Author Mitchell Zuckoff has fired back at CIA officials who say that the film based on his book 13 Hours represents a “distortion” of the events surround the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
In a statement issued through Paramount, Zuckoff, who wrote 13 Hours along with the surviving members of the Annex Security Team, stood by the film version of his work, saying “the movie and book got it right.”
“The CIA spokesman’s comments are predictable but not remotely credible,” the author said.
In a recent statement to the Washington Post, CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani said the film had gotten key details of the Benghazi terrorist attack wrong.
“No one will mistake this movie for a documentary,” Tripani had said. “It’s a distortion of the events and people who served in Benghazi that night. It’s shameful that, in order to highlight the heroism of some, those responsible for the movie felt the need to denigrate the courage of other Americans who served in harm’s way.”
“There was never a stand down order,” an unidentified CIA chief added to the paper, having taken issue with the way he was portrayed in the film. “At no time did I ever second-guess that the team would depart.”
Zuckoff responded to both men in his own statement. Check out his complete response below:
“The movie and book got it right. The CIA spokesman’s comments are predictable but not remotely credible.
If you read “Bob’s” statements to the Washington Post, he would have us believe that he neither prevented the guys from leaving nor approved or ordered their departure. That’s nonsensical on its face and contradicted by facts and logic:
– Two of our named sources, John Tiegen and Kris Paronto, heard Bob say those words, stand down, which they shared with Jack and D.B., who already understood that they were being held back. Our two key sources are on the record, with their names, while Bob remains shielded by anonymity.
– Neither Bob nor the CIA disputes that a delay occurred and that the guys ultimately moved out without his authorization. That, logically, adds up to a simple conclusion: he held them back and then they left without his approval.
– All evidence — and the CIA’s past statements — points to the conclusion (included in the movie and the book) that the delay was caused by a sincere but ultimately misguided attempt to coordinate with 17 Febmilitiamen. But from the guys’ perspective, based on a collective century of military experience, that was a fool’s errand because 17 Feb had failed to help Tyrone during the airport standoff; 17 Feb was on a work stoppage for higher pay during the ambassador’s visit; and 17 Feb generally couldn’t be counted on in a live-fire situation with an American ambassador’s life at stake.
– Bob’s statements, and the CIA’s claims, need to be seen through the lens of hindsight. It must be terrible for him to live with the fact that he delayed the departure, knowing that the deaths of Chris Stevens and Sean Smith were caused by smoke inhalation, which by definition is a function of time.
– Through the CIA, Bob refused my requests to hear his side of the story during the writing of the book. He is only now coming forward because he doesn’t like his depiction.
– Bob might have had a different sense of urgency from the guys in part because he did not accompany them to the Diplomatic Compound to assess the weak security situation prior to the ambassador’s visit (as depicted in the movie and the book).
– Logic suggests that Bob’s career as an intelligence officer did not give him the same tactical experience or knowledge that the guys possessed, as depicted in the movie and the book.”