Updated at 11:50 a.m. ET
(CBS News) President Obama on Wednesday morning said that the United States will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the attackers who killed four Americans in Libya overnight, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens.
"We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice will be done," Mr. Obama said from the White House rose garden. "Make no mistake, justice will be done."
Stevens and three other Americans were killed in an attack by Muslim protesters on the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi, the U.S. government confirmed Wednesday.
Mr. Obama said he has ordered heightened security at all U.S. diplomatic offices around the world in the wake of the attack, as well as protests in Cairo on Tuesday. Both incidents were sparked by hardline Muslims protesting a film made in the U.S. that insults the Muslim prophet Muhammad.The United States, the president said, is "a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others." However, he added, "There is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts."
Mr. Obama said that many Libyans have already joined the U.S. in condemning the violence and noted that Libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside Americans. Libyans also helped some American diplomats find safety and carried Stevens' body to the hospital where he died.
"This attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya," Mr. Obama said.
In separate remarks at the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated the administration's assertion that its relations with Libya will remain stable.
"The friendship between our countries, born out of shared struggle, will not be another casualty of this attack," she said. "A free and stable Libya is still in America's interests and security, and we will not turn our backs on that."
The secretary said she spoke with the president of Libya Tuesday night and that he strongly condemned the violence and pledged "every effort" to protect U.S. citizens and pursue the attackers."This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya," she said. "Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners."
Clinton said the attack, in a city that the U.S. helped liberate, "reflects just how complicated and at times how confounding the world can be."
Mr. Obama hailed Stevens for his leadership in Libya, where he built partnerships with Libyan revolutionaries "with characteristic skill, courage and resolve." He led the diplomatic post in Benghazi during the height of the height of the revolution and served as ambassador after the Qaddafi regime came to an end.
"I think both Secretary Clinton and I have relied deeply on his knowledge of the situation on the ground there," Mr. Obama said.
Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith and the other two Americans killed in the attack -- who remain unnamed while officials notify their next of kin -- "represent the very best of the United States of America," the president said.
He noted that Tuesday was already a painful day for America, as the nation marked the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"As Americans let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases lay down their lives for it," Mr. Obama said. "Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those, both civilian and military, who represent us around the globe."