I’ve decided it is time to give you a break from the Yellowstone pictures. The new year brought a renewed interest in getting through my ever growing reading backlog. First book out of the gates comes at a perfect time as are country is in of the midst of assessing the integrity of politicians competing for the White House. Obviously integrity wasn’t a criteria in the previous two elections, but one can only hope people will do the diligence expected out of participants in one of the greatest rights (and duties) we have living in a democracy. Against the liberal media’s best attempts, the story of Benghazi made it to print and even a recently released movie. 13 Hours by Mitchell Zuckoff is the account from the heroes that took matters into their own hands to defend their countrymen from an attack at our US Outpost in Benghazi, Libya. Specifically it is the account of Mark “Oz” Geist, Kris “Tanto” Paronto, John “Tig” Tigen, Tyron “Rone” Woods, Jack Silva. Dave “DB” Benton, Glen “Bob” Doherty, David Ubben and Scott Wickland who came to the aid of the outpost while it was being attacked and then eventually the attack on the CIA Annex. Rone, Doherty and IT expert Sean Smith gave the ultimate sacrifice that night while politicians schemed against and lied to the American people. It was bad enough with what little came out in the news at the time, but downright disgusting after reading this account. Hillary so famously quipped “What difference does it make” when questioned on Capitol Hill. I only wish they would have allowed the family of those three killed to answer… to answer why it matters that a politician decided it was more important to lie to the American people as to the cause of the attack … of course, the media failed to latch on to that little tidbit on the basis she told her daughter the real story that night.
From a book perspective, I thought as a whole it did not live up to the other military books I’ve read in the past. When you read Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell or any of the Dick Couch books on the special forces, you get the feeling you are there with the subjects of the book, feeling what they feel, assessing the same inputs and wondering what you would have done in a similar situation. The first part of the book is filled with odd tangential statements that felt more like filler than message carriers. This feeling carried for about 2/3rds of the way through the book at which point our heroes made their way back to the Annex. There was actually very little about Ambassador Stevens due to them losing contact with him in the burning safe haven. Even the tragic death of Sean that night was handled in a subdued manner – again.. the narrative just didn’t bring me into the situation well. This changed when the story made its way to the Annex conflict where Rone and Doherty lost their lives and Oz was badly injured. I was not aware of the details of the Annex, so Mitchell brought me up to speed on that – even on the whole “stand-down” concept which everyone stateside has been trying to deny. Call it what you want.. they were ready to help, they were in the car to head into harm’s way and they were told to wait to the breaking point when they opted to take decision making into their own hands. The other scary part of the recount was the 17 February Brigade – from what I can tell a local militia that was contracted to provide security for the Compound. I do not recall whose brilliant idea that was, but it was clear the heroes did not trust them, nor could they readily tell them apart from the terrorists that were attacking them – a dangerous combination for sure!
Most of the pictures didn’t really add much to the book, with the exception of one picture of Stevens’ body being hauled out of the burning build – truly haunting. All said, see the movie or read the book. You owe it to yourself and to the CIA operatives, security protection agents and others whose lives were forever changed that night – some giving the ultimate sacrifice and others suffering physical and emotional debt.
Hit the jump to see what I took away from the read!
- I originally thought the heroes of Benghazi were current SEALs – they were actually CIA Operatives (some were former SEALs)
- The Annex housed 20 Americans
- CIA’s Global Response Staff – a quick reaction force if anyone in Annex or Compound were in danger
- Wickland and Ubben had repeatedly requested more Diplomatic Security personnel for the compound due to being short staff – of course those were denied
- March 2011, Stevens became US Special Representative to Libyan Transitional National Council – an anti-Gaddafi rebel political front
- Stevens admitted in Dec 2011 was collecting shoulder launched anti-aircraft missiles – I personally read that as gun-running. In a recent interview with the heroes, Hannity asked what happened to the crates of missiles at the compound – their response – don’t know, but they were not there when they left the compound that night
- Benghazi was never a an embassy or consulate – only a temp residential outpost for American envoys and their protection force – this meant the security standards mandated by Congress for embassies and consulates, therefore, did not apply. Out of curiosity, I wonder if it is easier to gun-run from a location if it isn’t called a real embassy?
- Stevens asked the State Dept in June if he could keep two Mobile Security Detachment teams through the election cycle (which included Sept) – DENIED
- DS agent had signaled that armed attackers were entering the Compound. The State Dept Diplomatic Security Command Center alerted the White House Situation Room , the Director of National Intelligence and the FBI. Pentagon notified the Office of Secretary of Defense where it was filtered down to the Defense Secretary himself (Panetta) and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff (Dempsey) who was to meet with the president at 11pm Benghazi time. Panetta told congressional committee Obama told them to respond with all available DOD assets – doesn’t appear to be any other communication past that point – strange no one from the WH will give an explanation for that – wuz somebody sleeeeepy?
- There was a 7 man force available in Tripoli which included two active duty Delta Force operators (one was Bub Doherty)
- Tig almost shot Ubben up with a belt fed machine gun before recognizing him in the car that had just entered the compound. Seems to be a communication breakdown from the boots on the ground and the newly arriving Ubben.
- Before they escaped out of the Compound they were being shelled with rocket-propelled grenades – I’ve heard these weapons of destruction are quite frequent around simple protests over say like, I don’t know….. videos
- At 12:06 Benghazi time, the State Department’s Op Center in Washington sent an email to the WH and to the FBI with the subject line “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for the Benghazi Attack — hmmmmm that appears to be a mere hour after the WH was notified. Seems like I remember a certain “counter-narrative” being pitched for days after that – about the same time the Tripoli team was dispatched with Doherty, two Deltas, a GRS Team Leader, two GRS ops and a Linguist
- The locals hired as Annex guards abandoned their positions and left the area
- The heroes were forced to leave Stevens in a burning building after several attempts to locate him – the book indicated some locals managed to find Stevens’ unresponsive body around 1am. It is very unclear what exactly how, but Stevens showed up at a hospital less than two miles away at 1:15am. At 2am the Tripoli Embassy received a call from a cell phone given to Steven’s earlier in the attack. This was feared a trap since that hospital was allied with Ansar al-Sharia. As a validation they sent a trusted Libyan (a friend of Stevens).
- Clinton suggested the video sparked the attack at 4am. I need to correlate this time with the time it was revealed she told her daughter it was a terrorist act. Tells her family the truth but the American people a lie – is integrity a required trait to be considered a candidate for the President of the United States? How about obeying the law regarding confidential information? just saying
- Rone and Doherty died from an enemy mortar round standing their ground to defend the lives of others at the Annex – while those out of harm’s way plotted political deception – if that doesn’t make your stomach knot you are a lost soul. May Rone’s wife and three sons never forget how brave their father the night American politics traded his years of faithful service for their own greed.
- Learned that the first thing they do with an unconscious soldier is remove their weapons from reach – apparently when they come around they can be so disoriented they can be a danger to others.
- They had to throw the bodies of Rone and Doherty off the building to get them down – the vision this left with me was quite sickening
- Stevens’ body was recovered from the hospital – contrary to reports I had heard at the time of the event, it was confirmed that his body was not abused
- The State Department computer specialist Sean Smith died that night in the compound in the burning safe haven at the compound.