The fact that the deadly attack in France targeted journalists, and was an attack on the free press, underscores the degree to which the terrorists involved fear freedom of speech and freedom of the press, US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday.
In remarks in the Oval Office where he was to meet with Secretary of State John Kerry, Obama said he was very confident "that the values that we share with the French people -- a universal belief in the freedom of expression -- is something that cannot be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few." US counter-terrorism cooperation with France is excellent, the President said.
"We will provide them with every bit of assistance that we can going forward," he said. "I think it is going to be important for us to make sure that we recognize these kinds of attacks can happen anywhere in the world. And one of the things I will be discussing with Secretary Kerry today is to make sure that we remain vigilant not just with respect to Americans living in Paris, but Americans living in Europe and in the Middle East and other parts of the world, and making sure that we stay vigilant in trying to protect them -- and to hunt down and bring the perpetrators of this specific act to justice, and to roll up the networks that help to advance these kinds of plots." Obama said he had reached out to President Francois Hollande of France and hopes to talk to him later in the day.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have been lost in France, and with the people of Paris and the people of France," Obama said. "What that beautiful city represents -- the culture and the civilization that is so central to our imaginations -- that is going to endure. And those who carry out senseless attacks against innocent civilians, ultimately they will be forgotten. And we will stand with the people of France through this very, very difficult time".