WASHINGTON - The White House on Tuesday remembered four Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, who were killed in an attack in Benghazi a year ago.
On the eve of the anniversary of the attack, and of the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the White House updated Americans on security measures put in place to secure U.S. assets and interests worldwide.
White House spokesman Jay Carney pointedly remembered the Benghazi attack a year ago, which sparked a political furor and Republican claims of a White House cover up.
"The events of last year, losing four brave Americans -- Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods -- brought home the reality of the challenges we face in the world," Carney said in a written statement.
"As we near this day of remembrance, we continue to mourn the death of our cherished colleagues and honor their dedication to public service."
"We remain committed to bringing the perpetrators of the Benghazi attacks to justice and to ensuring the safety of our brave personnel serving overseas."
Republicans claim that President Barack Obama deliberately downplayed the attack on U.S. diplomatic premises in Benghazi because it contradicted his election-year narrative that Al-Qaeda was on the run.
The sacking of the U.S. consulate was initially described by U.S. officials as a reaction to an anti-Muslim video aired in the United States which triggered protests across the Arab world.
But it was later revealed that some of those behind the assault had links to organized extremists.
Carney also said in the statement that Obama met senior officials Tuesday to review worldwide security measures for the 9/11 anniversary.
"The President's National Security team is taking measures to prevent 9/11 related attacks and to ensure the protection of U.S. persons and facilities abroad," the statement said.
"The President reiterated that protecting the American people, both at home and abroad, is the administration's top national security priority."
Obama will mark the moment the first hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center's twin towers in New York in 2001 on Wednesday with a moment of silence at the White House.
Then he will travel to the Pentagon, which was also hit by a hijacked airliner, for an observance ceremony.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013