The Cable

State Department: Attack on Benghazi consulate ongoing

The State Department confirmed that there is an ongoing attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the second U.S. diplomatic post to be attacked today in that region. One American has been killed in the attack, according to Libyan interior ministry.

"We can confirm that our office in Benghazi, Libya has been attacked by a group of militants.  We are working with the Libyans now to secure the compound," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement late Tuesday afternoon. "We condemn in strongest terms this attack on our diplomatic mission."

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation of the death of the American citizen.

An armed mob set fire to the consulate building in Benghazi, the birthplace of the Libyan revolution, following a similar incident earlier today in which a mob of protesters surrounded the U.S. embassy in Cairo, breached the compound walls, and tore down the American flag to replace with the flag of al Qaeda.

A State Department official told The Cable earlier today that they estimated between 1,500 and 2,000 people showed up to protest the Cairo embassy but that only 5 or 6 had actually made it into the compound. All U.S. personnel in Cairo are uninjured and accounted for, the official said. Nuland said that the intruders were now in police custody.

"In Cairo, we can confirm that Egyptian police have now removed the demonstrators who had entered our Embassy grounds earlier today," she said.

Several early reports states that both protests were sparked by anger among some ultra-conservative groups over the impending release of a film they deemed offensive to Islam. Several reports today states the film "Muhammad, Prophet of the Muslims" was a collaboration between U.S. pastor Terry Jones, who gained attention by burning copies of the Koran, in conjunction with some Egyptian Copts living in the United States.

The U.S. embassy in Cairo released a statement on that incident that identified it as an act of religious incitement and noted that the attack happened on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, although not suggesting that the date played a role in the timing.

"The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims - as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions," the statement said. "Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."

The State Department is also not ready to say whether or not the Libya attack is related to the Cairo attack.  "We cannot confirm any connection between these incidents," a State Department official said.

Earlier Tuesday, as the attack on the Cairo embassy was ongoing, Nuland told reporters at the daily briefing that the Cairo protests were "modest" compared to what State has seen in the past.

"It sounds like -- and I don't have full details -- that this came up pretty quickly, relatively modest group of people, but caught probably us and the Egyptian security outside the embassy by some surprise," she said. "I would urge you not to draw too many conclusions because we've also had some very positive developments in our relationship with Egypt."

UPDATE: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released the following statement late Tuesday evening.

I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today.  As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed.  We are heartbroken by this terrible loss.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who have suffered in this attack.  This evening, I called Libyan President Magariaf to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya.  President Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government's full cooperation.   Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.  The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.  Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.  But let me be clear:  There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.  In light of the events of today, the United States government is working with partner countries around the world to protect our personnel, our missions, and American citizens worldwide.

The Cable

The foreign policy section of Obama's speech

CHARLOTTE - Here is the full text of the foreign policy section of President Barack Obama's nomination acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention:

In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven. Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. We have. We've blunted the Taliban's momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.

Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm's way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. And so long as I'm Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you've served us - because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home.

Around the world, we've strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. We've reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers. From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings - men and women; Christians and Muslims and Jews.

But for all the progress we've made, challenges remain. Terrorist plots must be disrupted. Europe's crisis must be contained. Our commitment to Israel's security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace. The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions. The historic change sweeping across the Arab World must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate today.

So now we face a choice. My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we've seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.

After all, you don't call Russia our number one enemy - and not al Qaeda - unless you're still stuck in a Cold War time warp. You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can't visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. My opponent said it was "tragic" to end the war in Iraq, and he won't tell us how he'll end the war in Afghanistan. I have, and I will. And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don't even want, I'll use the money we're no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work - rebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it's time to do some nation-building right here at home.