to ensure that every threat has been adequately examined, that we put up our defenses in appropriate ways," Holder said. "So, yeah, I still go to bed worried at night."

America now confronts a very different terrorist threat than it did four years ago, according to Holder. While al Qaeda's central leadership has been diminished, the group is more "widespread" geographically -- and the threat of homegrown terrorists in the U.S. now rivals that of plots hatched overseas, Holder told ABC News.

"Core al Qaeda doesn't have the capacity that it once did, but it's metastasized in a number of ways. We now worry about the nodes of al Qaeda -- al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al Qaeda now in Africa, al Qaeda in Iraq," Holder said. "The threat is more widespread in terms of where those people are, where those significant people are. That's how it's different now."

The nation's top law enforcer worries that Americans could become "complacent" about the threat of terrorism, even as the FBI has thwarted not only international plots, but homegrown terrorists that Holder called "a very serious threat."

"I worry a little that the American people, from the general population, has become a little complacent that we don't understand or realize that the threats are still real, that the danger is out there, is still tangible, that we still have to be as vigilant as we need to be," Holder said.

During his tenure as attorney general, federal authorities have thwarted numerous terrorist plots hatched within the U.S., and Holder told ABC News that the threat of homegrown plots warrants as much attention as international terrorism. In December, the FBI arrested two Florida brothers, Raees Alam and Sheheryar Alam Qazi, alleging they had sought to obtain explosives and carry out a terrorist attack in New York City. The two were charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

"It's a very serious threat. I think what it says is that the scope, our scope, has to be broadened. We can't think that it's just a bunch of people in caves in some part of the world," Holder said. "We have to be concerned about the homeland to the same extent that we are worried about the threat coming from overseas."

The FBI's success has made the threat of terrorism less visible: When attempted terrorists are apprehended, the American public doesn't always see or hear much about them, save in cases like the attempted 2009 Christmas bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. In his interview with ABC News, Holder warned that thwarted plots shouldn't be dismissed or ignored.

"When those terrorist attempts are thwarted, they are not as scary as a successful attempt, but that doesn't mean that they were any less serious," Holder said. "That's something that the American people need to focus on. When we stop these attacks, that's an indication that the threat is real, it's ongoing, and we have to be very serious about stopping people who continue to want to do harm to the American people."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Florida Terrorism Suspect Planned New York Attack, Feds Say

Broward County Sheriff Dept.(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- A Florida terrorism suspect arrested along with his brother last month was planning a lone wolf attack in New York City, according to Justice Department officials.

At a detention hearing in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Tuesday, federal prosecutors said Raees Alam Qazi traveled to New York in late November to obtain explosives to carry out an attack, possibly in Times Square.

Qazi and his older brother, Sheheryar Alam Qazi, were arrested on Nov. 29 and charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

The disclosure by Justice Department prosecutors at a court hearing is a new detail in a case that was initially announced by the Justice Department along with a three-page indictment that provided no details behind the terrorism charges.

Prosecutors have alleged that Raees Alam Qazi traveled to New York on Nov. 23, but returned to the Florida area days later. At one point, two government sources said, he managed to slip surveillance while in New York, only to be located later.

"There are no specific or credible terrorism threats to New York at this time. Raees Alam Qazi's plans were aspirational," an FBI spokesman said. "He had no specific plan or targets identified to carry out an attack."

According to officials, Raees Alam Qazi is described as a suspected lone wolf terrorist inspired by al Qaeda. Officials allege the suspect attempted to reach out to Islamic radicals affiliated with al Qaeda overseas.

Prosecutors at Tuesday's hearing alleged that Qazi read Inspire Magazine, and may have been influenced by lectures of Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical cleric killed in a U.S. drone strike, who has been at the heart of many U.S. terorrism cases. Prosecutors say Qazi also gathered information on explosives.

The indictment alleges that between July 2011 and Nov. 29, 2012, the suspects were conspiring to "provide material support and resources -- including property, services, funding, lodging, communications equipment, personnel and transportation -- knowing and intending that this support be used in preparation for and in carrying out a violation of law -- namely, a conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction."

Unlike many recent terrorism cases, this was not an FBI sting operation in which the FBI approaches suspects they believe are interested in committing possible acts of terror. Law enforcement officials tell ABC News that Qazi had been monitoring FBI sting cases.

Qazi and his older brother are naturalized U.S. citizens who arrived in the United States and were granted lawful permanent residency in November and October 2000 respectively.

Raees became a naturalized citizen in July 2006, and according to a Nov. 30, 2012 FBI-DHS intelligence bulletin obtained by ABC News on the case, Raees "most recently traveled to Pakistan from July 2011 to February 2012 according to DHS travel data. Upon his February return to the United States, Raees claimed during secondary inspection by DHS Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that the purpose of his travel was to visit family and vacation."

According to the DHS-FBI intelligence bulletin Sheheryar Qazi became a naturalized U.S. citizen in September 2009. He returned from a trip to Pakistan in January 2011 stating the purpose of his travel was to visit family members, according to DHS travel data and U.S. Customs and Border Protection information.

"The alleged activities of Raees Alam Qazi and Sheheryar Alam Qazi highlight the continued interest of violent extremists in conducting terrorist attacks in the Homeland. We strongly encourage federal, state, local tribal and territorial counterterrorism to remain alert and immediately report potential indicators of pre-operational activity," the bulletin states.

A White House official told ABC News' Jake Tapper that President Obama was briefed about this case even before the arrest.

A review of Justice Department cases from this year shows that there have been 19 terrorism cases brought in 2012 alone.

Defense attorneys for the two men declined to comment when contacted by ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Former Roommate of Wanted Terrorist Among Two Charged in Terror Case

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Two men from Alabama have been arrested in a terrorism case, including the former roommate of a man on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list.

Randy Wilson, a.k.a. Rasheed Wilson, and Mohammad Abdul Rahman Abukhdair, both 25 years old, were arrested Tuesday by the FBI for allegedly attempting to travel to Africa to engage in fighting with terrorists groups there. Both were charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Abukhdair was also charged with passport fraud.

Wilson is allegedly a close friend and former roommate of Omar Hammami, an American commander in Somalia’s Al Shabaab terrorist group who was recently added to the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list.

Also known as Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, Hammami is the Alabama-raised son of a Southern Baptist mother and a Syrian father. Since arriving in Somalia in 2006, he has acted as a mouthpiece for Al Shabaab, the Somali branch of al Qaeda, but in recent months has released a series of videos claiming that his life was in danger and that he was having difficulties with the terror group.

Hammami was added to the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list last month.

Wilson and Abukhdair allegedly met online during 2010.  Abukhdair is a U.S. citizen originally from Syracuse, N.Y., who had traveled to Egypt from the United States in 2007 but was arrested and detained by Egyptian security forces in 2010 for suspicion of terrorist activity. Abukhdair was eventually deported back to the United States in January 2011 and lived in both Ohio and Alabama.

The FBI used an undercover FBI employee to approach Wilson to learn about his possible motive and interests in terrorist activity.

The criminal complaint alleges that Wilson, Abukhdair and the undercover employee spent numerous hours watching terrorist propaganda, including lectures by Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Alawki and that the men discussed ways to travel overseas to Somalia or to Sudan to engage in jihad.

According to the criminal complaint, during one Feb. 3, 2012, meeting Abukhdair stated that he was unsure whether he could leave the United States because of his time in Egypt and deportation.

“Abukhdair proposed that they conduct a terrorist attack in the United States instead. Abukhdair said he was losing patience, and inquired about the cost of buying six guns for a domestic attack,” the complaint alleged.

Wilson allegedly told Abukhdair to be patient and to wait for their passports to arrive.

The following day Abukhdair became suspicious that the FBI was watching the men and as they drove to meet the undercover FBI employee they threw their computers and electronic devices off a bridge into Mobile Bay.

The case took an unusual twist as they became more concerned that the FBI was watching them.

“To convince the FBI that they no longer wanted to travel for jihad, Wilson and Abukhdair decided to open a men’s fragrance store. Wilson told the [undercover agent] that even if their passports arrived, they were not going to travel right now. On Feb. 7, 2012, Wilson sold his minivan for $3,900 and used money to rent space for their store,” the criminal complaint alleged.

The FBI affidavit in the case notes that because of a lack of business the store was only open for four months before being closed in July 2012.

According to the criminal complaint the FBI also used an informant who also knew both Wilson and Hammami to get information on Wilson. The informant had previously tried to leave the United States in June 2012, but may have been on the no-fly list and later worked with the FBI as a confidential source on the investigation.

In October 2012, the two finally decided that they should travel to Mauritania, allegedly in hopes of getting to fight in jihad in Mali where al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has recently become more active.

Wilson was arrested Tuesday morning in Atlanta attempting to board a flight that would ultimately take him to Morocco.  Abukhdair was arrested in Augusta, Ga., at a bus terminal for a bus to Canada. The two planned to fly to Morocco before going to Mauritania.

Defense attorneys for Wilson and Abukhdair could not be identified in court records at this time.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Two South Florida Men Charged in Alleged Terror Plot

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- Two South Florida men were charged Friday with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, federal officials said.

The suspects are brothers -- Raees Alam Qazi, 20, and Sheheryar Alam Qazi, 30.

They were both identified as naturalized citizens from Pakistan. They made their first court appearance Friday afternoon in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The indictment alleges that between July 2011 and Nov. 29, 2012, the suspects were conspiring to "provide material support and resources -- including property, services, funding, lodging, communications equipment, personnel and transportation -- knowing and intending that this support be used in preparation for and in carrying out a violation of law -- namely, a conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction."


The indictment also alleges that the suspects were "conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) against persons and property within the United States" during the same timeframe.

"The FBI's number one priority is counterterrorism and we continue to work with our partners to protect the U.S. and its people from harm," said acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Steinbach of the FBI's Miami Division in a news release. "To be clear, this is not an indictment against a particular community or religion. Instead, today's indictment charges two individuals for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and to use a weapon of mass destruction."

One official knowledgeable of the case described the man's intent as "serious," but the source said it did not appear that an attack was imminent.

"This was not a sting," sources told ABC News, adding that the younger brother had been in contact with overseas radicals, possibly connected to al Qaeda.

The FBI found evidence that the younger brother had been monitoring recent FBI "sting" cases, the sources said. Infiltrating the alleged conspiracy was a "non-starter," authorities said.

If convicted, the defendants could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for the conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists charge and a life sentence on the conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction charge.

Defense attorneys representing the men did not return calls or emails from ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Some Administration Officials Had Early Concerns Benghazi Attack Was Act of Terrorism

US Department of Defense Photo by Glenn Fawcet(WASHINGTON) -- Obama administration officials told ABC News they had early concerns the attack in Benghazi, Libya was the work of terrorists. Events were too uncertain, and suspicions had been aroused, officials said.

Panetta Thursday said that the attack that killed four Americans on the anniversary of 9/11 was not only carried out by terrorists -- it was pre-meditated.

“As we determined the details of what took place there and how that attack took place,” Panetta told reporters, “it became clear that there were terrorists who had planned that attack.”

The White House first suggested the attack was spontaneous -- the result of an anti-Muslim video that incited mobs throughout the region.

“Let’s be clear, these protests were in reaction to a video that had spread to the region,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Sept. 14.

When ABC News pressed Carney on whether that included the Benghazi attack, in which U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American men were killed, Carney said, “we certainly don’t know. We don’t know otherwise. We have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack.”

On ABC's This Week on Sept. 16, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said, “our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous -- not a premeditated -- response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated. We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to -- or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo. And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons … And it then evolved from there.”

White House officials acknowledge that assessments have changed over time as intelligence has been confirmed, but they insist that no information was given in bad faith and there was no attempt to downplay the attack.

But sources told ABC News that intelligence officials on the ground immediately suspected the attack was not tied to the movie at all. The attackers knew where to get Ambassador Stevens after he’d fled to a so-called safe house half a mile away. That building was hit with insurgent mortars -- suggesting the terrorists knew what they were doing.

As of Thursday afternoon, officials from the Obama administration were not even 100 percent certain that the protest of the anti-Muslim film in Benghazi occurred outside the U.S. diplomatic post.

In a closed-door briefing with top officials, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described the mortar attack on the safe house as suggesting that the terrorist attack was one of opportunity, not pre-meditation, since the mortars were not used to attack the consulate earlier in the day.

President Obama has repeatedly said the investigation is on to find the killers and bring them to justice. But as first reported by CNN, ABC news has learned that the FBI -- which has been dispatched to Libya to take the lead in the investigation -- has not even reached Benghazi yet.

This is largely due to safety concerns. Indeed, as of Thursday, senior State Department officials said that the diplomatic presence in Libya -- which was already down to emergency-level staffing -- would be further reduced.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Phoenix Filmmaker Arrested After Allegedly Staging Terrorist Hoax

ABC News(PHOENIX) -- A Phoenix filmmaker has been arrested for allegedly videotaping his nephew dressed in a sheet while pointing a fake grenade launcher at passing cars in an apparent terrorist hoax to test police-response time after the Aurora, Colo., movie theater massacre, authorities said on Wednesday.

Police arrested Michael Turley, 39, on Monday after a nearly two-month investigation.  The filmmaker faces charges of knowingly giving a false impression of a terrorist act, endangerment and contributing to the delinquency of his 16-year-old nephew.

Police said they responded one minute after they first received calls, but the video, which Turley allegedly filmed on July 28 and then posted on YouTube, apparently shows the fake terrorist roaming around a busy intersection for 15 minutes.

"They told us they were just making a movie," Phoenix Police Department spokesman James Holmes said, adding that there was no arrest that day.

"We deemed it a pretty dumb action but we didn't know what their real intent was, so we initiated an investigation," Holmes said.

Turley apparently posted the video on YouTube two days after filming.  He called it "Dark Knight Shooting Response, Rocket Launcher Police Test."

"The Anonymous Filmmaker explores how the Phoenix Police Department reacts days after the event at the Century 16 Movie Theater in Aurora, Colorado where a gunman, James Holmes, killed 12 people and injured 58 more at the premiere of Batman The Dark Knight Rises," the video description said.

Police spokesman Holmes said authorities became aware of the video a few weeks after they were called to the scene.

"We reviewed it and at that point we realized they were intentionally endangering the public to prove a point," Holmes said.

Authorities arrested him on Monday after a search of his home.  ABC News has been unable to reach Turley or his attorney.

Police said Turley's nephew faces pending charges.  They have not released his name.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Man Believes His Bar Was Targeted by Teen in Alleged Bomb Plot

ABC(CHICAGO) -- The FBI has yet to name the Chicago bar that an 18-year-old suburban teen was allegedly trying to blow up with a car bomb, but one bar owner says his establishment was the target.

Mike Feirstein, the co-owner of Cal's Bar and Liquors, told ABC News Monday that about 15 undercover agents wearing earpieces surrounded a vehicle outside his bar at 400 South Wells St. Friday evening. Bombing suspect Adel Daoud, who was arrested nearby, is expected to appear in federal court later today to face charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to damage and destroy a building with an explosive.

Officials said that the "car bomb" that Daoud allegedly parked on South Wells Street and tried to detonate was a fake, and that no one was in any danger.

Though Feirstein said he believed his bar was the target, the FBI has yet to officially name which bar the suspect was allegedly trying to destroy. A bar next door to Cal's called Cactus includes an outdoor beer garden that is often full of people. On Friday at 8 p.m., there were about 20 people inside Cal's, according to Feirstein, but more at Cactus.

The affidavit says Daoud settled on his unnamed target because it was a bar, a liquor store and a concert venue and would be filled with "the evilest people" on a weekend night. Cal's was hosting musical performances from local bands on Friday.

Meanwhile, neighbors near Daoud's suburban Chicago home are stunned at the allegations.

"I've sat and listened to him in conversations with my kids. It was never anything like, you know, we hate Americans or anything like that," said neighbor Dorothy Leverson.

According to authorities, the undercover operation began in May when two undercover FBI agents contacted the teen in response to material he had allegedly posted online regarding violent jihad and the killing of Americans.

Investigators say Daoud made several postings on an internet forum, allegedly writing, "I hate the oppression of the USA and I would love to do something that would hurt it from the inside," according to the criminal complaint.

From late May until mid-June, the undercover agents corresponded with Daoud. During those communications, he affirmed his interest in engaging in a violent jihad in the United States or abroad, according to the affidavit.

In June, one of the undercover agents introduced a purported cousin, who was identified as an operational terrorist living in New York, to Daoud.

During this time, Daoud allegedly made a list of 29 potential targets, including military recruiting centers, bars, malls and Chicago tourist attractions.

The 18-year-old researched and monitored a target for the attack, according to the affidavit, which would be carried out with an explosive device provided by an undercover agent.

At 7:15 p.m. on Friday, the teen and the agent drove to their target in downtown Chicago. During the car ride, Daoud allegedly led a prayer that the attack succeed, "kill many people" and "cause destruction," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

The pair entered a parking lot where the fake car bomb was set up inside of a Jeep. Daoud drove the Jeep out of the lot and parked it in front of the bar he had allegedly identified as his target, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Daoud and the agent walked to an alley one block away where the agent witnessed the 18-year-old press the triggering mechanism, attempting to detonate the device, prosecutors said. He was then taken into custody.

Daoud is expected to enter a plea at 3 p.m. today in federal court.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama: Terror Will 'Not Dim the Light' of US Values

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(GOLDEN, Colo.) -- As his campaign rival accuses him of “apologizing” for America, President Obama today sought to project an unabashed commitment to the nation’s values, telling supporters in Colorado that he is resolved to defend them in the face of terrorism and violence.

“I want people around the world to hear me, to all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world,” Obama said.  “No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America.”

The president said his administration is determined to bring to justice the killers of four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and would continue to speak out for democracy and human rights.

“That's what binds us together. That's what our flag means,” Obama said. “We also believe that these are not just American rights. We believe these are universal aspirations.”

He added that the county’s primary task is “to defend and protect and advance our people, but also to defend and protect and advance those values at home and around the world.

“That's what our troops do. That's what our diplomats do. That's what our intelligence officers do. That's what our citizens do. That's what we believe. Those are the values that we hold to,” he said.

In keeping with a slightly more subdued tone that he set Wednesday night at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, President Obama did not mention rival Mitt Romney once by name.

Meanwhile back in Washington, a portrait of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, draped with a black ribbon, and a condolence book was displayed today outside of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee room. Stevens worked briefly on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as a Pearson Fellow State Department detailee from 2006-2007.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., today invited Senators and staff to sign the book or write a brief note to Stevens’ family. The portrait and book will be displayed until next Thursday. The condolence book will be given to the Stevens family.  

“We hope you will join us in honoring this extraordinary American diplomat,” Chairman Kerry and Ranking Minority Member Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said in an email to members today.

On Wednesday night the Senate passed a resolution by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., Chairman and Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Committee, commending the four Americans who died in Libya.

The resolution also condemned the “despicable” and violent attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi and calls for “the perpetrators of such attacks to be brought to justice.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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