Report: CIA requests for backup in Benghazi were repeatedly denied
Fox News says CIA operators on the scene repeatedly transmitted requests for military backup but were denied by U.S. officials.
Update (5:31 p.m.): In response to a Fox News story claiming CIA operatives in Benghazi were prevented from aiding U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens during his time of need, the CIA says it never instructed any of its personnel from helping the four Americans who died on Sept. 11. In an e-mailed statement, CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood says "no one at any level in the CIA" told operatives at a local CIA annex in Benghazi not to help Amb. Stevens:
“We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi. Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night—and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades.”
Here's something that could alter the discussion on the attacks in Benghazi: According to Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin, CIA operators on the scene repeatedly transmitted requests for military backup but were denied by U.S. officials. Not only that but the CIA operatives were also told twice to "stand down" rather than assist U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens after shots were heard at about 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.
If true, the report would dramatically change the perception of the CIA operatives on the ground there, who've come under fire for the inadequate security provided to State Department officials. According to Griffin's report, "sources who were on the ground in Benghazi," say that former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods and other security officials at a nearby CIA annex were told twice to "stand down" after hearing gunshots the night of the attacks. Refusing to follow orders, Woods and at least two others rushed at midnight to the besieged U.S. compound where Amb. Stevens resided and evacuated everyone they could find. They took fire from militants and retreated back to the compound.