By Carlo Muñoz - 09/27/12 09:05 PM EDT
Martin Dempsey and Pakistani army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani planned to discuss options on how to root out the various terrorist organizations operating in Afghanistan, such as the Haqqani Network, while seeking sanctuary within Pakistan's borders.
"I was originally planned to go to Pakistan to meet with General Kayani, and because of some of the issues related to that film, he and I discussed postponing that visit," according to the four-star general.
The trailer for a supposed feature-length film, "Innocence of Muslims," has been viewed by many as the cause for a deadly raid by Libyan nationals against the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi as well as a violent protest against the American Embassy in Cairo.
Four Americans were killed and three wounded in the ensuing firefight between consulate security forces and Libyan attackers in Benghazi. Among the dead was U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Shortly after the attacks, Dempsey personally requested controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones to pull his support for the film, citing "the tensions it will inflame and the violence it will cause" against Americans in the Mideast.
Congressional Republicans have hammered the administration for blaming the film as the cause for the growing unrest in North Africa and the Mideast or the deadly attack in Benghazi.
"It's not [about] the video," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters after being briefed by officials from the State and Defense departments, as well as top members of the intelligence community.
The recent uprisings in the Muslim world, particularly the Benghazi raid, were directly tied to the administration's mishandling of the post-Arab Spring movement in the region.
To that end, high-level administration officials including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have suggested the consulate attack was a planned terrorist strike, and not a spontaneous protest against the film.
Earlier this month, White House officials claimed the attack was the result of a protest that spiraled violently out of control.
While no date has been set to reschedule the meeting with Kayani, Dempsey noted a continued dialogue with Islamabad on the future of Afghanistan will be key to maintaining security in that country and across the region.
"I have always believed that the outcome in Afghanistan will clearly have [to] include some resolution of the groups that operate out of western Pakistan," he said.