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Libya attack work of terrorists, says U.S. (+video)

A panel is set to determine whether security around the US Consulate in Libya was sufficient when it was attacked on Sept. 11. The attack killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others.

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U.S. authorities are investigating possible collusion between the militants who launched the attack and locally hired Libyan personnel guarding the facility, three U.S. officials said on condition of anonymity. So far there is no proof of this, they said.

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Demanding answers 

Lawmakers have demanded answers on how Stevens, a State Department information management officer and two security agents could have died in the incident. Stevens' death marked the first time a U.S. ambassador had been killed in such an attack since 1979.

U.S. embassies in EgyptSudanTunisia and Yemen have been attacked and U.S. diplomatic facilities in the Middle East and North Africa have been the target of protests sparked by a film made in California that depicts the Prophet Mohammad as a womanizer and a fool.

Appearing at a forum sponsored by Univision and Facebook, and hosted by the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, Obama said the United States would not retreat from the region.

"My message to the presidents of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and these other countries: we want to be a partner with you, we will work with you and we stand on the side of democracy," he said.

"But democracy is not just an election, it's also are you looking out for minority rights, are you respecting freedom of speech, are you treating women fairly?" he added.

"The one thing we can't do is withdraw from the region. The United States continues to be the one indispensable nation."

Speaking at a news conference before she briefed U.S. lawmakers, Clinton also stressed the importance of U.S. relations with such countries despite questions about whether the United States should continue aid following the protests.

A congressional committee wrote to Clinton on Thursday demanding information about the attack in Benghazi, including all U.S. security analyses and threat assessments before the violence and any documents that clarify whether the attack was spontaneous or premeditated.

"The American people have a right to know the facts about this egregious attack on U.S. sovereign territory," Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz wrote to Clinton, setting an Oct. 4 deadline for her to provide the information.

Adam Smith, the senior Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, attended part of the briefing Thursday with Clinton and said - as Reuters reported on Wednesday - that the U.S. ambassador to Libya had five security guards with him. Smith said he thought that was an appropriate number.

Asked about possible collusion between Libyans working for the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi and the attackers, Smith said, "There is no evidence of that at this time."

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