Eleven years after September 11, Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia attacked the U.S. diplomatic outpost and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, and at least one survivor doesn’t think the U.S. has learned anything from the mistakes that led to the attack that killed four U.S. officials and service members.
The attack began at 9:40 p.m., and there was no response from decision-makers that included then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to send reinforcements to the annex.
Contractors like ex-Marine Mark Geist and Tyrone Woods were left to defend the annex without backup. Geist survived the night; Woods did not.
According to reports, the chief of base for the annex’s security ordered the security team to stand down instead of coming to the aid of those being attacked.
“All the right guys”
Eventually the team left on their own to come to the others’ aid, but much damage had already been done.
“It was the right six there,” Geist, who became a contractor after 9/11, said about the team. “We were all the right guys that should have been there.”
Geist was wounded in the attack, but just as he despaired of making it out alive, the battle mysteriously stopped.
Ten years later, Geist still doesn’t know why the battle suddenly stopped.
“If they would have kept firing mortars, they would have killed me,” Geist said.
No “intestinal fortitude”
Geist said that Clinton and other top officials could not accept responsibility for their slow response time; they lacked the “intestinal fortitude” and that’s why they made up a narrative that the attack had been in response to an anti-Islam video that circulated online around the same time.
A congressional report in 2016 found that it took more than 7 hours for assets to respond to the attack, even though a drone was flying overhead almost the whole time.
Some of the lives lost could possibly have been saved, if Hillary Clinton did her job that night. But she didn’t, and she still won’t admit it.
And Geist sees some of the same patterns still occurring today.