Benghazi CIA Chief: I Didn't Issue Stand-Down

Former CIA chief in Benghazi has issues with '13 Hours'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2016 5:59 PM CST
Benghazi CIA Chief: I Didn't Issue Stand-Down
In this photo provided by Paramount Pictures, David Costabile, from left, as Station Chief (Bob) in '13 Hours.'   (Christian Black/Paramount Pictures via AP)

There has long been a question of whether someone ordered a security team to "stand down" rather than hurrying to the rescue of the US diplomatic compound in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, and in the new "Benghazi movie," 13 Hours, the highest-ranking CIA operative at a secret agency compound located less than a mile from the diplomatic mission is seen issuing just such an order. Now, for the first time ever, the officer who was in charge of the CIA's Benghazi base on the night of the attacks is speaking out—to refute the movie's version of events. "There never was a stand-down order," the base chief, who will only go by his first name, Bob, tells the Washington Post. "At no time did I ever second-guess that the team would depart." He insists he never said anything that could have been "interpreted as equivalent" to a stand-down order, either, despite filmmakers' repeated claims that the movie is extraordinarily accurate.

Both the film and the book upon which it is based claim that Bob kept a team of US contractors hired to protect the CIA's Benghazi base from heading to the rescue until it was too late; the book's author says he stands by his work, which is based on firsthand accounts from the contractors. "I think the evidence is extremely strong that the guys’ account is far more credible" than Bob's, he says, adding that he tried to speak with Bob but was never granted access by the CIA. But Bob insists the rescue of US Ambassador Chris Stevens was always a priority, and that though he was "concerned about an ambush" and leaving the base "more vulnerable to attack" due to the security team's departure, he never told them to wait and "there was never any question that there was going to be a rescue mission." Click for his full interview with the Post; a second CIA officer at Benghazi that night supports his version of events. (More Benghazi stories.)

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