Former CIA Director Michael Morell’s account of what happened during the September 2012 terror attack against a U.S. consulate in Benghazi has been debunked by a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report, a security contractor, and other sources.
Breitbart News spoke with former Army Ranger Kris “Tanto” Paronto, one of the elite security contractors on the ground hired by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), about Morell’s description of what happened on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi.
Paronto told Breitbart News that former acting CIA Director Michael Morell blatantly lied when describing the Benghazi attack in an article for Politico Magazine.
Specifically, he refuted Morell’s allegations that the Benghazi attack was not planned and did not intend on targeting Americans. Morell also claimed that the attacks may have inspired by an anti-Islam video, but this was also untrue, according to the sources.
A Sept. 12, 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report, obtained by government watchdog group Judicial Watch (JW), appear to corroborate what Paronto told Breitbart News.
“The attack was planned ten or more days prior to approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for the US killing of Aboyahiye (Alaliby) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center buildings,” states the DIA report, according to JW.
Paronto argued that Morell is not qualified to authoritatively speak about the Benghazi attack because he was not present on the ground during the 13-hour ordeal.
In fact, Morell “chose to not listen to those of us on the ground fighting who provided constant real time information to our CIA leadership, deciding in turn to rely on his intel analysts (which he spent the majority of his CIA career as), who were gathering 2nd and 3rd hand information surfing the web,” said Paronto.
“Morell has attempted to bring his misrepresented uninformed opinion into the Benghazi cover up debacle which began publicly by the current administration and the U.S. State Department,” he added.
In the Politico Magazine article, titled “The Real Story of Benghazi Story,” the former CIA chief claimed the attacks were not planned in advance, something Paronto said isn’t true, and the DIA report suspects as false.
Furthermore, Morell claims that assailants were not trying to kill Americans, an allegation that also appears to be refuted by the DIA report and the two sources that spoke to Breitbart News.
The 2012 DIA report reveals that within 24 hours of the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty at the CIA annex, there were strong indicators that the assault was planned in advance.
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Obama White House National Security Council received the report, JW revealed.
Paronto told Breitbart News that Morell “omitted” the fact that the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was under surveillance the day of the attack, indicating that they were preparing for the worst.
“Assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures,” said Sean Smith, a State Department information management officer, referring to the surveillance, according to Paronto.
Furthermore, the military intelligence report shows that the attack was in retaliation for a June 2012 drone strike that killed an al Qaeda member. It does not link the attack to a demonstration in Cairo or an anti-Islam video being distributed on the Internet, the latter which was initially cited by the Obama administration as sparking the attack.
The anonymous source told Breitbart News it is extremely unlikely that Libyans were able to view the video online because, according to Libya’s primary Internet provider, there was less than 7 percent Internet access in the area at the time.
The DIA report accuses a little-known Muslim Brotherhood-linked group “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR) of executing the attack.
Abdul Baset [Azuz], the leader of BCOAR, was sent by al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to set up al Qaeda bases in Libya, states the report.
A “member of the Muslim Brotherhood movement… where they have large caches of weapons” approved setting up the group’s headquarters in Libya, it adds.
“You spout off about how you know the ‘real story’ of Benghazi. You know very little about on the ground combat and you know very little about the brave actions by my teammates that saved the lives of over 30 individuals that night,” Paronto told Breitbart News, referring to Morell.
“You dishonor those that died and the family members by not telling the truth and, in my opinion, you are a sorry excuse for a leader, because you failed to do you due diligence and bought the story given to you by your analysts and CIA staffers who all hid in the annex main building and did not take part in the attack on the consulate,” he added.
This isn’t the first time some have called into question Morrell’s credibility.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) agreed with Graham that Morell was, as Fox News’ Catherine Herridge wrote, “not only inaccurate, but misleading” in his testimony.
“Mr. Morell told us that the FBI did the talking points and then later in his view corrected the record,” McCain said. “Obviously he didn’t correct the record.”
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who attended a meeting McCain and Graham hosted with now former United Nations ambassador Susan Rice and Morell back in 2012, echoed McCain’s and Graham’s questioning of Morell’s character.