While the Obama administration initially declared the Sept. 11 attacks in Libya a "spontaneous" attack incited by a YouTube video, the American people think the attack was pre-planned by terrorists, according to Rasmussen Reports.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57 percent of Likely U.S. Voters feel that the recent embassy protests largely have been planned in advance. Just 23 percent think they were spontaneous reactions to the anti-Islamic video. Nineteen percent (19 percent) are not sure.
Eighty-five percent (85 percent) of all voters believe it is likely that terrorists were involved in the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya, with 65 percent who think it is Very Likely. Just six percent (6 percent) say terrorist involvement in the ambassador’s murder is not very or Not At All Likely.
The percentage of those who think the attack was pre-planned is even higher among those who have served in the military. Sixty-seven percent of military veterans think that the attack was pre-planned, as opposed to 54 percent of civilians.
The Obama administration has insisted that the Middle East protests, which began on September 11, the day the U.S. ambassador to Libya was murdered, are not directed against the U.S. government but are largely due to the anti-Islamic video. The government last week spent $70,000 in Pakistan to run a television ad featuring President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denouncing the video in hopes of limiting protests there.
Many Americans sense a tension between American values and attempts to mollify the hurt "religious feelings" of Muslims.
"(Seventy-two percent) of U.S. voters believe it is more important for the United States to guarantee freedom of speech [than] it is for America to make sure that nothing is done to offend other nations and cultures," Rasmussen wrote.
The survey was conducted from September 21 to 22 and has a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points.