Rough timeline shows sequence of events in Egypt and Libya on Sept. 11-12, 2012

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 12 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Libyans gather at the gutted U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 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.


July 2, 2012: A video titled "Muhammad movie trailer" is posted on YouTube.

According to The Huffington Post, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo released a statement shortly before noon EDT on Sept. 11, 2012. The statement said:

"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."

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