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Benghazi attack: Why the White House changed its story

President Obama had to reassess his view of what caused the attack in Libya that killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, raising questions about whether the White House has a solid grasp on the angry convulsions rocking the Middle East.

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Women supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah take part in a protest against a film made in the U.S. that mocks the Prophet Mohammad, in the southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil on Saturday.

Ali Hashisho/REUTERS

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President Obama has been forced to reassess his view of what caused the attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, raising questions about whether the White House has a solid grasp on the underpinnings of the angry convulsions rocking the Middle East and the impact of the so-called “Cairo doctrine” laid out by Obama shortly after he took office in 2009.

The White House initially laid the blame for the attack, as well as dozens of other protests that continue to roil the Mideast, on a YouTube clip from a movie called “The Innocence of Muslims” insulting of the Prophet Mohammed. White House spokesman Jay Carney first said the attack came “in response to … a film that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.”

But this week, Mr. Carney changed the White House position and called the killing of Ambassador Stevens and three more diplomatic personnel a “terrorist attack.” In a TV interview Friday, Obama added that radical Libyan factions had used the movie as an “excuse” for a sophisticated incursion.

IN PICTURES: Anger across the Muslim world

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