The anti-Islam film that sparked violent protests in several Muslim countries had "nothing to do with the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi earlier this month," Libya's president Mohammed Magarief told NBC's Ann Curry on Wednesday.
Magarief said he believes the attack -- which killed four Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens -- was "a pre-planned act of terrorism" that had been planned to coincide with the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
The Libyan president's comments contradict statements made 10 days ago by Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Rice told Fox News on Sept. 16 that "[w]hat sparked the violence was a very hateful video on the Internet."
"It was a reaction to a video that had nothing to do with the United States," she added.
She also stressed that "the best information and the best assessment we have today" is that the attack was not "preplanned," but “spontaneous.”
The Obama administration has maintained that the attack on the consulate in Benghazi wasn't premeditated.
Yet Magarief tells a different story. The Libyan president has reiterated several times since the tragedy that the attack was planned in advance and was not a reaction to the YouTube video "Innocence of Muslims."
"The idea that this criminal and cowardly act was a spontaneous protest that just spun out of control is completely unfounded and preposterous," Magarief told NPR earlier this month. "We firmly believe that this was a pre-calculated, pre-planned attack that was carried out specifically to attack the U.S. Consulate."
After the attack occurred, Magarief apologized to the United States on behalf of the Libyan people.
"We consider the United States as a friend, not only a friend, a strong friend, who stood with us in our moment of need," he told NBC News.
Clarification: This post has been amended for clarity. Susan Rice told Fox News that the administration’s "best assessment" of the attack at the time of the interview was that it had not been premeditated.
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