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Benghazi security team breaks silence - claim they WERE ordered to 'stand down'
Non-story back in news
Next week marks the 2 year anniversary of the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. According to the administration, this "non-story” is all over, there was no scandal, there were no lies about a Youtube video, and - most importantly - there was never any sort of "stand down order." Enter Kris Paronto, Mark Geist, and John Tiegen. These three men were former special ops commandos hired as part of the CIA security security team stationed in Benghazi the night of the attacks. They recently spoke with Fox News - breaking their silence for the first time - and they're challenging the official story regarding the administration's claim that no one was ordered to stand down.
"Was help delayed?" Bret Baier asked.
“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.
Baier pointed out that virtually everyone in the administration and on the House Intelligence Committee has denied that there was any delay or stand down order. But the men stuck to their story.
“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 that ground that night,” added Paronto. “To us. To myself, twice, and to-- to Tig, once. It happened that night. We were told to wait, stand-- and stand down. We were delayed three times.”
The men believe that, if they'd been allowed to launch a rescue when they first requested permission, they could have saved Ambassador Chris Stevens and Information Officer Sean Smith.
A preview of the interview appears below. The whole report airs tonight.