During this time I have written two articles about this travesty. Initially I wrote about the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty because a friend of mine was related to one of the SEALs and shared information he had obtained from a military officer who spoke at one of the funeral services for the fallen. I was fascinated with the strange twist the whole affair had taken with the tragic results, results that brought then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, upon being questioned about this obvious screw-up during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing of January 23, 2013, to express with frustration, “What difference at this point does it make?”
Well, Mrs. Clinton, if I may say so, it makes a big difference to the Americans murdered at the hands of Islamic thugs. And it sure matters to their families. It has also cast a pall over our military who have realized that Americans in trouble and who called for help that was readily available were denied that help. That’s the difference it makes.
My first article, written for the October 3, 2012 publication of the Ripon Record, was entitled, “Courageous.” Over the next six to twelve months I received countless phone calls, emails and letters from folks wanting to know how I had obtained my information on Benghazi. I was not at liberty to divulge my sources without compromising folks I knew and trusted. Most folks were supportive of my article, but there were some who were, to put it bluntly, angry with me. One individual called me from the State Department, so they said, angrily calling into question my knowledge of what actually happened, insinuating that as a Navy chaplain what could I possibly know about such things. I replied, “Prove that the facts in my article are wrong.” They hung up.
I also heard from a number of special ops guys, thanking me for writing the article, which prompted my second article, “Benghazi Redux,” May 22, 2013. I received a call from someone claiming to be a flag officer (a general) who was in the Special Forces. It has made life exciting for a while, I can assure you!
This past weekend, Bret Baier of FOX News did a special report where he interviewed three men who were part of a security detail directly involved in the battle in Benghazi. They were with Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty throughout the thirteen hours they defended the embassy annex compound where the fight raged. It is based upon a book, “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi,” written by Mitchell Zuckoff along with the Benghazi American Embassy Annex Security Team.
These men, two former Marines and one former Army Ranger, stated unequivocally in the interview with Bret Baier that when they were first alerted to the attack on the annex compound in Benghazi where Ambassador Stevens was in mortal danger, they grabbed their gear and were heading for their vehicles to attempt a rescue when they were ordered to wait, and then to “stand down.” They were confused by this order to stand down, but assumed they would be released shortly once info came in from two drones circling over the city. After 30 minutes had passed, and three refusals to allow them to initiate the rescue, they jumped in their vehicles anyway and drove the few minutes to the embassy compound. They described in detail the slugfest they found themselves in with Islamic terrorists which resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty.
Toward the end of the hour-long TV special Bret Baier asked each of the men if they firmly believed that if they had been allowed to go to the rescue immediately, instead of enduring the frustrating thirty minute stand down order, if the Ambassador and the others would be alive. They said without hesitation, “Yes. Definitely.”
There is presently a Congressional Investigation into the Benghazi affair being chaired by U.S. House of Representatives Trey Gowdy. I believe Mr. Gowdy to be an upright man and a straight shooter. What he and his investigative committee will be able to conclude from the Benghazi mess only God knows.
But here’s what you need to know: The administration, specifically the White House and the State Department, continues to deny that any stand down order was ever given, and that available assistance was never refused. The three special agents who battled the Islamic terrorists in Benghazi say otherwise.
For my money, I trust the agents.
Next week I’ll share from a phone conversation I had with Charles Woods, a retired judge and the father of former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods.