The intrigue surrounding September 11, 2011, in Benghazi is not going away.
CNN’s Jake Tapper reports that two CIA contractors present at the Benghazi attacks on September 11, 2012 have called a recent House Intelligence Committee report on the subject “full of inaccuracies.”
John Tiegen and Kris Paronto, two contractors who were eyewitnesses to the attack, have issued a statement detailing 13 inaccuracies they found in the House’s report.
According to Paronto, one of the most serious issues related to the attack was the delay between the State Department building being attacked by a Libyan mob and the response from CIA personnel to provide additional security.
The CIA contractors assert that the delay, which lasted at least 27 minutes according to Paronto despite the CIA annex being located only 1.2 miles away, “was a severe military tactical mistake made by leadership figures who had little to no military training or experience in combat operations, and the delay cost the lives of Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith due to them dying from smoke inhalation — something that takes time.”
This delay, according to the contractors, was the result of how the CIA chief of base mishandled the situation and hindered in the rescue attempts.
According to the House report, no security officer was ever given an order to stand-down or told to not prepare to aid in the rescue effort.
However, CIA contractors have called that “grossly inaccurate.” Paronto said during his hearing that he was delayed and told to wait to provide security for the State Department building twice. During that time, he heard Tiegen be told to “stand down.”
That account jibes with the timeline from the evening.
Furthermore, the CIA contractors told CNN that the CIA staff had known for approximately two weeks prior to the attack that a possible incident was likely. The contractors noted that after having received a be on the lookout report that “the operators moved their body armour, long guns, ammunition, night-vision goggles, and other tactical gear into their bedrooms, so they could more quickly ‘jock up,’ as they called preparing for battle.”
Tiegen and Paronto have written a book “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi,” concerning their accounts of the Benghazi incident.
Tapper notes that the House Intelligence Committee report asserts that the “CIA did not intimidate or prevent any officer from speaking to Congress or otherwise telling his story.”
Nevertheless, these two CIA contractors are clearly determined to set the record straight.
“We have continually attempted to take the ‘high road’ and not delve into the political weeds, until we were once again called liars by the same government we had sworn to protect,” Tiegen and Paronto stated to CNN. “We never did what we did that night into the following morning to support agendas, political parties or presidencies. We did what we did that night to save the lives of fellow Americans and defend American soil. We disobeyed orders and went to help the DS agents and our friends because they were under attack by terrorists and were on the brink of death. Now it’s our turn once again to set the record straight, show integrity and tell the truth. It’s a pity though that the truth is something that’s not very popular in today’s society.”
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