"Our belief, based on the information we have, is it was the video that caused the unrest in Cairo, and the video and the unrest in Cairo that helped -- that precipitated some of the unrest in Benghazi and elsewhere. What other factors were involved is a matter of investigation."
September 19 -- Jay Carney
"It is a simple fact that there are, in post-revolution, postwar Libya, armed groups, there are bad actors hostile to the government, hostile to the West, hostile to the United States. And as has been the case in other countries in the region, it is certainly conceivable that these groups take advantage of and exploit situations that develop, when they develop, to protest against or attack either Westerners, Americans, Western sites or American sites. ... Right now, I'm saying we don't have evidence at this point that this was premeditated or preplanned to coincide on a -- to happen on a specific date or coincide with that anniversary."
September 19 -- Matthew Olson, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, responding to a question by Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman on whether Benghazi was a terrorist attack
"They were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy. ... At this point, what I would say is that a number of different elements appear to have been involved in the attack, including individuals connected to militant groups that are prevalent in eastern Libya, particularly the Benghazi area, as well we are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al Qaeda or al Qaeda affiliates, in particular al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb." Olson also said U.S. officials had no "specific evidence of significant advanced planning."
September 20 -- Jay Carney
"It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials."
September 20 -- President Obama at a town hall meeting organized by the Spanish-language Univision Network, responding to a question about the possible involvement of al Qaeda
"What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests."
September 21 -- Hillary Clinton
"What happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack and we will not rest until we have tracked down and brought to justice the terrorists who murdered four Americans."
September 25 -- President Obama on ABC's "The View," in response to interviewer Joy Behar's question, "I heard Hillary Clinton say it was an act of terrorism. Is it? What do you say?"
"We're still doing an investigation. There's no doubt that (with) the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn't just a mob action. We don't have all the information yet, so we're still gathering it. But what's clear is that around the world, there's still a lot of threats out there." Obama also said "extremist militias" were suspected to have been involved.
September 26 -- Hillary Clinton
"What is happening inside Mali is augmented by the rising threat from violent extremism across the region. For some time, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other groups have launched attacks and kidnappings from northern Mali into neighboring countries. Now, with a larger safe haven and increased freedom to maneuver, terrorists are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions. And they are working with other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions under way in North Africa, as we tragically saw in Benghazi."
September 27 -- Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
"It was a terrorist attack. ... As we determined the details of what took place there and how that attack took place, it became clear that there were terrorists who had planned that attack."
September 27 -- A senior U.S. official tells CNN that it became clear within about a day of the Benghazi attack that it been the work of terrorists
Separately, CNN National Security Analyst Fran Townsend reports that a law enforcement source told her that "from day one, we had known clearly that this was a terrorist attack."
September 28 -- Statement by Shawn Turner, spokesman for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
"In the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. We provided that initial assessment to executive branch officials and members of Congress, who used that information to discuss the attack publicly and provide updates as they became available. Throughout our investigation, we continued to emphasize that information gathered was preliminary and evolving. As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists."
October 1 -- Nuland, in response to calls from Rep. Peter King, R-California, for Rice to resign because her remarks about the attack were, according to him, misleading
"Well, let me start by saying that Secretary Clinton believes that Ambassador Rice has done a superb job. So let's just start there, and we completely reject any such calls here in this building."
October 1 -- Nuland, responding to a question about whether officials in Libya had sought additional security for diplomatic installations and personnel there
"I think it's fair to say that we are still working through what we have in this building in terms of documentation, in terms of information about what we knew, who knew it, when they knew it, and that's part of the process that we have to go through."