Benghazi team confirms getting stand-down orders

11 Sep

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Sep. 11, 2014 @ 06:51 AM

Two years ago today, on the evening of Sept. 11, 2012, Islamic militants attacked the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Despite the obvious desires of the Obama administration and progressives for this tragic event to just “go away,” a few American heroes are working fervently to keep it alive.

Three members of a U.S. security team present during the Benghazi attack have now revealed they were indeed held back from immediately responding to the aid of Ambassador Stevens and information officer Sean Smith by a top CIA officer on the complex.

Prior to the release of their new book, “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi,” security contractors Kris (“Tanto”) Paronto, Mark (“Oz”) Geist and John (“Tig”) Teigen spoke candidly about the tragic events in an exclusive interview with Fox News’ Brett Baier.

Paronto, a former Army Ranger, said the team was ready to move within five minutes of hearing news of the attack just before 9:30 p.m., but were held back by the CIA base chief, whom they only refer to as “Bob.” “Five minutes, we’re ready,” said Paronto. “It was thumbs up, thumbs up, we’re ready to go.” “It had probably been 15 minutes I think, and … I just said, ‘Hey, you know, we gotta – we need to get over there, we’re losing the initiative,” Tiegen said. “And Bob just looks straight at me and said, ‘Stand down, you need to wait.'” Paronto said the security team was getting calls from the State Department employees begging for help, until finally the team defied orders and headed to the complex nearly 30 minutes later. Despite repeated requests for air support, it never came.

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When asked if the ambassador and Smith would still be alive without the delay, the security team all agreed. Yes, they would still be alive.

“Ambassador Stevens and Sean, yeah, they would still be alive, my gut is yes,” Paronto said.

In a statement to Fox News, a senior intelligence official insisted that “There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support.” Brett Baier asked the men about the denial.

“You use the words ‘stand down,’ ” Baier noted. “A number of people now, including the House Intelligence Committee, insist no one was hindered from responding to the situation at the compound … so what do you say to that?” “No, it happened,” said Tiegen.

“It happened on the ground – all I can talk about is what happened on the ground that night,” added Paronto. “To us. To myself, twice, and to Tig, once. It happened that night. We were told to wait, stand – and stand down. We were delayed three times.” So why were these men ordered to stand down and why did this administration blatantly lie to Americans for so long?

President Obama has consistently avoided labeling Islamic violence against the U.S. as terrorism. Why?

In the face of terrorist threats from possibly the most ruthless group of radical Islamists the U.S. has ever faced – ISIS – Americans deserve to know.

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Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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