Tuesday on CNN’s “The Lead,” former Army ranger and one of the CIA contractors who co-wrote the book “13 Hours” Kris Paronto discussed the film “13 Hours,” which tells the story of the five surviving CIA contractors during the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi and decried how the issue was being used politically.
Host Jake Tapper asked, “Let me ask you about the CIA station chief who gave an interview denying there was an order to stand down. The CIA in addition, reaching out to reporters, noting the House Intelligence Committee also concluded in their report, quote, no officer at CIA was ever told to stand down. Why do you think there’s a discrepancy with you and other contractors say?”
Paronto said, “Well, I think because of deaths, first of all. Nobody wants to take a responsibility for deaths, if there’s a possibility of a delay that caused the deaths, other than that, you know, I don’t know. We have said it on multiple occasions—we were told to wait twice, told to stand down—wouldn’t, we have testified to that as well. I think it just turns into a he said/she said. There’s nothing else I can do about it but just keep trying to tell people, hey, this is what happened. We’re the guys there. There’s no reason to not tell the truth. We have nothing to gain from it.”
Tapper asked, “Is it surprising to see the CIA actively challenging it?”
Paronto continued, “No because it doesn’t put them in a positive light. And that’s just how it is. That’s how the world works, brother. So, we’re—we know what happened. We’re going to keep telling it like it is. We were told to stand down. Told to wait twice, delayed a half hour, and it cost lives. Actually, we’ll keep testifying to that as well.”
He added, “It’s not a political movie. It shouldn’t be. The right shouldn’t be using it as a political movie as well. It’s a movie about courage and heroism. As long as the American people see it, I’m happy.”
He concluded, “We wanted to tell the truth, that’s the middle, the apolitical story of the courage on the ground. No, I’m not happy with it. We’re turning Benghazi into political fodder, it’s a political football. And the guys on the ground, when fighting, bullets don’t care if you’re conservative or liberal. You’re going to die either way. We want to show that we were there fighting. Didn’t care if you’re black, white, red, yellow, fighting together, trying to get each other home and trying to save lives and, again, just showing there’s courage no matter what political side you are or what faith you are or what ethnicity you are. It makes no difference.”