July 2, 2012: A video titled "Muhammad movie trailer" is posted on YouTube.
"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. 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 embassy also tweeted: "U.S. Embassy condemns religious incitement," and "We condemn the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims."
The statement and tweets led some to accuse the embassy of apologizing for freedom of speech.
Egyptian protesters scaled the U.S. Embassy wall in Cairo and pulled down the American flag, ripping it up and replacing it with a black flag that is similar to the banner used by al-Qaida. The Associated Press reports that almost all the embassy staff had left before the protest and the ambassador was out of town.
A screenshot shows that at 6:30 p.m., the Cairo embassy tweeted, "This morning's condemnation (issued before protest began) still stands. As does our condemnation of unjustified breach of the Embassy."
A number of Cairo's tweets, chronicled by Twitchy.com, have been deleted.
At 8:16 p.m., on Sept. 11, ABC reporter Jake Tapper tweeted that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed that, "one of our State Department officers was killed."
A tweet posted at 8:42 p.m. from Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said: "The U.S. deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others." The tweet linked to a full statement on state.gov.
At 10:09 p.m., according to The Huffington Post, Mitt Romney's campaign sent out a statement embargoed for release after midnight, in accordance with the campaign's promise to avoid politicking on September 11. The statement said:
"I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks."
At 10:10, Politico reports that the Obama administration was disavowing the original release from the Cairo embassy.
"The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government," an official said.
At 10:25, the Huffington Post reports, the embargo on Romney's statement was prematurely lifted.
A 12:29 update from the Daily Kos included this statement from Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt:
"We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack."
At 6:06 a.m., Sept. 12, The Associated Press tweeted: "BREAKING: Libyan officials say US ambassador and 3 other Americans killed in attack on Benghazi consulate."
According to The Associated Press, U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens died as he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff. They were attacked with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, and Stevens reportedly died of asphyxiation from smoke.
At 7:21 a.m. on Sept. 12, according to The Huffington Post, The White House released a statement condemning the attack in Benghazi:
"Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers," the statement said. "They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the glob, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives. I have directed my administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the glove. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants."
In remarks Wednesday morning, Clinton said the attack in Libya should "shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world," and that there was no justification for the attack.
Following Clinton, Romney spoke, saying, "This attack on American individuals and embassies is outrageous it's disgusting, it breaks the heart of all of us who think of these people who have served during their lives for the cause of freedom and justice and honor. We mourn their loss and join together in prayer that the spirit of the almighty might comfort the families of those who have been so brutally slain."
Reporters asked Romney about his earlier statement, and Romney said Obama is responsible for the words that come from his ambassadors, administration embassies and from his state department, and that they were sending mixed messages to the world.
After Romney, President Barack Obama spoke, saying, "Make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people. Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects al faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None."
Reports begin to emerge suggesting that the attack in Libya was planned rather than spontaneous mob action.