- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Twelve; Reissue edition (September 8, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 145558228X
- ISBN-13: 978-1455582280
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3,517 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi Paperback – September 8, 2015
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"A crisply written, gripping narrative of the events of the battle in Benghazi that adds considerable detail to the public record of what happened there...[an] authoritative account."―The Wall Street Journal
"A great number of journalists and government instrumentalities have tilted at Benghazi...All of those efforts look fragmentary when placed side-by-side with 13 HOURS."―The Washington Post
"13 HOURS provide(s) a moving reminder of the sacrifice made by these men who had voluntarily put themselves in harm's way, and who 'believed in their work and their country."―The Boston Globe
"13 HOURS...sets the record straight for historians to ponder."―The Buffalo News
About the Author
Mitchell Zuckoff is the author of six previous nonfiction books, including the New York Times bestsellers Lost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time, and a professor of journalism at Boston University. The Annex Security Team consists of the five surviving CIA contract operators who responded to the September 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi.
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Kudos to the author. And Bravo Zulu to the defenders.
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
Now I think quite differently. Obama made the right choice in authorizing "all DOD assets" but the military did nothing. The nearest AC-130 gunship was 2 hours away and a significant part of the disaster occurred around hour 10. Additionally, the first part of the disaster could have been averted too had the team been allowed to do their job.
The politicians screwed up not punishing anyone for the inexcusable delays.