House Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy gave what may be the most definitive response yet to the controversy over whether a “stand down” order was ever issued during the attack on the American consulate in Libya.
Commenting Friday on the release of the film, “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” the lawmaker posted a statement on his Facebook page saying he wasn’t there during the attack and can’t say for sure whether a “stand down order” was given, but he can “tell the American people what the witnesses say and then let you determine what to believe.”
It just requires a little reading between the lines.
“If anyone is entitled to tell the world what happened there on the night of September 11, 2012, it’s the heroes who fought and bled to save American lives and the people who witnessed the terrorist attacks firsthand,” Gowdy wrote.
He did acknowledge that there are witnesses who say a “stand down order” was not given.
A pivotal scene in the movie centers on security forces at a nearby CIA annex being told to “stand down” when attempting to go to the rescue of the besieged Americans under attack.
Three security team members who took part in the rescue, Kris “Tanto” Paronto, Mark “Oz” Geist, and John “Tig” Tiegen, have said repeatedly that they were delayed in responding for 30 minutes after being ordered to stand down — the three served as advisers for “13 Hours.”
A scenario that contradicts a claim by the Obama administration, to include then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that no such order was ever given.
In a timely move for the likely Democratic presidential nominee, the Washington Post reported Friday that a former CIA chief who would only identify himself as “Bob” challenged the story line in the movie.
Saying he was at the CIA annex that night, Bob contradicted the first-hand account made by the security personnel who went to the rescue of the Americans, saying the scene of him trying to stop their mission is “complete baloney.”
“There never was a stand-down order,” he said. “At no time did I ever second-guess that the team would depart.”
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