WASHINGTON, Sept 10 (Reuters) - The White House on Tuesday said it had ordered heightened security of U.S. facilities abroad on the Sept. 11 anniversary, citing the attack that killed four U.S. government employees in Benghazi, Libya, last year.

"The president's national security team is taking measures to prevent 9/11 related attacks and to ensure the protection of U.S. persons and facilities abroad," the White House said in a statement.

President Barack Obama's counterterrorism aide Lisa Monaco has been in charge of reviewing security measures in place for the anniversary, the White House said.

Four Americans including the U.S. ambassador to Libya were killed in an attack on a compound in Benghazi a year ago. The administration initially said the assault grew out of anti-Western protests.

Later, however, it turned out that Islamist extremists launched the attack on the Sept. 11 anniversary. The administration was forced for months to defend its handling of the events at Benghazi, with critics charging officials deliberately played down the nature of the attack to protect the president's re-election bid.

The White House said its first reports were based on incomplete information.

"The events of last year, losing four brave Americans - Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods - brought home the reality of the challenges we face in the world," the White House said. (Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • A burnt out vehicle sits smoldering in flames after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi, late on September 11, 2012. (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A broken window after an attack on the U.S. Consulate by protesters in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • The U.S. Consulate after an attack by protesters in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • A burnt car is seen after an attack on the U.S. Consulate by protesters in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • Soot and debris spills out of the U.S. Consulate after an attack by protesters in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • A man looks at documents at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. The graffiti reads, "no God but God," " God is great," and "Muhammad is the Prophet." (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • A man walks on the grounds of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • Glass, debris and overturned furniture are strewn inside a room in the gutted U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • A man walks through a room in the gutted U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • Libyans walk on the grounds of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • Libyans walk on the grounds of the gutted U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

  • A vehicle and the surrounding area are engulfed in flames after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi, late on September 11, 2012. (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

  • An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi, late on September 11, 2012. (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A vehicle burns after it was set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012. (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A vehicle sits smoldering in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012. (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A vehicle and surrounding buildings smolder after they were set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi, late on September 11, 2012. (STR/AFP/GettyImages)

  • LIBYA CONSULATE

    Map locates Benghazi, Libya, where the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in an attack