White House: Deplores prophet film inciting raids

September 13, 2012 - 2:35 PM
Mideast Libya US

Bloodstains at the main gate believed to be from one of the American staff members of the U.S. Consulate, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. The American ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed when a mob of protesters and gunmen overwhelmed the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, setting fire to it in outrage over a film that ridicules Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Ambassador Chris Stevens, 52, died as he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff as a crowd of hundreds attacked the consulate Tuesday evening, many of them firing machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Arabic writing reads, " Villa of Jamal al Beshary". which was written by the original owner to protect the property from another attack. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) — The White House says the U.S. deplores the content of an amateur film that denigrates Islam, but America's free speech rights allow such films to air.

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday that the Obama administration also condemns the violence in several Islamic countries the film has reportedly triggered. He says the attacks on U.S. facilities in Egypt, Libya and Yemen are totally unjustified and should be squelched by local governments.

The attack in Benghazi, Libya, killed four U.S. diplomats, including the ambassador.

Carney said America has a long tradition of free expression that puzzles some foreigners, who blame the government for not blocking the film from the Internet.

Attorney General Eric Holder said Justice Department officials had opened a criminal investigation into the diplomats' deaths.