“New Book Says C.I.A. Official In Benghazi Held Up Rescue”
The New York Times, September 5, 2014, p.A4
“Five commandos guarding the C.I.A. base in Benghazi, Libya, in September 2012 say that the base chief stopped them from interceding in time to save the lives of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and an American technician during the attack on the diplomatic mission there. In a new book scheduled for release next week and obtained by The New York Times, the commandos say they protested repeatedly as the base chief ordered them to wait in their vehicles, fully armed, for 20 minutes while the attack on the diplomatic mission was unfolding less than a mile away. … American officials have previously acknowledged that the Central Intelligence Agency security team paused to try to enlist support from Libyan militia allies. But the book is the first detailed account of the extent of the delay, its consequences for the rescue attempt, and who made the decisions. The commandos’ account — which fits with the publicly known facts and chronology — suggests that the base chief issued the ‘stand down’ orders on his own authority. He hoped to enlist local Libyan militiamen, and the commandos speculate that he hoped the Libyans could carry out the rescue alone to avoid exposing the C.I.A. base. No meaningful Libyan help ever materialized. … The commandos were former members of American Special Forces teams hired by the intelligence agency as private contractors. Two of the team, both former Navy Seals, died fighting the attackers at the C.I.A. base later that night. Five others are credited as co-authors of ’13 Hours,’ which was written with their cooperation by Mitchell Zuckoff, a professor of journalism at Boston University. … Although the commandos write of several Libyans who risked their lives to help the Americans, the difficulty of discerning friend from foe is a recurring theme.”
Quickie Analysis: Is this another instance of the CIA choosing to protect itself above all else?