White House officials reportedly suspect that a violent assault Tuesday night on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans — including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens — could have been planned beforehand. Initial reports stated that protesters had overrun the consulate in response to an inflammatory anti-Muslim movie disseminated on the internet, but the fact that the assailants were heavily armed suggests that they used the protests as a cover to target Stevens. Analysts also noted that al Qaeda the previous day had posted a video of leader Ayman al-Zawahiri calling for Libyans to avenge the drone strike killing of Abu Yahya al-Libi, his Libyan deputy. However, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor warned that it would "be premature to ascribe any motive to this reprehensible act."
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