World NewsBenghazi 10 years later: '13 Hours' survivor reflects on deadly battle, says...

Benghazi 10 years later: ’13 Hours’ survivor reflects on deadly battle, says US hasn’t learned from mistakes

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Between bursts of machine gun and AK-47 fireplace, Mark “Oz” Geist and Tyrone Woods talked about their kids. Geist’s daughter was seven months previous, and Woods’ third son had been born shortly earlier than his deployment to Libya, Geist stated.

“We’re speaking about our children and the following factor , you are getting attacked once more nearly concurrently,” he instructed Fox Information, smiling wryly on the reminiscence.

The Islamist militant group Ansar al-Sharia attacked the U.S. diplomatic outpost and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Division of State worker Sean Smith and CIA contractors and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Woods had been killed within the assault.

The attackers stormed the U.S. consulate and began capturing round 9:40 p.m. A couple of mile away, members of the CIA annex safety workforce heard the gunfire. A number of members later testified that their chief of base ordered them to attend earlier than responding.

BENGHAZI SUSPECT CONVICTED ON FOUR LESSER COUNTS, DOES NOT FACE DEATH PENALTY

A person waves his rifle as buildings and vehicles are engulfed in flames contained in the U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi late on Sept. 11, 2012. 4 Individuals had been killed within the assault, which additionally focused a CIA annex a couple of mile away from the consulate. 
(Photograph by STR/AFP by way of Getty Photographs)

“We simply reached a degree the place we determined to depart on our personal,” one unidentified workforce member stated, in keeping with a 2016 report from the congressional Benghazi committee.

Geist and a CIA officer had been at a dinner assembly when the assault began, however Woods quickly referred to as them again to the annex, warning them to not drive previous the consulate, recalled Geist, who was serving as a CIA safety contractor on the time.

Flames and smoke billowed from the consulate as Geist climbed on prime of the annex roof, tasked with defending the 20 or so Individuals contained in the CIA outpost. He heard gunfire and noticed the brilliant glow of tracer rounds and rocket-propelled grenades flashing by way of the night time sky.

He heard the State Division’s armored automobile strategy the annex earlier than he noticed it. The tires slapped towards the pavement, drained of their air. Dozens of bullets had turned the windshield right into a spiderweb of cracks. Geist’s teammates arrived subsequent and arrange a fringe.

The attackers quickly focused the annex and the American safety operators fought them off for hours with out reinforcements.

“It was the correct six there,” Geist, a Marine Corps veteran who began contracting after 9/11, stated of his workforce. “We had been all the correct guys that ought to have been there.”

Mark "Oz" Geist, a Marine Corps veteran and former CIA contractor, speaks with Fox News in September 2022. Geist and other members of the annex security team contributed to the book "13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi," which inspired the popular Michael Bay movie. 

Mark “Oz” Geist, a Marine Corps veteran and former CIA contractor, speaks with Fox Information in September 2022. Geist and different members of the annex safety workforce contributed to the guide “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Actually Occurred in Benghazi,” which impressed the favored Michael Bay film. 
(Fox Information Digital)

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Doherty and his fast response power commandeered a aircraft in Tripoli and flew to Benghazi to help the annex workforce. One of many many militias vying for management in Libya held the operators up on the airport, Geist stated, leading to an hours-long delay till they joined the combat. 

Shortly after Doherty met Geist and Woods on the rooftop, the assailants launched one other assault utilizing mortars and small arms fireplace.

Geist opened up together with his M4, emptied one journal, and was reloading when he stated the following mortar hit. Because the particles and smoke settled, he raised his weapon to start out capturing once more, however couldn’t management his left hand. He regarded down and noticed his arm dangling at a 90-degree angle between his wrist and elbow.

He knew he needed to get again within the combat.

“I will do no matter I can and combat until my final breath,” he stated.

The mortar assault killed Doherty and Woods. Then all the things went quiet, Geist stated.

“There is not any extra gunfire, there is not any extra mortars,” he stated.

From left, U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, Department of State employee Sean Smith and CIA contractors and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya.

From left, U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, Division of State worker Sean Smith and CIA contractors and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods had been killed Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya.
(Fox Information)

Ten years later, it’s nonetheless not clear what ended the battle of Benghazi. 

“If they might have saved firing mortars, they might have killed me,” Geist stated.

One safety agent speculated in his congressional testimony that the dawn had pushed away the attackers. Geist instructed Fox Information he reviewed drone footage and suspects the militia that transported Doherty’s workforce to the annex intervened.

“I look again on it and I name it the seventh man on our workforce,” he stated.

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Benghazi quickly grew to become a partisan political problem. Republicans accused then-President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of deliberately deceptive the general public by suggesting the assaults had been a backlash towards the movie, “Innocence of Muslims.” A number of years of congressional inquiries adopted however the remaining report finally did not place all blame on any particular particular person.

Geist stated he feels Clinton and different high-ranking officers lack the “intestinal fortitude” to simply accept duty for safety deficiencies and a sluggish response time.

Dorothy Narvaez-Woods, widow of CIA contractor and former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, looks on as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi Oct. 22, 2015.

Dorothy Narvaez-Woods, widow of CIA contractor and former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, appears on as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies earlier than the Home Choose Committee on Benghazi Oct. 22, 2015.
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Photographs)

Belongings nonetheless weren’t on their technique to Benghazi seven hours after the siege on the CIA annex was effectively underway, despite the fact that a surveillance drone had been flying overhead for a lot of the battle, in keeping with the 2016 congressional report.

“The U.S. army by no means reached Benghazi,” the report states. “The one assist unit that did arrive in Tripoli—the Marine ‘Fleet Anti-Terrorism Assist Workforce’ or ‘FAST’ workforce—was something however quick …. Actually, it didn’t take off till nearly 12 hours after the assault ended.”

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“We heard over the time after Benghazi that effectively, there was no help wherever that would have gotten there in time,” Geist stated. “You may get lots of locations in 13 hours. To say that was type of heart-wrenching for us as a result of we knew higher.”

He says he does not imagine the U.S. authorities has realized from the errors made in Benghazi.

“Persons are making choices and never listening to the blokes and gals on the bottom,” he stated. “And that is what they need to be doing. You possibly can’t combat a struggle from Washington, D.C.”

Nobody has been convicted of homicide in reference to the 4 Individuals’ deaths. Nonetheless, two Libyan nationals had been finally convicted of fees together with conspiracy to offer materials assist and assets to terrorists and maliciously destroying a dwelling.

Protesters forced members of the hardline Islamist group Ansar el-Sharia out of their base on Sept. 21, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. The mob set at least one vehicle on fire at the compound.

Protesters pressured members of the hardline Islamist group Ansar el-Sharia out of their base on Sept. 21, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. The mob set no less than one automobile on fireplace on the compound.
(Abdullah Doma/AFP/GettyImages)

Within the days after the assaults, 1000’s of protesters marched in assist of democracy and towards militias. Some stormed Ansar al-Sharia’s headquarters, tearing down flags and setting fireplace to a automobile.

Libyan President Mohammed al-Magariaf ordered all non-government-sanctioned militias to disband and banned folks from carrying weapons in public. However lethal clashes between rival militias proceed to at the present time.

Geist stop contracting and he and his spouse began the Shadow Warriors Undertaking, a nonprofit that helps wounded contractors. They lately added a canine remedy program to the charity, pairing contractors or fight veterans with service canine, he stated.

Benghazi survivor Mark "Oz" Geist (R) poses with Joshua Perry of Baden K9 while wearing "Make 22 Zero Again." The number 22 refers to the estimated number of American veterans who die by suicide each day. After the 2012 Benghazi attack, Geist started a nonprofit called Shadow Warriors which pairs veterans with service dogs.

Benghazi survivor Mark “Oz” Geist (R) poses with Joshua Perry of Baden K9 whereas carrying “Make 22 Zero Once more.” The quantity 22 refers back to the estimated variety of American veterans who die by suicide every day. After the 2012 Benghazi assault, Geist began a nonprofit referred to as Shadow Warriors which pairs veterans with service canine.
(Fox Information Digital)

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“It has been cathartic and really useful, having the ability to share and be part of one thing larger than your self,” he stated.

Geist feels the battle of Benghazi is usually overshadowed by the anniversary of the Sept. 11 assaults, however he nonetheless hopes the American public will honor the 4 males who misplaced their lives 10 years in the past.

“Glen, Tyrone, Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, put their hand up within the air and swore to uphold the Structure,” he stated. “They selected to enter hurt’s means. Now we have lots of Individuals world wide which are doing that, and we have to keep in mind them as effectively.”

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