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13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi Kindle Edition
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About the Author
The Annex Security Team consists of the five surviving CIA contract operators who responded to the September 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi.
- ASIN : B00LEWR0SS
- Publisher : Twelve; 1st edition (September 9, 2014)
- Publication date : September 9, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 38612 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 332 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #152,311 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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I did not realize it was not a military force which fought off the attackers. I also did not realize there were two different facilities attacked that night. I had only listened to small portions of the congressional hearings and it seems to me I had heard more on the news about the reason for the attacks rather than the actual details of the attacks. This story is an incredible story is which must be told and should be taught. It is a frightening realization into just how easily our country can suffer a tragedy. The element of surprise will always give one side the upper hand and unfortunately we were caught off guard.
Many people take for granted the freedom's we've been afforded with little to no personal sacrifice ourselves. Many Americans have answered the call to service and many more have died. Those brave men and women only paid part of the price in terms of sacrifice; their friends, family and loved ones paid the other part. American's, some days, may argue and complain they have to wait in line too long, or because their internet is down. It's a shame we, as Americans, have so little appreciation for the sacrifices made on our behalf. It is also a blessing we are able to live life with so few real tribulations.
Thank you, to everyone, who has fought for our way of life. Always remember, freedom isn't free.
The book begins with a very deliberate description of rioting and burning. To put the violence in its historic context a year is given. Perhaps you, like I, will stop reading at that number because you just know it is wrong, a misprint. Then you will read more. Maybe you will turn back to those four digits because your mind still can't wrap itself around what you are reading and that year. In history, context is everything. This incident predates the Benghazi that has become the political football, the controversy between the right and left, by nearly half a decade. Will you ask yourself why don't I know this?
My overall impression of the incident in Benghazi is that American Ambassador Chris Stevens death is as attributable to diplomatic red tape as it is to those who attacked the US State Department Special Mission Compound… analysis paralysis if you will. I've read the media reports and listened to the hearings, but what I read here is more along the lines of middle management and interdepartmental bickering that probably caused the death of Ambassador Stevens. I know all about Harry Truman and the buck stops here, but more often than not it's the boots on the ground that actually know what to do in a given situation.
The news media, at the time, never really made it clear that the US State Department Special Mission Compound is separate and apart from the nearby CIA base called the Annex. From reading 13 HOURS, it is abundantly clear to me that looking at the situation as if the two locations are one and the same unjustly colors the entire incident.
While reading 13 HOURS IN BENGHAZI, I found myself mired in overwhelming sadness right alongside the non-specific anger borne of helplessness. I was reading about history as if I was watching the events in real time. I think that for various reasons 'civilian contractors' are not afforded much status above that of mercenary and thug by the media. The six operators (a term used by the men themselves) were all products of US military training and service. They were, and still are, family men each having an infant child at home except for one whose wife was pregnant. They all wanted to return to their families and watch their children grow up. They were taught a skill most of us wouldn't want and were using that skill in the service of saving American lives insofar as they were permitted.
To the operators I say "Thank you for your service."
Less than a mile away was the clandestine CIA compound known as The Annex. It housed about 30 CIA analysts and a small force of contract "operators" who provided security. They were known as the Global Response Staff (GRS Operators). The operators would accompany CIA agents as they made there way through the unfriendly confines of the city to assure their safety. They also provided security for the Annex.
While the State Department hired local militia to provide most of the heavily armed security in both places, the GRS Operators knew they were the only ones they could trust if and when the crap hit the fan.
The five GRS members of the Annex Security Team were all ex-military (Rangers, SEALS, Marines), all knew each other well, were in their late thirties and early forties and most had young families. All had vast Middle East military experience and some knew the language well. Others promised this to be their last "paycheck" before retiring for good; a last chance to make a few dollars to provide some financial security to their families.
The Annex GRS team was asked to do an assessment of the security at the Diplomatic Compound. Ambassador Stevens had only a handful of capable, but light armed, Department of State (DS) agents for his personal protection. The Annex Security Team told the DS staff their security arrangement was awful, they should not trust the militia and would be easily overrun if a forceful attack was made. They also promised to act as the QRF (Quick Reaction Force) and come to their assistance in the event of an attack.
Both Stevens and the DS agents had long asked the Department of State for more protection for the Ambassador but were routinely turned down. A lightly guarded American Ambassador in a tumultuous and unsettled Arab city was a ripe target and a recipe for disaster, especially on the anniversary of September 11.
The worst did come to pass. 13 Hours is the story of how the GRS operators from the Annex did all they could, at huge risk of life and limb, to save the Ambassador, his staff and the DS agents. By the time they got there, the Compound had been overrun and the buildings were ablaze and smoking. The local militia protection had fled. They then returned to the Annex to repel 2 formidable terrorist attacks thereby protecting the CIA staff (and most likely its secrets) within that compound. The third attack killed two of them.
These operators were not young gung-ho soldiers acting recklessly in a randomly scattered effort to kill the enemy. They were mature, competent, professional warriors who trusted each other implicitly. They would willingly give their life for each other or for the mission. But not before extracting a terrible price from their enemy. They were the consummate warriors, insisting on providing help to the diplomatic compound when the desperate calls for help started coming in. However, they were delayed by the controversial "stand down" order (if they said they were given one, you can be sure it's the truth) and did not arrive at the Diplomatic Compound in a timely manner.
They may not have been able to save Chris Stevens or Sean Smith in any event but they successfully evacuated the rest of the staff and returned to defend the Annex.
At the Annex, exposed on the rooftops to provide better firing and observation positions, these GRS Operators made their stand. Dozens if not hundreds of jihadists were cut down attempting to breach the walls. Stocked with plenty of ammo and night vision, they made their attackers pay a humiliating price. But they knew as good as they were, they could not hold out forever.
Their pleas for a Specter gunship or low flying F-16s or a company of Marines were ignored and they began to wonder why their country was not helping them. Finally, a convoy of GRS Operators from Tripoli and Libyan Militia fought their way into the Annex and evacuated all personnel. All but ex-SEAL Tyrone "Rone" Woods and his old SEAL friend Glen "Bub" Doherty who came in with the "rescue" convoy and Sean Smith and Ambassador Stevens. They went out in body bags.
Mitch Zuckoff does a wonderful job introducing us to these extraordinary war-fighters. His narrative is fast paced and the ironies are numerous and heart breaking. You can't help but bleed with these special guys, cry with their families and shake a fist at the leadership that abandoned them.
John E. Nevola - Author of The Last Jump
U.S. Army Veteran
Military Writer's Society of America
Top reviews from other countries
The story is very gripping, thank you.