U.S. Security Team Members: Top CIA Officer Delayed Response to Benghazi Terrorist Attack

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A U.S. security team in Benghazi was held back from immediately responding to the attack on the American diplomatic mission on orders of the top CIA officer there, three of those involved told Fox News’ Bret Baier.

Their account gives a dramatic new turn to what the Obama administration and its allies would like to dismiss as an “old story” – the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

“I strongly believe if we’d left immediately, they’d still be alive today.”

Speaking out publicly for the first time, the three were security operators at the secret CIA annex in Benghazi – in effect, the first-responders to any attack on the diplomatic compound. Their first-hand account will be told in a Fox News special, airing Friday night at 10 p.m. (EDT).

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“We were told to wait, stand– and stand down.  We were delayed three times.”

Based on the new book “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi” by Mitchell Zuckoff with the Annex Security Team, the special sets aside the political spin that has freighted the Benghazi issue for the last two years, presenting a vivid, compelling narrative of events from the perspective of the men who wore the “boots on the ground.”

The security contractors — Kris (“Tanto”) Paronto,  Mark (“Oz”) Geist, and John (“Tig”) Tiegen — spoke exclusively, and at length, to Fox News about what they saw and did that night. Baier, Fox News’ Chief Political Anchor, asked them about one of the most controversial questions arising from the events in 13-hoursBenghazi: Was help delayed?

[13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi” is available at Amazon.com]

Word of the attack on the diplomatic compound reached the CIA annex just after 9:30 p.m. Within five minutes, the security team at the annex was geared up for battle, and ready to move to the compound, a mile away.

“Five minutes, we’re ready,” said Paronto, a former Army Ranger. “It was thumbs up, thumbs up, we’re ready to go.”

But the team was held back. According to the security operators, they were delayed from responding to the attack by the top CIA officer in Benghazi, whom they refer to only as “Bob.”

“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,’” said Tiegen. “And Bob just looks straight at me and said, ‘Stand down, you need to wait.’”

“We’re starting to get calls from the State Department guys saying, ‘Hey, we’re taking fire, we need you guys here, we need help,’” said Paronto.

After a delay of nearly 30 minutes, the security team headed to the besieged consulate without orders. They asked their CIA superiors to call for armed air support, which never came…(read more)

Fox News



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