Washington, DC--Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) issued the following statement in response to the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and two other American Foreign Service officers.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the horrific attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the victims, and to their foreign service colleagues.  It is unfathomable that a video made by one person could result in this kind of murderous behavior from anyone.  This is unacceptable and has rightfully been condemned by the Libyan government.  We cannot let the actions of a group of irrational, violent radicals undermine efforts to create a stable government in Libya, Egypt or anywhere in the world where democracy is trying to emerge.  If it turns out that the attack used the protests as cover as part of a terrorist operation, then we must do what it takes to bring the perpetrators to justice.  We must demand that governments live up to their responsibility to protect diplomat properties, and the State Department should immediately review the security needs at our embassies and consulates so that we can prevent a recurrence of this horrific attack. 

“It takes a brave and dedicated person to embark on a career in the Foreign Service – leaving behind everything familiar and loved in order to serve our country overseas, often in extremely dangerous places.  They speak for our nation in posts all over the world, setting an example of excellence as they represent our values to societies near and far.  As a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I have worked with our diplomats in all corners of the globe and have seen a consistent dedication to professionalism and respect for the cultures of other countries.  America’s Foreign Service officers have my deepest gratitude and admiration.  This act of terrorism was a tragedy, and I believe we should honor the victims by redoubling our support for our diplomats abroad.”