Details about the controversial statement issued Tuesday from the Cairo embassy have emerged, and it appears a PR staffer is responsible.
, citing an anonymous official, said a senior public affairs officer wrote the statement and follow-up tweets supporting it.
The statement read:
“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.”
According to Foreign Policy
, officials in Cairo sent a draft of the communiqué to the State Department, which told the authors to either revise or not publish.
The embassy issued it anyway and continued to buttress its argument with tweets, some of which were later deleted. The statement was issued before
the U.S. mission in Benghazi was attacked and Americans—including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens—were killed by armed militants.
The PR officer who wrote the statement and tweets has not been disciplined and remains the chief public affairs staffer in Cairo, according to Foreign Policy
Mitt Romney seized on the press release, making it the centerpiece of an attack on the Obama administration’s approach to foreign policy
. In a press release issued late Tuesday, Romney characterized the statement as the Obama administration’s “sympathy” toward attackers and called it “disgraceful.”
Romney’s remarks drew rebukes from pundits on both political spectrums. For instance, Peggy Noonan, a former speechwriter to President Ronald Reagan, told Fox News
that Romney “hasn’t been doing himself any favors.”