A survivor of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, has offered a new theory of why the assault on Sept. 11, 2012, was broken off when it was.
Four Americans were killed in the attack: Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens; State Department employee Sean Smith; and CIA contractors and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods
In an interview published Sunday, Mark Geist, a CIA security contractor who helped defend the compound as part of a six-man team, recalled the deadly climax of the hours-long battle, according to Fox News.
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The terrorists attacking the compound launched mortars, one of which killed Doherty and Woods.
Geist said the attack wounded him in his left arm, but said he was not planning to give up.
“I’m going to do whatever I can and fight ’til my last breath,” he said.
But the next round of attacks never came, he said.
“There’s no more gunfire, there’s no more mortars,” he said.
“If they would have kept firing mortars, they would have killed me,” Geist said.
Geist said that based on a review of drone footage, he believes that local militia that had transported a team led by Doherty to Benghazi had intervened to aid the Americans.
“I look back on it and I call it ‘the seventh man on our team,’” he said.
Geist said other assistance could have arrived to turn the tide.
“We heard over the time after Benghazi that, well, there was no assistance anywhere that could have got there in time,” Geist said. “You can get a lot of places in 13 hours. To say that was kind of heart-wrenching for us because we knew better.”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton took to Twitter to remind Americans that some believed aid could have reached Benghazi in time — if then-President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had tried.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) September 11, 2022
One lesson of Benghazi was never learned, Geist said.
“People are making decisions and not listening to the guys and gals on the ground,” he said. “And that’s what they should be doing. You can’t fight a war from Washington, D.C.”
In a commentary piece published Thursday by The Washington Times, former CIA officer Daniel Hoffman wrote that, “We learned many lessons from Benghazi about keeping our teams safe and taking the fight to the enemy. But today let us remember the fallen and appreciate those still serving, who carry on the mission, which honors their memory.”
Geist also said the dead of Benghazi should be remembered, and not forgotten in the larger emotions of Sept. 11 as Americans remember those killed in 2001.
“Glen, Tyrone, Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, put their hand up in the air and swore to uphold the Constitution,” he said. “They chose to go into harm’s way. We have a lot of Americans around the world that are doing that, and we need to remember them as well.”