A spokesman for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has sharply criticized Michael Bay’s latest film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, calling the film a “distortion of the events and people who served in Benghazi that night.”
In a statement to the Washington Post, CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani blasted the filmmakers behind 13 Hours, which tells the story of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya that claimed the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
“No one will mistake this movie for a documentary,” Trapani told the Post. “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.”
While it was unclear which other Americans Trapani was referring to, the film, released Friday, is sure to ruffle some political feathers, with its release coming just weeks before the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus in Iowa. While her name is not mentioned in 13 Hours, the film could become a headache for Hillary Clinton, the current Democrat presidential frontrunner who served as Secretary of State at the time and has been widely criticized for her conduct surrounding the attacks.
Another CIA official, identified in the film only as “Bob,” blasted the filmmakers for including a scene in which Bob orders the security contractors to “stand down” while the men prepare to launch a rescue operation at the embassy. The security team has said that the 20-minute delay impeded their rescue efforts.
“There was never a stand-down order,” the unidentified CIA chief told the Post. “At no time did I ever second-guess that the team would depart.”
Instead, the chief said he used the time to attempt to recruit local militias to help the security team with their rescue effort.
In a statement, author Mitchell Zuckoff, who wrote the book 13 Hours along with the surviving members of the Annex Security Team, fired back at the CIA’s claims.
“The movie and book got it right,” Zuckoff said in a statement through Paramount. “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 nor approved or ordered their departure,” he added. “That’s nonsensical on its face and contradicted by facts and logic.”
Meanwhile, the political implications raised by 13 Hours began to emerge Sunday, as CNN host Jake Tapper asked Clinton whether she had seen film yet.
“I’m just too busy campaigning,” Clinton replied. “I am still very focused on making sure we do everything we can, as I did when I was Secretary of State, as I testified to over 11 hours, to make sure that nothing like that happens again.”