Earlier Tuesday as protests grew in Cairo, the US embassy there tweeted that “Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of our democracy.” Later, it tweeted “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.” That tweet has now been deleted, as has a follow-up tweet: “This morning’s condemnation (issued before protest began) still stands. As does our condemnation of unjustified breach of the Embassy.”
Unfortunately for the tweet deleters, it’s not difficult to get screenshots of deleted tweets. Here are screenshots of both.
The question now is, did @USEmbassyCairo delete the tweets on its own, or on orders from Washington?
Update: The deletes just keep on comin’.
Update: The US embassy had to take the tweets down once the Obama administration disavowed their statements.
“The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government,” an administration official told POLITICO.
It took them about 17 hours to take this action.
Update: Now the US State Department comes out with a statement condemning the Benghazi attack, but saying nothing about Cairo. The statement echoes, then condemns, the earlier @USEmbassyCairo tweets. What. A. Mess.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
September 11, 2012
I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today. As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who have suffered in this attack.
This evening, I called Libyan President Magariaf to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya. President Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government’s full cooperation.
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.
In light of the events of today, the United States government is working with partner countries around the world to protect our personnel, our missions, and American citizens worldwide.