CIA Spokesman Slams ‘13 Hours’ as ‘Distortion’ of Benghazi Events
Ted Johnson, Senior Editor | January 15, 2016 | 04:31PM PT
A spokesman for the CIA is criticizing the Michael Bay movie “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” as a “distortion of the events and people who served in Benghazi that night.”
The spokesman, Ryan Trapani, was quoted in an exclusive Washington Post story, which also features an interview with the CIA chief in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, when Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed in a siege of the diplomatic compound and attack on the CIA annex.
“No one will mistake this movie for a documentary,” Tripani told the Post. “It’s a distortion of the events and people who served in Benghazi that night. It’s shameful that, in order to highlight the heroism of some, those responsible for the movie felt the need to denigrate the courage of other Americans who served in harm’s way.”
Tripani did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The CIA base chief, identified only as “Bob,” takes issue with a key point in the movie, when he tells the six contractors to “stand down” before responding to calls for help at the nearby diplomatic compound. The movie shows the contractors waiting for more than 20 minutes before bucking orders and leaving to try to save Stevens and others.
“There was never a stand-down order,” the CIA chief told the Post. “At no time did I ever second-guess that the team would depart.” The CIA chief told the Post that he spent about 20 minutes trying to enlist local security teams.
Well, of course the CIA would state that there was never any stand-down order; if such an order was given, no one in the Administration would ever, ever admit it.
Zuckoff told Variety on Thursday, “We have never heard anything from the CIA other than, ‘No [the stand-down order] didn’t happen.’ These guys [the security contractors] are putting their lives and their reputations on the line saying, ‘We were forced to wait,and the record shows it.’”
In interviews, the contractors have been adamant that the “stand down” order was issued. Earlier this week, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said in an interview with the Boston Herald that when it comes to the stand down order, “there are witnesses who said there was one and there are witnesses who said there was not one… So the best I can do is lay out what the witnesses say and then you are going to have to make a determination as to who you believe is more credible.”
There’s a bit more in the original. I have yet to see the movie — heck, I haven’t even seen the new Star Wars movie yet! — but Robert Stacey Stacy McCain loved it, concluding:
The media know the truth — all of the essential facts have actually been reported — but the full story of incompetent Obama/Clinton policy blunders that led up to Benghazi, and which also resulted in the rise of ISIS, has never gotten the kind of sustained coverage that CNN typically devotes to “white cop kills teenage black criminal” stories.
Our national media have sold their souls to the Democrat Party. Their news coverage is determined by political calculations. The editors, producers and reporters are all Democrats who never miss an opportunity to promote partisan propaganda. They are hired liars.
And, of course, the professional media would never, ever, publish or broadcast anything which could harm the presidential prospects of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Was a stand-down order issued? Did the political leadership hesitate when prompt action might have saved Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty? We don’t know that such an order was issued, but we do know that American forces which might have helped were never dispatched. It was claimed that there was no plan of action available, but when your forces are several hours away, you move them closer while developing such a plan. Events might force a recall, but without getting forces closer to the problem, no rescue action could have been taken. The failure to get available forces on the way in the first place was the same as a stand-down order!
The late professor Vincent Davis, then-Director of the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky, once said, in a class I took, that if someone has the power to take an action, and chooses not to do so, he has taken an action nevertheless.¹ The failure to get troops on the way was a decision which meant that no action could be taken by anyone other than personnel already in Benghazi. Whether such forces could have done anything by the time they arrived had they been deployed is unknowable, but we do know that they couldn’t do anything if they were not there.
The Obama Administration and the Clinton campaign are, and always have been, very determined to sweep any information, and even any discussion, about the Benghazi attacks as far under the rug as they could. I have absolutely no doubt that any further comment by anyone still under the command of President Obama will continue to state that there was no stand-down order. But what cannot be swept under the rug is the fact that, stand down order or not, the United States under President Obama, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, then-Secretary Clinton, and then-CIA Director David Petreaus — the principle decision-takers at hand for the crisis — failed to take any action which could have saved more lives.
Cross posted on The First Street Journal.
¹ – While I certainly do not possess an eidetic memory, a few old collegiate lessons remain with me these several decades later, and that is one of them.