Today, I had the distinct privilege, even the honor, to sit and listen to the story of what really took place in Benghazi by a person with firsthand account information. He has that information because he was one of America’s heroes who fought that night against Islamic jihadists who were not out for an evening of protest, but were out to do something a little more sinister. Though he explained many of the things we have reported on here with even more details, one thing he did say was that those who attacked the compound were there to “kidnap somebody. They were not trying to kill us. They had 100 troops.”
Kris “Tanto” Paronto provided that revelation last night to a group in South Carolina. Kris is one of five survivors of the Annex Security Team in Benghazi, who is featured in Mitchell Zuckoff’s 13 hours – The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi.
Paronto spoke with the zeal of a veteran who loves to be in the middle of the action. Though Paronto could not elaborate on his statement regarding the kidnapping, he did point out that was what Trey Gowdy should be getting to the bottom of. The information he has regarding details of a kidnapping is still deemed to be classified.
However, there was much that Paronto did share openly on Thursday.
Paronto did confirm that the February 17th Martyr’s Brigade were involved and that at least one of the men apparently blew his own hand off as he attempted to throw a grenade at Paronto and his men as they engaged in a firefight.
The calls for support were also made by Paronto, who is an Army veteran, a former Blackwater contractor and CIA contractor.
One of the things that Paronto placed emphasis on was the fact that they were highly skilled in their security measures. He was aware of the militias in the area and even joked that he would sit on his deck at night and watch as militias shot at each other. He was aware of those who were good in the area and those who were bad. In fact, he referenced the fact that there was a terrorist house that was literally right next door to the compound, just a mere 200 meters away.
Following the calls that Paronto and his team received that the compound was under attack, they were told on several occasions to “wait” and to “stand down.”
Understanding that their insurance would not cover any damages that they might incur from directly disobeying the order they were given, they could not help but go and attempt to aid their friends, whose message was, “If you don’t come, we are going to die!”
Paronto also informed us that this was not the first time the compound had been attacked. It was attacked twice prior to 9/11/2012.
He also said that he had made at least three requests for air support, which were denied. However, he did receive at least two drones, but the video footage being relayed to him and his team was horrible and relayed with at least a three minute delay.
Providing details that many in the public have not heard, unless they have read the book, Paronto gave some that, frankly, made this writer angry. As a matter of fact, it was at one point during his presentation near the end that I wanted to stand up and scream.
What was that revelation that Paronto had that got me so worked up? It was a number of things that built up, but when he revealed that after all that had been done (and much that was left undone) and the sacrifices that were made, the bodies of Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were summarily pushed off the top of a 15 foot building where they died by members of Delta Team, who had arrived on the scene.
Both men had been killed apparently by mortars and their bodies would be more difficult to move from the top of the roof. As a result, Paronto and his men wanted to find a heavy strap that would allow them to bring their bodies down carefully and show the dignity to them that they deserved. Though Paronto recounted what happened, the book describes what took place:
Tig moved toward the Building C ladder to help bring down the fallen men. He told the D-boys that he knew where to find a heavy strap that would help them lower the bodies from the roof. The D-boys weren’t interested, or they didn’t want to take the time. “We got this,” one told him. “Don’t worry about it.”
Tig watched as they climbed the ladder to the roof and lifted Rone’s body onto the parapet. Tig knew what would happen next, so he turned away to avoid seeing it. Afterward, Tig couldn’t shake the sickening sound of Rone’s body hitting the marble patio at the bottom of a fifteen-foot fall.
Jack watched from atop Building D. He’d missed some of the radio calls, so he still didn’t know all that had happened. He saw a D-boy lift a limp body, and jack knew that it was Rone. He recognized Rone’s khaki cargo pants and his button-down orange plaid shirt. The King Leonidas beard removed any doubt and extinguished any hope. He turned away.
After Rone, the D-boys took the same approach with Glen. His body hit a bush on the way down, slicing open his abdomen. Disgusted and angry, Tig told himself that both men deserved better. No one was shooting at them, the mortars had stopped, and a huge friendly convoy was supposedly en route.
The most Tig could do for Rone now was to grab his cold hands, while a D-boy took Rone’s feet. Together, they carried him to the side of Building C. Two others from the Tripoli team carried Glen.
Paronto said that the US government lied to the parents of Doherty and Woods, telling them that they “handled their bodies with care.” It wasn’t until more than a year and a half later that Paronto was able to speak with the families and tell them the truth, for which they were thankful.
Additionally, Paronto did confirm on Thursday that Christopher Stevens and Sean Smith both died of smoke inhalation and that Stevens was not sodomized, as had been earlier alleged. He also confirmed that the young man with a cell phone in his mouth from the now famous picture of Christopher Stevens being dragged away was a friendly to his team
That this administration lied is nothing new. We know they have lied about countless things, including the issuing of a “stand down,” which Paronto said was given and had to come ultimately from the White House.
The idea of a kidnapping is not a new theory. It has been around for a while. In fact, we have covered it on several occasions. Dean Garrison has laid out a very plausible scenario of a trade of “The Blind Sheik” for Christopher Stevens, who apparently was to be kidnapped that night, which tends to line up with information that we do know for a fact was going on in Benghazi. This was to be an “October Surprise” for the 2012 elections.
Furthermore, we know from Libyan intelligence that Egypt was in on what was taking place in Benghazi (despite the Benghazi Committee’s denial) and we have video of men in Benghazi screaming, “Don’t shoot them. They were sent by Dr. Morsi (the Egyptian President.”
Now, here’s the thing. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) is a bulldog when it comes to questioning, which I appreciate and which I believe most Americans who want to get to the bottom of this appreciate. But after hearing Paronto on Thursday, I have to consider that it has been nearly a year since Gowdy was named as the head of the select committee on Benghazi and so far, we have seen absolutely no justice brought to bear. In fact, the committee has said that the Obama administration is innocent of wrongdoing.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of what these men endured, how they were told to stand down and the lies and deceit to cover up what was clearly going on, it sickens me to no end when government plays the charade they are playing. While Benghazi is being whitewashed by Washington, those who were actually there are at least speaking out.
One thing is clear. Had the Obama administration acted properly and not been engaging in activities for political gain, every American that died or was wounded on September 11, 2012 would not have been. It’s time the American people were told the truth. They are big boys and girls and can handle it!