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Sept. 14, 2012: Jay Carney, White House press spokesman:
We also need to understand that this is a fairly volatile situation and it is in response not to United States policy, not to obviously the administration, not to the American people. It is in response to a video, a film that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting. That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it, but this is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive to Muslims.
Sept. 14, 2012: Bill Press, radio host:
What, if anything, should happen to the people who made this video? I gotta tell you, I think they are as guilty, that's my opinion, I think they are as guilty as the terrorists who carried out those attacks against our embassy in Libya. Look, we don't know everybody who was involved, but we've seen, I've seen some of them on television. This is a group of extremist, Muslim-hating, so-called Christians in southern California who are using their religion to stir up hatred against Islam. They're basing this on their Christian beliefs. They are, I believe, every bit as guilty as al Qaeda members who, think about it, who use the Koran and abuse their religion to stir up hatred against the United States. [...]
I think we...ought to be identifying the people who made this video and go after them with the full force of the law and lock their ass up.
Sept. 14, 2012: Anthea Butler:
The "free speech" in Bacile's film is not about expressing a personal opinion about Islam. It denigrates the religion by depicting the faith's founder in several ludicrous and historically inaccurate scenes to incite and inflame viewers. [...]
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Jones on Wednesday to ask him to stop promoting Bacile's film. Clearly, the military considers the film a serious threat to national security. If the military takes it seriously, there should be consequences for putting American lives at risk.
While the First Amendment right to free expression is important, it is also important to remember that other countries and cultures do not have to understand or respect our right.
Sept. 16, 2012: Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations:
[B]ased on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what - it began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo, where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video. [...]
[T]his is a spontaneous reaction to a video, and it’s not dissimilar but, perhaps, on a slightly larger scale than what we have seen in the past with The Satanic Verses with the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Sept. 18, 2012: Sarah Chayes, former special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
While many 1st Amendment scholars defend the right of the filmmakers to produce this film, arguing that the ensuing violence was not sufficiently imminent, I spoke to several experts who said the trailer may well fall outside constitutional guarantees of free speech. "Based on my understanding of the events," 1st Amendment authority Anthony Lewis said in an interview Thursday, "I think this meets the imminence standard."
Finally, much 1st Amendment jurisprudence concerns speech explicitly advocating violence, such as calls to resist arrest, or videos explaining bomb-making techniques. But words don't have to urge people to commit violence in order to be subject to limits, says Lewis. "If the result is violence, and that violence was intended, then it meets the standard."