The House Intelligence Committee’s report on the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya is being challenged by two CIA contractors who were there when they happened.
John Tiegen and Kris Paronto told CNN’s Jake Tapper Thursday that the report was “full of inaccuracies.” Messrs. Tiegen and Paronto are the authors of “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi.”
Both men told the network that they tried to take the “high road,” but that they cannot sit silent as they are disputed “by the same government we had sworn to protect.”
A two-year investigation concluded in late November the Obama administration acted properly during the attacks. It also cleared the CIA and the military of any wrongdoing.
“We spent thousands of hours asking questions, poring over documents, reviewing intelligence assessments, reading cables and emails, and held a total of 20 committee events and hearings,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican and the committee’s chairman, and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the ranking Democrat, in a joint statement, The Associated Press reported Nov. 21.
“We conducted detailed interviews with senior intelligence officials from Benghazi and Tripoli as well as eight security personnel on the ground in Benghazi that night. Based on the testimony and the documents we reviewed, we concluded that all the CIA officers in Benghazi were heroes. Their actions saved lives,” they said, AP reported.
The two CIA contractors told CNN that the committee’s assertion that no one was told to “stand down” is not true, and that the decisions of individuals in leadership positions on that day contributed to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and foreign service officer Sean Smith. Two CIA contractors, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty, also died that night.
Messrs. Tiegen and Paronto also told the network that the U.S. government’s claim that no intelligence failures happened in the lead up to the attacks are untrue. They told CNN they were given a “BOLO” (be on the lookout) report roughly two weeks earlier.
The notification read: “Be advised, we have reports from locals that a Western facility or U.S. Embassy/Consulate/Government target will be attacked in the next week.”
Susan Phalen, spokeswoman for the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN that it stands behind the report and that a point-by-point response will follow.
“It’s a pity though that the truth is something that’s not very popular in today’s society,” the contractors told CNN.