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CIA agents told to 'stand down' during Benghazi attack

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 26th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In a shocking development in the deadly Benghazi attack last September 11, that left four U.S. officials dead, Fox News has learned that former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, who along with a small team near the consulate during the attack was repeatedly denied military help.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Woods was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack.

An urgent request made by Woods for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. was reportedly denied by U.S. officials, who told the CIA operators twice to "stand down" rather than help the ambassador's team after shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

When Woods and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate to assist. They were told to "stand down," according to sources familiar with the exchange. They were shortly afterwards told to "stand down."

Woods and at least two others ignored the orders and made their way to the consulate, which was now engulfed in flames. Shots were exchanged, while the rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate along with Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. Woods and his team could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.

Woods and his team called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex - which was denied.

In constant radio contact with their headquarters, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound.

The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights.

Hostilities and gunfire went on at the CIA annex for more than four hours, which was enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive.

In a related development, a Special Operations team, or CIF which stands for Commanders in Extremis Force, operating in Central Europe had been moved to Sigonella, Italy, but were never told to deploy. A Pentagon official says there were never any requests to deploy assets from outside the country.

A second force that specializes in counter terrorism rescues was on hand at Sigonella, according to senior military and intelligence sources and could have flown to Benghazi in less than two hours. They were the same distance to Benghazi as those that were sent from Tripoli.

Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi that day to be at the opening of an English-language school being started by the Libyan farmer who helped save an American pilot who had been shot down by pro-Qaddafi forces during the initial war to overthrow the regime. That farmer saved the life of the American pilot and the ambassador wanted to be present to launch the Libyan rescuer's new school.

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