“I think it’s not good enough to say it’s free speech, it should be allowed. I think if this does provoke action against American citizens or Americans anywhere else in the world then maybe we do need to think how much freedom is OK.”
In a separate move, the US embassy in Islamabad also put together a YouTube video of ordinary Americans condemning the inflammatory film.
Nuland said the idea came from other embassies who said that despite the high-level denunciations, many people “still think that the American people harbour this negative view of Islam.”
They had asked for “more video of some of these Americans and particularly religious leaders who are standing up and saying this isn’t us, this isn’t who we are,” she said.
Neither move seemed to have borne fruit on Thursday as thousands of protesters clashed with police close to Islamabad’s diplomatic enclave in chaotic scenes that left at least 50 people injured.
And Nuland agreed the department would have to look at the effectiveness of its outreach.
“Something that we’ll have to look at is what means did we use to make sure that publics around the world understood where the US government stands, and were those effective,” she said.
The ad shows clips taken from speeches by Clinton and Obama since the violence flared last week in some 20 countries, including in Libya, where the US ambassador was among four Americans killed.
A senior official said some Pakistani stations had carried the ad free of charge, while others used it as a paid public service announcement and labelled it as “paid content.”